How to Wash Laundry After You (Or Your Family) Have Been Sick

It’s time to unload the in’s and out’s of laundering after sickness has swept through your family. 

While you want to make sure whoever is sick is cozy and comfy, you must also remember to protect yourself and the rest of your family from catching whatever their illness is too. It’s important to clean their linens and clothing so that the virus or bacteria can’t spread to other members or areas of your house. 

But don’t worry — it’s easy to do. 

Washing laundry when sick

Step 1. Immediately wash clothing and linens used by a sick person. 

If you or your family member has been sick on themselves or the bed, place that laundry into the washer immediately. Remember to keep soiled items away from your face. Whether or not you’re wearing gloves, wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling garments and bedding used by the sick individual.

If you or your family member is finally out of the woods on their seasonal cold or latest virus, it’s time to wash all of their linens as well. This helps prevent the spread of viruses to other family members!

Haven’t got a full load of laundry? Throw in any other dirty laundry you have on hand that’s compatible. It’s okay to mix healthy people’s laundry with a sick person’s laundry. The only exception to this would be if this laundry includes vomit, urine, or feces. The combination of the hot water, detergent, and heat will get rid of common viruses and bacteria. 

Master Tip: Stomach flu? Keep an extra set of sheets and clean clothes on hand in the bedroom to quickly and easily deal with midnight emergencies. 

Molly's Suds Laundry Stain Brush
Step 2. Treat Stains Right Away

Whether it’s vomit, cough medicine, or simply a spilled cup of juice, treat stains on bedding and clothing before putting it in the washer. The easiest way is to simply spray the stain with our Stain Spray or your favorite go-to stain solution. If necessary, work the stain treatment into the fabric using a Laundry Stain Brush or similar. Then, throw the whole mess into the washer to get cleaned up. 

Our Stain Spray is a perfect treatment for most stains including:

  • Vomit
  • Urine
  • Feces
  • Juice
  • Liquid medicines
  • Oil and grease stains from balms and salves

Master Tip: If you know this illness is going to result in lots of messes and stains, do your best to be cozy without sacrificing your favorite throw blankets or PJs. For stomach viruses, it’s best to put a blanket down over the couch to help reduce difficult stains. We all know that family member who can’t make the bucket!! 

Molly's Suds Accessories
Step 3. Launder on the hottest setting safe for your laundry. 

Don’t add extra detergent (unless you have an unusually large load). You don’t need it! The combination of hot water and laundry detergent will effectively clean all your linens and clothing. For particularly soiled loads of laundry (such as those loads that arise during a  stomach bug), we’d recommend using our Super Powder and Oxygen Whitener.

Before throwing all your  laundry in the washer make sure that you check garment instructions first. Follow those instructions to ensure you don’t accidentally ruin anything. 

Master Tip: Whenever someone is sick, try to use bedding and clothing that can be laundered in hot water. It’s best to use hot water for laundry contaminated by bodily fluids and viruses. 

Step 4. Once you’re all done with laundry, don’t forget to dry with heat.

The heat from the dryer will further help  to kill viruses and bacteria. It’s recommended to dry your clothing and bedding on the hottest heat safe for those items. Most linens and towels are safe for high heat, but if you’re not sure, check the manufacturer label. Always check garment labels. 

Master Tip: Before tossing those freshly laundered linens back into a clothes basket or hamper, don’t forget to give it a quick clean too. Spray them down with our All Purpose Cleaner, or if you’ve got fabric liners, throw those in the wash. 

More Laundry Questions? 

We’re here to help! Check out our blog for more laundering advice from the pros, or shoot us an email at for specific questions.

Sources: CDC How to clean & disinfect after Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19