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Reduction of microorganisms by ironing


*Corresponding author
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Marie-Curie-Str. 1, 47533 Kleve, Germany


The reprocessing of textiles after use has a great relevance from a hygienic point of view, because clothes can be potential vectors for the transmission of infectious diseases. Although ironing is used regularly for treating garments after laundry, little is known about its germ-reducing effect.
To constitute a realistic situation of ironing in a laboratory experiment, textile germ carriers were contaminated with representative microorganisms prior to ironing under a larger and thicker piece of cloth by using different temperatures with and without steam. By this process it should be determined whether the cloth reaches a sufficient internal temperature to efficiently reduce microorganisms.


While the treatment of potentially contaminated laundry in many public areas, such as hospitals are carried out according to specified processes and special methods, there are no standardized conditions for this treatment in the domestic area (1). To lower a potential infection risk, all treatment steps of the textiles must be considered. However, the aspect of the germ reduction on the textiles by ironing is most largely unexplored. A study of Reploh showed that ironing represents a supplementary measure for the germ reduction after the washing process, but no significant germ reduction could be detected after the normal ironing process (2). In another study Blümke et al. could show that the microbial contamination of the laundry is higher after the washing process in a washing machine than before. The results support the idea that garments and towels can be potential germ carriers (3). A thermal treatment after washing could represent one opportunity to reduce the number of bacteria on the textiles under these circumstances.
The primary purpose of ironing is smoothing the textiles, with temperature, duration and hot steam being im ...

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