Cleaning Guides

What Temperature Kills Bacteria in a Washing Machine

Your washing machine is one of the most frequently used appliances in your home. It deals with dirty laundry on a regular basis, and because of that, it makes sense that many homeowners are searching for information on how to disinfect it. So, the Fantastic Services team has prepared this handy guide to aid you in your cleaning.

If you:

  • Own a washing machine;
  • Have noticed strange smells coming out of it;
  • Want to make sure nothing harmful is residing inside your machine;
  • Are interested in what temperature kills bacteria in a washing machine.

Then keep reading! This blog post is for you!

How dirty can your washing machine get?

The washing machine is a place where your dirty laundry brings all kinds of pathogens, and your underwear is the main carrier. There always are microscopic faeces particles on them, which can carry E.coli, hepatitis A, salmonella, rotavirus and many more. Different wash programs have different temperatures, and the lower temperature is not able to kill most of the pathogens. So, even after you’ve washed your clothes, they may still contain those harmful germs, which later get in contact with your skin.

The solution to this problem is disinfection of your washing machine. Disinfecting a tool, utencil or any kind of area means killing all harmful microorganisms. Note that this doesn’t mean making the germs disappear. That’s called sterilization. After disinfection, the microbes will still be there. However they will be dead, so they won’t do any harm to yours or your family’s health. Disinfection could be done with chemical compounds such as hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. But, when it comes to the washing machine, the easiest and most effective disinfection is with hot water.

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What temperature kills bacteria in a washing machine

The effective killing of harmful bacteria starts at 60 degrees Celsius and above. Your washing machine has programs that wash on the following most common temperatures:

  • 30 degrees, which is the most harmless for the fabrics of your clothes, however, it requires a stronger detergent for an effective wash.
  • 60 degrees, which is able to kill bacteria and effectively gets rid of stains, however, it has higher running costs.
  • 90 degrees, which is most effective against stains and pathogens, but it’s known to damage certain fabrics and should be used with caution.

Other temperature settings in between can be used as well, depending on the general intent of your wash cycle. It’s also recommended to do a maintenance wash on a regular basis as a preventative measure against harmful germs and frequent washing machine repairs.  

What is a maintenance wash?

A maintenance wash means running your washing machine without any laundry in it for the sole purpose of killing pathogens that could have left inside. The most common temperature for a maintenance wash is 90 degrees Celsius. After all, when you have no laundry inside, there is nothing that can get damaged and you can make full use of the disinfecting function. 

In need of professional sanitisation of your home?

Your washing machine is not the only place that is able to become a breeding ground for germs and other harmful bacteria. A professional home sanitisation is just what every household needs in order to minimise the possibility of infection. The Fantastic Services team offers a professional antiviral sanitisation service that will leave your home clean and smelling fresh!

Visit the main website for price rates for our professional antiviral sanitisation service!


  • Your washing machine is an easy breeding ground for microbes and needs regular disinfection;
  • The temperature that kills bacteria is 60 degrees Celsius and above;
  • A maintenance wash in the best way to keep your washing machine free from harmful germs.


What else do you do to stay safe during the flu season? Tell us in the comment section below!

Image source: shutterstock / ssuaphotos

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