90/95°C heat sanitise cycle for cloth nappies and textiles

Most front loader washing machines have a 90/95°C sanitise cycle. This is an effective method for sanitising nappies and bouncing ammonia.

Overview

Thermal sanitisation requires a temperature of 65°C for 10 min or 71°C for 3 min. A 90/95°C cycle ensures items are exposed to the required temperature long enough to be sanitised.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can I use a mix of sanitise methods?

Yes, you can! Use a 90/95°C cycle instead for cotton/bamboo inserts and chlorine bleach for items with PUL or elastics.

What sanitise method should I use?

Refer to the sanitise matrix and the application and problem glossary to confirm your items are suitable for a 90/95°C sanitise cycle.

How long does a 90/95°C sanitise cycle need to go for?

At least one hour. A one hour cycle provides enough time for the washer to heat water to 90/95°C.

Thermal sanitising requires temperatures of 65°C for 10 mins or 71°C degrees for 3 minutes. Sanitising at 95°C requires a shorter duration; however it takes time for washers to heat water to this temperature.

Does loading matter for a 90/95°C sanitise cycle?

Loading generally does not matter for heat sanitise cycles, although you may see better stain removal results with a properly loaded wash.

You may need to reduce the detergent dose for a significantly underloaded cycle. Avoid overloading your washer.

Use this gallery to assist you with identifying stains. Note: not all items shown are suitable for a 90/95°C sanitise cycle.

Sanitise quick reference tables

Use these quick reference tables to determine which method (or methods) is suitable to sanitise your items.

Note: some options output the same bleach concentration. In this situation there is no need to run separate wash cycles. For example, the Second-hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell) option is suitable for PUL covers, AIOs and inserts.

Suitability by fabric
Sanitise method Colours PUL Whites
90/95°C sanitise cycle
Front loader chlorine bleach
Top loader chlorine bleach
Small scale chlorine bleach

*Fabric may fade or shrink, and prints and decals may crack or peel during a 90/95°C sanitise cycle. If you are unsure how the item will react to heat use the Small Scale chlorine bleach method instead.


Suitability by application
Sanitise application Colours PUL Whites
Ammonia (mild)
Ammonia (moderate)
Ammonia (significant)
Ammonia (moderate-significant PUL limit)
Bacterial infection: Impetigo
Bacterial infection: Listeria
Bacterial infection: Salmonella
Bacterial infection: Staphylococcus
Cold wash (prewash)
Cold wash (main wash)
Fungal infections: Candida species
Fungal infection: Tinea/ Ringworm
Fungal infection (non-colourfast safe)
Mould (minor)
Mould (moderate)
Mould (significant)
Mould (non-colourfast safe)
Mould (moderate-significant – PUL limit)
Nuke everything (I have no fear)
Prewash stain removal
Second-hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell)
Second-hand nappies (minor stains)
Second-hand nappies (moderately stained/smelly)
Second-hand nappies (significantly stained/ smelly)
Second-hand nappies (moderate-significantly stained/ smelly PUL limit)
Single-cycle routine
Stains (minor)
Stains (moderate)
Stains (significant)
Stains (non-colourfast safe)
Stains (moderate-significant PUL limit)

Use the Coloured/non colourfast option for fabrics that are coloured or dyed (for example cotton or bamboo). Other options use a higher concentration of chlorine bleach and may result in those fabrics fading.

References and further reading

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chemical Disinfectants: Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008.
  2. K Reynolds, S Boone, K Bright, C Gerba, Occurrence of Household Mold and Efficacy of Sodium Hypochlorite Disinfectant, 2012.
  3. S. Wilson, C Wu, L Andriychuk, J Martin, T Brasel, C Jumper, D Straus, Effect of Chlorine Dioxide Gas on Fungi and Mycotoxins Associated with Sick Building Syndrome, 2005.
  4. M Korukluoglu, Y Sahan, A Yigit, The fungicidal efficacy of various commercial disinfectants used in the food industry, 2006.
  5. Z Mohamad, Stachybotrys chartarum: its identification and response to antimicrobial treatment and prevention, 2018.
  6. Jennifer L. Cadnum, Aaron A. Shaikh, Christina T. Piedrahita, Thriveen Sankar, Annette L. Jencson, Emily L. Larkin, Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, Curtis J. Donskey, Effectiveness of Disinfectants Against Candida auris and Other Candida Species (June 8, 2022) <https://www.chicagohan.org/documents/14171/427345/Effectiveness+of+Disinfectants+against+C.+auris+ICHE+2017.pdf/18a53d4c-44e0-5087-1f2c-1c5da6400ae2?t=1611162107524#:~:text=There%20were%20no%20significant%20differences%20in%20efficacy%20against%20C.,0.5%20%C2%B1%200.4)%2C%20C.>.