The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

“Levels of Laundry”: ACI Releases Guidance on Laundry Care for Better Health

Laundry Levels
  • New recommendations enable families to choose the appropriate laundry care to meet their household’s needs.

Did you know there are different levels of laundry? The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) released new science-based recommendations on laundry practices to help consumers understand how to help care for their families.

The new guidelines come as industry has seen an increase in consumer questions related to laundry best practices in light of COVID-19. How you wash and dry clothes may depend on the current health of the household, including any current source of illness in the home; whether from a sick individual or contaminated work clothes; whether the illness is respiratory or a stomach bug; and the risk of severe illness if infected, particularly if a family member is elderly or has a weakened immune system.

ACI brought together industry experts and reviewed available research to create recommendations on which laundry precautions should be implemented in each situation.

The new guidance is largely based on the findings of a panel of laundry, cleaning and sanitization experts brought together for a workshop held by environmental microbiologists and public health researchers at the University of Arizona in 2020. It is also in accordance with CDC laundry recommendations to minimize the spread of illness when someone in the home is sick.

“Innovations in fabric care are providing consumers and families with products that can help prevent the spread of infection,” said Brian Sansoni, ACI Senior Vice President of Communications. “ACI’s ‘Levels of Laundry’ empower consumers to make the right laundry care choice to best meet the needs of their household.”

ACI has laid out three levels of laundry precautions to help families make an informed choice:

  • Low: Normal RoutineHealthy Households – Launder with detergent. Wash & dry at any temperature, including cold. Wash with other household items and remember to wash your hands. Optionally, you can add a laundry sanitizer to remove odor-causing bacteria.
  • Medium: Extra Steps Households with Respiratory Illnesses (including COVID-19, the flu, and colds) – Follow CDC guidance, launder with a deeper cleaning detergent and wash & dry clothes on warm with other family items. Optionally, you can add an EPA registered laundry sanitizer or bleach. Wear gloves and don’t shake clothes. Remember to wash hands and disinfect surfaces afterwards.
  • High: Enhanced PrecautionsHouseholds with Enteric Infections (vomiting, diarrhea), Weakened Immune Systems, or Potentially Contaminated Work Clothes – Launder with a deeper cleaning detergent and use an EPA registered laundry sanitizer or bleach. Wash & dry on hot. Remember to wash items from ill persons separately from other family items. Wear gloves and don’t shake clothes. Don’t forget to wash hands and disinfect surfaces afterwards.

For more details on the Levels of Laundry, see our new laundry guidelines.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors.  ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.

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