- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: We operate a health club and our laundry chemical vendor has advised that we must increase the temperature of our washing machines to greater than 160 degrees F to allow their bleach to activate properly. Our washing machine vendor does not recommend operating the machines at a water temperature above 160 degrees F. Is there a bleach that will provide OSHA compliant cleaning/disinfecting at a temp of 120-130 degrees F?
Answer: Working backwards with your question, I am not aware of any OSHA regulations relative to washing or bleaching goods in health clubs. However, there may very well be state health department regulations that cover that issue. So far as the proper water temperature for chlorine bleaching, I would not recommend a temperature of 160 degrees. The industry standard is 140-155 degrees with a pH range of 10.2-10.8 in the chlorine-bleaching bath. The release of chlorine can be controlled by the pH of the bath water. In general, when lowering the water temperature one should also lower the pH of the bath. It is possible to bleach properly at 120-130 degrees when adjustments to pH and time are made. Since the concern is sanitizing the wash load and not necessarily a stain or whiteness issue, I recommend you check with the local state or health department as to any specific regulations for washing in health clubs..
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