"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants"*: the efficacy of sun exposure for reducing fungal contamination in used clothes

Isr Med Assoc J. 2014 Jul;16(7):431-3.


Background: Tinea pedis is a common chronic skin disease; the role of contaminated clothes as a possible source of infection or re-infection has not been fully understood. The ability of ultraviolet light to inactivate microorganisms has long been known and UV is used in many applications.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectivity of sun exposure in reducing fungal contamination in used clothes.

Methods: Fifty-two contaminated socks proven by fungal culture from patients with tinea pedis were studied. The samples were divided into two groups: group A underwent sun exposure for 3 consecutive days and group B remained indoors. At the end of each day fungal cultures of the samples were performed.

Results: Overall, there was an increase in the percentage of negative cultures with time. The change was significantly higher in socks that were left in the sun (chi-square for linear trend = 37.449, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Sun exposure of contaminated clothes was effective in lowering the contamination rate. This finding enhances the current trends of energy saving and environmental protection, which recommend low temperature laundry.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clothing*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Sunlight*
  • Tinea Pedis / prevention & control*