The effect of domestic laundry processes on fungal contamination of socks


  • Conflicts of interest: None.


Tinea pedis is a common chronic skin disease. The role of contaminated clothes as a possible source of reinfection is not fully understood. This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of domestic laundering at different temperatures in the eradication of fungal pathogens from contaminated socks. Samples from 81 socks worn by patients suffering from tinea pedis underwent domestic laundering at either 40 °C or 60 °C. The socks were dried at room temperature; fungal cultures were taken from two samples from, respectively, the toe and heel areas of the socks. Samples from socks washed at 40 °C revealed 29 (36%) positive fungal cultures, of which 14 came from the toe and 15 from the heel areas of socks. Trichophyton rubrum was isolated in four specimens, and Aspergillus spp. were found in 20 (70%) specimens. Samples from the same socks washed at 60 °C revealed five (6%) positive fungal cultures, of which three came from the toe and two from the heel areas of socks. Only Aspergillus spp. were detected. Yeasts were eradicated at 40 °C. Contravening current trends for energy saving and environmental protection, laundering at low temperatures is not effective in eradicating fungal pathogens, which requires high-temperature laundering at 60 °C.