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Thread: Kill Malassezia / demodex on clothes

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    Default Kill Malassezia / demodex on clothes

    Could Malassezia or demodex live on your clothes, and reinfect you later even though you have treated yourself successfully? If so, how does one make sure that they are killed when washed, or are there other ways to kill them?
    Like, dust mites can be killed when put in the freezer for 24-48 hours, but I assume this would not be the case for fungus?

    I have long suspected that my wool scarfs have reinfected me with fungus, because one cannot wash them at 60 degrees celsius without destroying the wool, so what would be another way?

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    Borax kills demodex and Candida yeast (fungus). I don't know if it kills Malassezia fungus but it very well might.

    20 Muleteam Borax powder is available in US grocery stores in the laundry aisle. Price locally for me is currently about $5.59 per box. Borax is used as a water softener for laundry.
    Try washing your washable clothes with some borax powder added to the wash load. Borax powder dissolves best in warm or hot water. For a cold wash, pre-disolving the borax powder in warm or hot water before adding to the wash, would be a good idea.
    Instructions on the box recommend adding 1/2 cup of borax powder per wash load.

    I don't know for sure that they can live for long on dry clothes, but they might - especially if there is enough oil or body lotion on the clothes or if the clothes are damp. I've read that they can live up to 54 hours on a wet towel. Wool has natural lanolin oil in it which may give them enough oil to survive when their human host is not available.

    The wool scarves are trickier. If you can wash these in cold water, diluting the borax powder first in hot water, allow it to cool enough, then add to the cold wash water for the scarf might be the best approach. Then as Tom said put the scarf in the sun to dry. Interesting that the Malessezia fungus is light sensitive.
    Last edited by ElaineA; 27th March 2019 at 03:09 PM.

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    Malassezia requires oil for its metabolism, but can remain dormant for a very long time.

    However, the dormant spores (remember that malassezia is di-morphic) should be easily washed off in soapy water so it seems unlikely that your clothes when washed will cause a re-infestation. Wool can be washed easily in 40C (104F) water without shrinking, and you should wash your scarves every 2-3 weeks, and leave them out to air dry, or you can put them near a sunny window and flip them over as they dry -- malassezia is photo-sensitive so I suspect sunlight is a nemesis to it. A climbazole based shampoo in general will be much milder to fabric than any laundry detergent so you could wash your wool scarf in that to be more certain of eliminating malassezia.

    Demodex cannot be cultured in a lab (they die in an hour or two when removed from the host). They have such short lives, your clothes are not going to be a source of re-infestation of live demodex -- but as above though, the eggs should be washed off in soapy water.

    As far as I know, no one knows how the long the eggs can survive, so to be certain, you can add a tiny amount of tee tree oil to the wash-cycle of your washing machine or wash basin -- rinse the TTO off completely so it doesn't stain your clothes (especially silk or wool), and you shouldn't have to worry.

    Normal "good housekeeping" for washing your clothing is sufficient in my opinion. This is a variable idea though, as winter clothing worn next to the skin, like a scarf or gloves, will probably need more washing than most people would consider "normal." About every 2-3 weeks should be enough. The hood and collar of coat (assuming the coat can't be washed) is more problematic though, and you might douse the collar and cuffs in 91% isopropyl alcohol every 2-3 weeks, and let it air dry until there's no smell. Isopropanol dries extremely quickly in a dry, winter climate. Color-test isopropanol in an inconspicuous place to be sure it doesn't lift the dye, first.

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    ElaineA: thank you for your thoughts and the information. I have expressed some thoughts around borax in your thread here: https://rosaceagroup.org/The_Rosacea...ighlight=borax
    I wonder, is it completely safe? It looks to be an amazing tool against fungus/demodex on scalp, but what if the fungus/demodex causes lesions - you would be getting borax into the bloodstream, wouldn't you?

    Tom: as always, thanks for all the information, great points here. What constitutes normal is not necessarily good practise. I didn't know that I needed not to worry about demodex on clothes, because I see so many people talking about washing pillow cases etc. I just washed all my scarfs with soap and a dab of TTO I actually stopped washing my pillow cases, sheets etc in soap because I suspected an allergic reaction, does that mean that the fungus will not be washed off as you say? I wash them in 60 or 90 degrees celsius, in hope that it would kill everything, but maybe I have to start introducing soap again?

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    Btw, Tom, related, how do you recommend cleaning your razor of fungus? I got a stubborn spot on my cheek after I shaved there (which I only do once in a blue moon), so I know its related to that.
    After that incident I started cleaning the razor in isopropyl alcohol, as you suggested I use on my collars, but today I read that some guy said alcohol isn't very effective for killing fungus. Would you agree with this statement?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rednessator View Post
    ElaineA: thank you for your thoughts and the information. I have expressed some thoughts around borax in your thread here: https://rosaceagroup.org/The_Rosacea...ighlight=borax
    I wonder, is it completely safe? It looks to be an amazing tool against fungus/demodex on scalp, but what if the fungus/demodex causes lesions - you would be getting borax into the bloodstream, wouldn't you?

    Tom: as always, thanks for all the information, great points here. What constitutes normal is not necessarily good practise. I didn't know that I needed not to worry about demodex on clothes, because I see so many people talking about washing pillow cases etc. I just washed all my scarfs with soap and a dab of TTO I actually stopped washing my pillow cases, sheets etc in soap because I suspected an allergic reaction, does that mean that the fungus will not be washed off as you say? I wash them in 60 or 90 degrees celsius, in hope that it would kill everything, but maybe I have to start introducing soap again?

    Borax is best diluted before use and not used in full strength powder form. Borax should not be taken internally, it is for external use only. If taken internally, borax can cause nausea, vomiting, throat swelling, and other health problems. Full strength borax powder can be corrosive to your eyes. On the other hand, boric acid is made from the same mineral. Dilute solutions of boric acid make a very soothing eye wash. Dilute boric acid eye washes have been used safely for many years. I have read that Borax is "large molecule" and not likely to be absorbed into the blood stream through the skin under normal conditions.

    Open lesions might be a concern when using borax or other cleaners. If there is an open lesion, it might be best not to use it at that time.

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