For an appliance that is designed to make your clothing clean, you’d be surprised by how much bacteria and germs can fester in your washing machine. It’s another one of those hidden bacteria-hiders. In order to prevent your family from being exposed to these germs, we have some tips for your to follow when you set out to do your weekly loads of laundry.
First and foremost, let’s talk about mold and how it has the potential to get onto your clothes and then, on you! If you have a front loading washer you will want to pay careful attention because there has recently been a class action lawsuit against several washing machine brands that have front loading models. According to Consumer Reports. “If you have a front-loader from those brands that was made between 2001 and 2010, you may be entitled to some cash. A full list of the affected machines can be found on the website washersettlement.com. You can also call 844-824-5781 for information. Note that LG has also reached a settlement, involving up to 800,000 front-loaders bought in the U.S. between 2002 and 2006.”
These front loaders are more susceptible to mold accumulation so be sure to be on the lookout for the classic signs of mold infestation. Some of these telltale signs are musty smells and clothing that has black stains that are in the shape of small dots. These stains can also be seen on the walls of your washer. If you recognize any of these signs, call someone who is experienced with the appliances and have them assess your machine. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as mold can lead to several different irritable issues such as: nasal stuffiness, coughing, wheezing, and even skin irritation. If gone untreated for a long period of time, these issues could lead to problems that are far worse.
Now, onto another tip. This one may be a tad embarrassing to talk about, but here goes. Fecal matter. Yes, you could be the cleanest person in the world, but there is still a good chance that fecal bacteria gets stuck to the inside of your tighty whities. Don’t fret though, because the solution is simple…just wash your underwear by itself, alone and away from contact of other clothing. “There’s about a tenth a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear,” said Charles Gerba, who is a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. That tenth of a gram translates into 100 million E. Coli that have the capability of transferring to your other clothing. Doesn’t sound too appetizing now does it? Just steer clear of blending your pants and shirts with your panties.
While UV rays aren’t the greatest for our skin, they are actually very beneficial for killing bacteria on our clothing. For clothes that need to be washed delicately, your best bet is to hand wash them, then follow it up with a drying session in the sun. “The ultraviolet radiation kills germs. It’s just as effective as bleach,” said Philip Tierno, who is a professor of microbiology.
A warm wash cycle doesn’t even have the strength to rid your clothing of the bad germs and it needs to get to 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit before that bacteria is released from your articles of clothing. So, if you use a cold wash cycle, always follow it up with a warm, germ-killing environment like a dryer.