Maybe your clothes are dirty because your washing machine is dirty. In fact, it’s very possible that the very machine you rely on to get your clothes clean could be contaminating them without you even realizing it. So while the visible dirt and stains might be gone, bacteria like E.coli can get redeposited by the washing machine itself.
How does it happen?
It’s unpleasant to think about, but microbiology professor Dr. Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona already thought about it for you – and even conducted research that results in some rather distasteful findings.
Gerba found that doing just one load of underwear in the washing machine can transmit 100 million E. coli into the water, which can then transfer over to the next load. “There’s about a tenth of a gram of [fecal matter] in the average pair of underwear,” he told ABC. Some of the germs carried in fecal matter can include hepatitis A virus, norovirus, rotavirus, salmonella and, of course, E.coli.
In fact, leading hygiene expert, Dr. Lisa Ackerley has called for an increased awareness of what’s being deemed the ‘Sick Laundry Cycle.’ “The trend towards reducing washing temperatures and water volumes alongside using gentler detergents has affected the efficacy of the laundering process for reducing bacteria on contaminated clothing.”
Dr. Ackerley also cautioned against the issue of cross-contamination. “If you put something ridden with bacteria in the washing machine, you will simply be swishing the germs around – creating a ‘bacterial soup’ – unless you do something to kill them. [So] bacteria from soiled underwear [could be] transferring onto items such as tea towels which are then used to wipe dishes.”
Dr. Gerba offered a few tips for those who want to literally clean up their laundry.
- Run an empty cycle in your washer with only bleach and water.
- Use Clorox 2, which has peroxide, if you can’t use chlorine bleach.
- If possible, avoid the dryer and let your clothes dry in the sun, which is a natural killer of germs.
There are also other alternatives that don’t require chemicals at all. Devices like the Laundry Pro can be used with any non-commercial washer, and eliminate the need for hot water, detergents and bleach, instead using the natural power of oxygenated cold water to effectively clean clothes. Along with the activated oxygen, the Laundry Pro harnesses the power of its exclusive ActivePure Technology, which prevents the growth of bacteria and gets clothes brighter, fluffier and cleaner without harsh chemicals.
To learn more about Laundry Pro, contact your local Aerus dealer. Find yours at www.aerushome.com/storelocator