Scary But True: Your Laundry Machine May Be Making You Sick!

Technically speaking, your washer  should be one of the cleanest places in your home, but frighteningly enough, this appliance can also act as a hospitable environment for bacteria, germs, and unpleasant odors. Here are some ways to help you ensure that your clothes are truly as clean as can be.

Let’s start off with a worst case situation. I’ll just come right out and say the dread word . . .

Mold!

Yes, it is possible for mold to start growing in your washer, and the scariest part is that it is not always visible or obvious. In fact, Lieff Cabraser, a New Jersey based attorney, just helped push through a federal class action lawsuit against Whirlpool, Kenwood, and Maytag in regards to their front loading washers.

It seems that front loading washers are more susceptible to mold damage, so if you own one, it’s important that you pay close attention to the tell-tale signs of mold infestation, like musty smells and small black stains on your clothes or the washer walls. If you’re at all suspicious of your washer’s cleaning capabilities, call a professional to take a look at it right away.


Wash that underwear BY ITSELF

We’re going to make a sudden downward shift to a topic that most of us would blush when talking about: FECAL MATTER. It’s gross, but no matter how clean of a person you are, that bacteria will always end up on your unmentionables.

In fact, Charles Gerba, who is a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, says, “There’s about a tenth a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear.” Yeah, I can’t quite make an accurate visualization of a “tenth of a gram of poop,” either, but no matter how small it may be, it doesn’t sound good!

These 100 million E. Coli can transfer to other clothing, so it is best to wash your undies separately from your jeans and shirts.

Opt for a Hang-Dry

Did you know that a cold or even warm wash cycle doesn’t clean some of the worst germs? In actuality, a washer needs to get to at least 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for all of that nasty bacteria that clings onto clothes to be eradicated. That’s why, if you prefer to wash on cold, it’s best to always follow up in a warm environment like a dryer.

If you have clothes that need to be laundered delicately, then stick with the cold water hand wash cycle, then hang dry in the sun. Not only is this better for the environment, it’s also better for your health. Philip Tierno, a professor of microbiology says that the sun is the way to go. “The ultraviolet radiation kills germs. It’s just as effective as bleach.”

Good to know!


Stick to unscented detergents

If you have sensitive skin, then dropping that perfumed laundry soap is a total must! Sadly, the process of choosing an unscented detergent can be tricky. You can’t always rely on slick advertising for this one. Check the ingredients on the label—if you see any added fragrances, then you know to stay far away.

What do you think about our list? Do you have anything to add? Has your laundry ever made you sick before? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!