Your underwear is dirty -- even the undergarments that just came out of the dryer smelling as sweet as a spring morning.
Why? Twenty-five percent of home washing machines are contaminated with fecal bacteria, according to Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
How does this happen? While it has never been proven that bacteria on clothing spread illness, Gerba told The Housekeeping Channel that each pair of dirty underwear contains about one-tenth of a gram of bacteria-carrying feces, which is about the same size as a quarter of a peanut. Detergent and water remove 99 percent of those nasty organisms -- but not all of them.
Why is our laundry still so dirty?
• Wash cycles and drying cycles are shorter now, averaging 20 and 28 minutes respectively.
• Most of us do not use hot water to wash our clothes and even fewer use bleach.
• The mechanical action and proper rinsing away of soil and microbes is not as effective when a washing machine is overloaded, since overloading can inhibit the flow of water through fabrics for dispersal of the detergent.
• Microbes from one wash load can stay in the washer and be transferred to the next load.
• Leaving wet laundry in a washing machine for hours creates a prime breeding ground for bacteria.
• Some microbes even survive the dryer's heat, including salmonella, hepatitis A, rotavirus and adenovirus.
What can you do to get cleaner laundry? Gerba advises the following:
• Wash underwear with one cup of bleach added to the wash water.
• If you don't want to use bleach on your clothing, run one wash cycle with only bleach and water to disinfect the machine either before your first load or after the last.
• Wash clothes at a temperature of 140 degrees or higher. (To be honest, this is difficult for most household washing machines.)
• Use a detergent that contains a sanitizer, especially if you like to wash clothes in cold water.
• When transferring wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, wear protective gloves or wash your hands immediately afterward.
--From the Editors at Netscape
Gross! See momma, naked is wayyy better! No more clothes for me!