Your washing might smell fresh but don’t be lulled into a false sense of cleanliness.
The move away from the high-temperature washes and harsh detergents of our grandmothers’ era may be kinder to fabrics, the environment and sensitive skin but it could costing us our health.
Research has shown that potentially harmful bacteria in our laundry is not being killed off in low-temperature washes, turning the average spin cycle into a breeding ground for germs.
The levels of bacteria found by microbiologists in our washing machines and on supposedly ‘clean’ laundered clothes has led leading hygiene expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley, to call for an increased awareness of what is being termed the ‘Sick Laundry Cycle’.
Dr Ackerley said: ‘Consumers believe that normal laundering produces ‘clean’ clothes but this does not necessarily translate to ‘hygienically’ clean.
‘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. It’s time to re-evaluate the hygiene of our laundry.’
In fact a microbial assessment to evaluate the infection risks associated with laundry found an estimated average of 0.1g grams (10,000 organisms) of faecal matter on every pair of ‘clean’ knickers.
The Sick Laundry Cycle isn’t just about the inadequate removal of bacteria from contaminated clothes. Cross-contamination also plays a part.