Aren't Laundry Machines Very Dirty & Make Clothes Dirty?

  • #1
Just a random thought today:

Our worn clothes are dirty. They have sweat, food stains, dirt, and fecal matter (undies).

We shove these in the laundry machine, where those clothes touch the center spinner thing and the sides of the laundry machine. Even on high wash load, the water doesn't cover the center spinner thing completely, nor the sides of the machine, so any bacteria on our clothes remains on those parts.

After wash, while our clothes are clean, they will rub up against parts of the machine the water didn't cover as we remove them and, in the process, get the dirty stuff from that on them. Now they are dirty again. Probably less dirty than pre-wash, but still dirty again.

:sorry:
 

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  • #2
Bystander
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Yup.
 
  • #3
lisab
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Washing machines aren't intended to sterilize clothes. If smell is any indication (and it *truly* is), clothes are much cleaner after laundering than before.
 
  • #4
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Those tiny creatures may not live long inside the water mixed with detergent of the washing machine and after several rinses.
And this paper reminds us that how many of them exist in the air we breathe,
Scientists have long known that bacteria are ubiquitous in the atmosphere. Bacterial concentrations typically range from 104 to 106 cells m−3 (28), though concentrations may be far higher in proximity to point sources such as compost facilities, feedlots, and wastewater treatment facilities (1, 24, 41). Recent evidence suggests that, even in some relatively unpolluted locations, bacteria or portions of bacteria may represent a major component of the organic aerosols residing in the atmosphere (22, 44).
And many are also killed by UV or high heat by the dryers.
We always co-live with bacteria.
 
  • #6
Choppy
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Perhaps this is why you're supposed to clear your washing machine every once in a while.
 
  • #7
Ryan_m_b
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The water in your washing machine doesn't have to rise up and cover everything, as the machine spins all the clothes are drenched in the water and detergents. They do come out clean (obviously) but they aren't going to be perfectly sterile. And that's completely fine, you don't need sterile clothes, just ones that aren't stained or smell.
 
  • #8
Ryan_m_b
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In fact, according to Scientific American, there are more bacteria in your body than there are human cells.

Yup, the bacteria are smaller hence why more of them can fit in a small volume. I believe the average human has 1kg of bacteria in and on them as gut flora and skin flora. These are incredibly important, without a functioning microbiome various illnesses can develop.
 
  • #9
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These are incredibly important, without a functioning microbiome various illnesses can develop.
It's my understanding, though, that when you take antibiotics they indiscriminately kill all bacteria. I've taken them many times and am not aware of any harmful effects.
 
  • #10
Ryan_m_b
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It's my understanding, though, that when you take antibiotics they indiscriminately kill all bacteria. I've taken them many times and am not aware of any harmful effects.

Antibiotics don't wipe out all bacteria, different types of antibiotic are effective against different species. So whilst there may be some damage to the microbiome more often than not its mostly undisturbed. Having said that there are plenty of studies looking into how various antibiotic therapies effect the microbiome, the consequences of this and what happens to the population after the treatment is stopped.

For example:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466501/
 
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  • #11
phinds
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... I believe the average human has 1kg of bacteria in and on them as gut flora and skin flora. These are incredibly important, without a functioning microbiome various illnesses can develop.
Uh, right. Death being one of those various illnesses :smile:
 
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  • #12
SteamKing
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Antibiotics don't wipe out all bacteria, different types of antibiotic are effective against different species. So whilst there may be some damage to the microbiome more often than not its mostly undisturbed. Having said that there are plenty of studies looking into how various antibiotic therapies effect the microbiome, the consequences of this and what happens to the population after the treatment is stopped.

For example:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466501/
You take a strong enough antibiotic long enough, you'll put a dent in your own personal biome.

If you take strong oral antibiotics, like Cipro, they'll damage or destroy your gut bacteria, which leads to increased diarrhea. I know, because I was on such a treatment regimen once, and the diarrhea was leaving me too depleted and dehydrated to continue with the treatment.

You can recolonize the bacteria in your system by taking acidophilus pills, which contain some of the bacteria found normally in a healthy gut.
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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We shove these in the laundry machine, where those clothes touch the center spinner thing and the sides of the laundry machine. Even on high wash load, the water doesn't cover the center spinner thing completely, nor the sides of the machine, so any bacteria on our clothes remains on those parts.
If the water and clothes don't get up to those parts, how can they transfer dirt and microbes to them?
 
  • #14
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water and clothes don't get up to those parts
They have to go past them on the way in and out; work on a top loader that's been used with fabric softener for a really sickening experience --- handed the parts to the wife and daughters to clean --- haven't had to put up with fabric softener in the house since.
 
  • #15
Drakkith
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Clearly the best option here is to throw these 'dirty' washing machines into their own washing machines. And then that one into its own washing machine. Looks like the universe is just washing machines all the way down.
 
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  • #16
symbolipoint
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It's my understanding, though, that when you take antibiotics they indiscriminately kill all bacteria. I've taken them many times and am not aware of any harmful effects.
Some antibiotics kill several different bacteria; and some antibiotics kill only a few specific/narrow range of bacteria.
 
  • #17
I think a side loader might potentially help a little bit. But with top loaders, you're going to rub your dirty poop stained underwear at times against the "spinner" and other areas (where the water doesn't rise above during cycles).

I wonder if dryers kill the bacteria? I recall reading that drying stuff in the sun will kill bacteria, because of the UV rays.
 
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  • #18
russ_watters
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Honestly, guys, if you are concerned about a significant buildup of feces on the inside of the top of the funnel or spinner due to your clothes brushing past it, you should consider a change in diet or occupation!
 
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  • #19
phinds
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Honestly, guys, if you are concerned about a significant buildup of feces on the inside of the top of the funnel or spinner due to your clothes brushing past it, you should consider a change in diet or occupation!
Or maybe just not s*** in your pants ? :smile:
 
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  • #20
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Honestly, guys, if you are concerned about a significant buildup of feces on the inside of the top of the funnel or spinner due to your clothes brushing past it, you should consider a change in diet or occupation!
If your toilet seat isn't installed with any means (i.e a washlet) to wash your butt after you finish, I believe you would see your feces in your pants several hours later. It's because our anal hole opens and closes depending on our movements (walking, sitting, bending your body, stretching your legs, standing on one foot sometimes etc.) Washlets are expensive though. So I don't think diet or occupation helps.
 
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