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Does a washing machine kill germs?

I am some what of a clean freak & I recently moved. My son was playing in the bath & pretty much soaked both of my rugs.
I didn't think anything of it & threw the rugs in the washer & pulled out the mop.
After I threw the wet rug into the washer my germaphobia kicked in.
Does the detergent & hot water actually kill the germs.
I didn't have a chance to mop the bathroom floor since we have only been here a couple days. I mopped the floor with bleach & water afterwards but now I wonder if the rugs are clean or even if my washer is contaminated now that I used it to wash the rug.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:52 AM on Mar. 2, 2009 in Home & Garden

Answers (5)
  • Yes, the hot water will kill most things, but the dryer does the rest.

    Answer by SusieD250 at 1:01 AM on Mar. 2, 2009

  • Good question. Our washers are actually breeding grounds for all types of bacteria. Your rug in your washer is the least of your worries. Think of all of the fecal bacteria in your washer from your underwear (yes, even if you don't "soil" yourself, the bacteria is still on your clothes). Most washers do not get hot enough to adequately kill bacteria and dust mites. Clothes (like darks) that are consistently washed in cold water are notorious for build up of bacteria. If your washer does not get about 140°C, you are not killing very many germs. You should run your washer empty with bleach on it's longest, hottest cycle at least once per month. Laundry detergent does nothing but lubricate germs, stains and other unwanted things so that the water and movement can take them off. It is an ineffective germ killer. Good luck!

    Answer by NovemberLove at 1:04 AM on Mar. 2, 2009

  • And yet we are still alive and thriving. It kills enough of the germs that you need. You don't need to kill every single one. IN FACT killing all of them isn't healthy for you.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:07 AM on Mar. 2, 2009

  • Anon 1:07 you make me sound like I doomed all of the world to death by bacteria. By no means. By no means does the method I described kill all of the bacteria either. It is a way to eliminate a lot of them periodically so that they do not breed in your washer because THAT isn't healthy for you either.

    The fact of the matter is, bacteria should be in moderation just like everything else. Too little bactera does not prepare your immune system. Too many bacteria tires your immune system by over-loading it working so hard to fight it off. When that is the case, should a new bacteria be introduced to your system, it can really wip you out or cause an infection.

    Are we all alive and thriving although exposed to bacteria every day? Surely. But you don't realise how much better your skin and general health could be if you learned about living with bacteria in moderation.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 1:23 AM on Mar. 2, 2009

  • And IN FACT, my words are based on fact and on about 20 science lab credits in A&P, Bio Chem and Microbiology while obtaining my degrees ;-)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 1:25 AM on Mar. 2, 2009

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