laundry talk

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laundry talk

So I have been spending my spare time (and I have SO much of it :roll:) researching safer and less allergenic products to use in my house. Partly because of Micah's eczema and partly because it just seems like there are so many bad chemicals out there. I've become WAY more natural than I ever thought I would be, kinda freaks me out sometimes. lol But I thought I'd try using a more natural bar soap for the laundry detergent that I make, and was trying to find out if I could use a vegetable-based soap... and stumbled across this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/23/health/scientist-at-work-charles-gerba-on-germ-patrol-at-the-kitchen-sink.html?sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

It's an interesting read, but this is the part I wanted to share:
Focusing on four-person families in Tucson, Dr. Gerba's team randomly visited 60 homes and washed a sterile washcloth in their machines. One-fifth of the machines contained E. coli, while a quarter were contaminated with fecal matter.

The laundry, Dr. Gerba contends, is becoming less clean. Fewer Americans wash clothes in hot water, and only 5 percent use bleach, he said. Wash cycles are only 20 minutes, while the average drying time is only 28 minutes. Dr. Gerba found that some salmonella and hepatitis A survive through laundry -- including the dry cycle -- and remain on clothes. ''We have no idea how well we clean clothes,'' he said.

Dr. Gerba's own laundry machine yielded E. coli, prompting him to change his own washing habits. ''I always washed my underwear last, in a separate load, but I started using bleach, and now I run an empty wash, with just bleach, when I'm done. It's mouthwash for the machine.''

I still haven't found the answer I was looking for about using vegetable-based soap, but since I have babies that occasionally blow out their diapers, I think I need to be running more empty washes with bleach! I just randomly did that a few weeks ago, but I should probably do it more often. I also didn't realize that hot water made a difference - never even really thought about viruses and e-coli, etc. living on laundry. :eek: Guess I need to adjust my laundry habits a bit...

And if anyone knows anything about whether or not I can use a vegetable-based soap, I'd love to hear it! Biggrin

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Yet another reason for me to hate my front load washer lol!! Added it to the list lol! That's not mentioned as a culprit, but common sense tells me using very little water to wash, is stuff really getting cleaned other than smelling nice because of the detergent??? What's funny is the issues I've been having with the front loader, the smell, has been fixed since I've been doing the above two things!!! I do at LEAST 3 hot wash loads a week and at LEAST two bleach loads a week now. No more smell in that stupid front loader! It totally makes sense that washing clothes has become pointless other than making it smell better, because also a few times I've put in SUPER dirty things, and they come out cleaner than they went in, but certainly not completely cleaned off....and that's the whole conserving water bit I think.

Anyway, gross and interesting!!

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I did read this article a few weeks ago as well and now am doing more hot loads. Problem is, I live in an apartment and we share the washers.

I make my own detergent now, and was wondering what non-bleach options I could use to make my whites less dingy?

Thanks!

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my front loader has a sanitize cycle and I always use that for diapers, but that's pretty gross to read about. I don't know anything about vegetable based soap, but I do know some people use soap nuts and it's a natural detergent, but to sanitize your washer you'd have to do a cycle with bleach then wouldn't you? so it would kind of defeat the purpose, vinigar has some bleaching qualities. my MIL started using vinigar and lemon for cleaner and says it works welll, I just wonder how clean it really is.

http://www.buysoapnuts.com/

oh I totally forgot, a few drops of Tee Tree Oil in the wash is a natural disinfectant too, wich reminds me I need to get some for my CD cycles.
http://hubpages.com/hub/Tea-Tree-Oil-Natural-Antiseptic-and-Disinfectant

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yup......gross.........i think it just helps build the immunity up......LOL....j/k of course....
i have never done a hot water wash ........ever!!!!!
i do use bleach for my lights.... and i do run a bleach "clean the washer" cycle once in a blue moon, usually after we have all been sick......
i can't let every article bother me.........we(my family) all have pretty good immune systems, and i'm not the "best" cleaner........

eta........i was using vinegar in my washer.......but it just wasn't cutting it.......i use the smallest amount of detergent......soap scum smells bad and then the scum harbors the bacteria....i don't use fabric softener anymore, and i had to go back to using bleach with all light loads.....

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I have some old tea tree oil, will use it tonight. Karina peed in the bed. I forgot to put a diaper on her last night.

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I'm not too concerned about the bacteria left in the washer or on the clothes. Fact is, the bacteria can't live forever on dry clothes without something to feed off. Fact is E. Coli is in the gut flora of every warm blooded animal on this planet including humans. It is only very specific strains of E Coli that cause food-poisoning in humans. I wash my clothing to get food stain, dirt, and body odors out, not to sterilize them. Quite frankly, reports like this make me roll me eyes, what's the point? He sounds like a man whose is becoming haunted by his work.

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ready for this

I do not do hot wash.. like ever.. maybe I would do it once a week or something.
I do not use bleach .... ever even on whites... I am always afraid it will leave residue and ruin my darks! maybe I will try it and then run a water only wash after

I did stop using softner.

I do not make my own laundry soap... nor do I plan to.

does anyone know how to get the inside of the dryer clean.. my dark have left a blue "tint" on the surface of the dryer..thoughts?

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"chefkel" wrote:

ready for this

I do not do hot wash.. like ever.. maybe I would do it once a week or something.
I do not use bleach .... ever even on whites... I am always afraid it will leave residue and ruin my darks! maybe I will try it and then run a water only wash after

I did stop using softner.

I do not make my own laundry soap... nor do I plan to.

does anyone know how to get the inside of the dryer clean.. my dark have left a blue "tint" on the surface of the dryer..thoughts?

Yhe only hot wash i do is on dipes, sometimes towels if they've been in the hamper too long.

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I'm running my first HOT load as we speak. On empty. I have to thank you for this post because it made me go buy bleach and try to clean my washer which I've been meaning to do for the 4 or so years we've lived here, but I don't worry too much about germs.

Fact is, there's germs everywhere. Always have been. I doubt that anything is any dirtier now than it was 50 years ago, people just didn't think to check 50 years ago.

I'm writing a paper now about the "clean hypothesis" which in a nutshell is about how people in undeveloped countries don't get half the diseases we get here because of the things they're exposed to (like malaria and parasites and stuff). We keep ourselves so "clean" though that our immune systems go a little crazy. Stuff like Chron's disease, for example, is non-existent except in developed countries. (There was an episode of House focused on this too. Basically they killed the parasites in the guys system and he got super sick. So they ended up putting them back and he was fine).

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"luangwa" wrote:

I'm not too concerned about the bacteria left in the washer or on the clothes. Fact is, the bacteria can't live forever on dry clothes without something to feed off. Fact is E. Coli is in the gut flora of every warm blooded animal on this planet including humans. It is only very specific strains of E Coli that cause food-poisoning in humans. I wash my clothing to get food stain, dirt, and body odors out, not to sterilize them. Quite frankly, reports like this make me roll me eyes, what's the point? He sounds like a man whose is becoming haunted by his work.

I agree with this.

I never do a hot wash or use bleach. I am about to switch to a different brand of detergent and will report back if it is as good as it purports to be - it is supposed to be free of caustic chemicals, scent-free, safer for the home, effective in cold water, helpful to the earth, and economical to boot. A tall order! We shall see...

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Things like this rarely cross my mind (although they probably should). But we usually wash sheets and towels on hot. Especially Ella's sheets. Especially when she had big poopy sheets. Smile And I use vinegar.

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"critterskunky" wrote:

I did read this article a few weeks ago as well and now am doing more hot loads. Problem is, I live in an apartment and we share the washers.

I make my own detergent now, and was wondering what non-bleach options I could use to make my whites less dingy?

Thanks!

I might add a little more Borax - it's supposed to be the whitener. Also (and I haven't tried this, just read it) you could try adding a little Oxy Clean, but I'm not sure if it has bleach in it or not...

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"toothy35" wrote:

yup......gross.........i think it just helps build the immunity up......LOL....j/k of course....
i have never done a hot water wash ........ever!!!!!
i do use bleach for my lights.... and i do run a bleach "clean the washer" cycle once in a blue moon, usually after we have all been sick......
i can't let every article bother me.........we(my family) all have pretty good immune systems, and i'm not the "best" cleaner........

eta........i was using vinegar in my washer.......but it just wasn't cutting it.......i use the smallest amount of detergent......soap scum smells bad and then the scum harbors the bacteria....i don't use fabric softener anymore, and i had to go back to using bleach with all light loads.....

My sentiment exactly!!

"chefkel" wrote:

ready for this

I do not do hot wash.. like ever.. maybe I would do it once a week or something.
I do not use bleach .... ever even on whites... I am always afraid it will leave residue and ruin my darks! maybe I will try it and then run a water only wash after

I did stop using softner.

I do not make my own laundry soap... nor do I plan to.

does anyone know how to get the inside of the dryer clean.. my dark have left a blue "tint" on the surface of the dryer..thoughts?

Ditto!!!

My hubby does all the laundry. Washes everything but sheets and towels in cold. Rarely anything in hot. And the only thing of mine he dries is my underwear and socks. I don't want my clothes to shrink after I buy them!!

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Yeah, I'm in the "just don't think about it" camp. I don't think I've ever heard a study that says they tested something and found NO bacteria. lol The stuff is everywhere, I figure worrying about it is just undue stress because we can never get rid of it all. As long as we're healthy, I'm good.

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"SPCN319" wrote:

Yeah, I'm in the "just don't think about it" camp. I don't think I've ever heard a study that says they tested something and found NO bacteria. lol The stuff is everywhere, I figure worrying about it is just undue stress because we can never get rid of it all. As long as we're healthy, I'm good.

a big fat DITTO

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Thanks Ruth! I will try upping the Borax a bit in the mixture!