Let’s talk Laundry and Sorting

in , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Friday, October 04, 2013

As I do most every morning, I walked into my laundry room to check if I left a load of laundry in the washer overnight.  My washer was empty, the dryer wasn’t.
No big news flash there, but while I’m standing there contemplating the next load (you know, should it be darks or lights or whites) I noticed a funky odor wafting around.

Laundry rooms should smell clean and fresh, not like a sweaty sock!

 My eyes immediately go to the white’s basket. Even though it’s only half full, I start sorting. Actually, I double sort my whites. I make two piles; one is only socks and underwear, the other towels and linen. My Mama didn’t teach me to sort clothes like this and I’m betting your Mama didn’t either. But I think you'll be a white's double sorter too after you read this. 


So why the double sort?

One word: Poop.

Yes! Poop!  I saw this story on ABC News a couple of years ago and it has stuck with me. According to Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona

"If you wash a load of just underwear, there will be about 100 million E. coli in the wash water, and they can be transmitted to the next load of laundry," Gerba said. “There’s about a tenth of a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear," he added. Fecal matter can carry a number of different germs, including the hepatitis A virus, norovirus, rotavirus, salmonella and E. coli.
Gross, right?
Thinking our detergent was enough to keep the germs at bay is wrong. Thinking my hot water was hot enough to kill the nasty’s was wrong too.
So here’s what I do. I wash the underwear and socks in hot water with bleach first. Then, I clean the washer with a spray of diluted bleach water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I wash the towels in hot water and bleach. Now I’m not spreading germs and poop and all those other gross things mentioned above.
It’s imbedded in my brain to double sort my whites and clean my washer now and I’m teaching my girls to do the same.  I know old habits die hard, but if you could visualize drying your face with a dirty sock, you will be doing the double sort too.
You’ve just read the first in my new series of homemaking tips. I will share a new tip each week. Please let me know your thoughts and what topics you’d like to see me cover in comments.
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