During the festive season, it's easy to fall behind with household chores. One that you shouldn't forget to do this month is cleaning your washing machine.
Washing machines can make excellent breeding grounds for some quite nasty germs. Some of these are extremely harmful to our health and these include E.Coli, Salmonella and Staph. Whilst the effects are usually quite mild, these bacteria can sometimes cause serious illness and even death.
They enter the washing machine through dirty clothes and the water used to do the laundry. The bacteria can survive for quite a while due to the plastic components used in modern washing machines. This can make washers more unhygienic than toilets!
Research shows that these harmful pathogens are extremely resistant, and can survive washing temperatures of up to 55 C.
However, there is a trend to do laundry in cold water to save money. Whilst this is cleaning clothes, it is also exposing you and your family to some quite serious infections.
To ensure the harmful bacteria are eliminated, a minimum washing temperature of 60 C is advised, as well as cleaning your washing machine every month.
Another recommendation is to use washing detergents that contain a bleaching agent. This makes it possible to wash at a lower temperature (like 40 C) and kill some of the germs.
The following infographic and article from helpwiththewashing.co.uk explore the issue in more detail. It also gives 6 tips to help reduce the risk of bacterial infection when you do the laundry.