Space & Innovation

How Gross Is Your Dirty Laundry?

Scientists have found that our clothes and linens can harbor dangerous pathogens, but just how much of a health risk is dirty laundry?

The humble washing machine is surely our most unassuming home appliance. It rumbles on without complaint as we feed it our dirty laundry, year after year. But what are the actual health issues of laundry and washing machines? You may be surprised, and mildly alarmed, at the answer.

Scientists can tell you that many pathogens live and even multiply in our dirty clothes. E. coli, for instance, can remain on fabrics for hours. Salmonella can survive on unwashed clothes for weeks. Staphylococcus, which causes staph infections, has been known to survive for months. In today's DNews report, Trace Dominguez offers some healthy advice on improving your laundry habits.

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Eureka Alert: Dirty laundry may cause environmental contamination

ABC News: Dirty Laundry? How Nasty Germs Survive in Your Washer

Smithsonian Mag: The Myth of the Frozen Jeans