London - Even if your washing smells fresh, try not to be lulled into a false sense of security.
Because moving away from high-temperature cycles and harsh detergents is kinder to the environment – but could be a risk to our health, according to experts.
Research has shown that potentially harmful bacteria in our laundry is not killed off in low-temperature washes, turning the average spin cycle into a breeding ground for germs.
Hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerley said: ‘Consumers believe laundering produces “clean” clothes but this does not necessarily translate to hygienically clean.
‘The trend towards reducing washing temperatures and using gentler detergents has affected bacteria levels. It’s time to re-evaluate the hygiene of our laundry.’
In particular, she said, the problem can be made worse if someone in the house is ill.
Separating infected clothes, bedding and towels from the rest of the laundry is not enough to stop the risk of spreading infection if you wash the items at low temperatures, she claimed.
Dr Ackerley warned: ‘Bacteria on wet clothes are more likely to contaminate hands. The transfer of germs from hands to objects in the home and ultimately our mouths is therefore a risk.’
According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at 30C uses 40 per cent less electricity than washing at higher temperatures – saving households around £13 a year on energy bills.
Trisha Schofield, from Good Housekeeping Institute, said: ‘A cooler wash is kinder to your clothes, reducing colour loss and fabric damage. Turning to 30C from even a 40C wash will reduce energy consumption.’
But tests carried out last month found that a 30C wash might be fine for washing lightly soiled items – but is not enough to clean clothes that are badly stained. - Daily Mail