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Your Freshly Washed Socks May Be Full of Germs

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Science Daily reports that washing machines may not be killing the harmful germs that get onto our clothing. A study preformed in the UK found that even after going through a wash cycle, clothing had traces of the bacteria MRSA and Acinetobacter. MRSA can cause skin infections, urinary tract infections and pneumonia and is more likely to affect the elderly, children and those with a weakened immune system. The study found that in order for both forms of bacteria to be eliminated the water temperature must be 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is only 104 degrees, it kills MRSA, but leaves Acinetobacter behind. It did mention that if you use an iron at 40 degrees after washing, it would kill off the remaining Acinetobacter. The article didn’t say anything about a dryer, but it seems to me that if you dry your clothes at a high temperature it would also kill off all bacteria.

Lower temperatures are being used in order to conserve energy, but it could end up causing us harm. The amount of germs that are killed can also depend on the type of detergent you use. Liquid detergents usually don’t contain bleaching agents like powder detergents do, and may not strong enough to clean effectively. It is best to always separate underwear and other clothing items from bed and kitchen linens. Lifehacker even recommends putting a cup of Listerine mouthwash in your laundry to kill bacteria. Just make sure to use one with no artificial colors and do a test run to be sure it won’t stain your clothing.

Hopefully this information hasn’t scared your socks off. Maybe you should go wash them again just to be sure. And if you want to read more you can find out more at the following sites:,,

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