'Clean' clothes dirty as baby's diaper

By Kara Kostanich - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

(WFLX) - You might think your washing machine is one of the cleanest places in your home. Turns out, it's just the opposite.

A recent test found some washing machines are as dirty as a baby's diaper.

So we put four washing machines through the ringer. Half of the homes had washing machines with high levels of bacteria and coliform. The worst machine had a total bacteria of 1,700,000 and 4,000 coliform in it. Scientists say that's the same level of contamination as a dirty diaper.

Dr. Chuck Gerba, microbiologist, said, "That's why you never wanna do your underwear with your handkerchiefs because your bacteria transfers back and forth. You'll be blowing your nose with what's in your underwear."

Microbiologist Ron Schnitzer says your washing machine may clean your clothes. But contrary to what you might think, it probably isn't killing germs -- especially if you use cold water to wash your clothes. But Schnitzer says even hot water may not do the trick.

Our microbiologist says you can get rid of bacteria in your home washing machine by doing some cleaning yourself.

So are any of these germs going to hurt you? If you are in good health, probably not. It's the young, the old and pregnant women who are most at risk.