5th August 2019
When experts gave their views on how we should wash our underwear, one comment left us speechless.
Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner, Dr Lisa Ackerly, told us washing at 30°C or 40°C could leave our underwear a bacteria-filled mess!
She revealed that unless we set our washing machine to a specific temperature, it won't kill the bacteria found on our undies.
She told HuffPost UK when it comes to underwear, nothing under 60 degrees will kill bacteria.
"Don't put the knickers in with the tea towels on a low wash, because you might have faecal contamination in your knickers and you wouldn't want that near your kitchen."
Well, this is some revelation if, like me, have been doing this since forever.
But it gets worse!
Immunologist Dr Jenna Macciochi said that even a 60°C wash might not be enough.
She claims, "60 degrees cannot really be relied upon to kill all bacteria, especially if the machine only reaches this temperature for a short time - most don't maintain this temperature for the entire cycle."
So, all those times we have washed our delicates at 30°C or 40°C, or chucked them in with the rest of our clothes, we haven't been cleaning them at all?
The problem is that this is a double-edged sword: making sure our underwear are faeces-free can harm the environment.
Although a less obvious contributor, our washing machine could release more than 700,000 microscopic plastic fibres into the environment each time we wash them.
Clothing made from fibres like acrylic, nylon and polyester - all of which are forms of plastic - are now about 60 per cent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide.
Each time we wash our clothes, these fibres shed millions of microscopic plastic fibres. And these fibres - less than 5 millimetres in length - pass straight through wastewater into the ocean and in our food chain.
But what can we do?
According to environmental organisation Friends of the Earth: "turning the (washing machine) temperature down can help cut down on this pollution". This is because a lower-temperature wash is less aggressive and therefore not as prone to shed plastic fibres.
So, what now? Choose the environment or... Clean underwear?
Here at Ebac, we are among those who have recognised consumer needs that have demanded a washing machine that doesn't just clean our clothes but takes care of the environment too.
Introducing the E-Care Hot Fill Washing Machine Range.
Like a lot of the best ideas, this one is so simple that it's hard to believe it ever disappeared.
Whether it's an air or ground source heat pump, biomass heating, solar heating or other renewable heat sources - then a hot fill washing machine can be both economically and ecologically reasonable.
Unlike traditional cold fill washing machines, hot fill washing machines use existing hot water and balance it out with cold water (dependent on the temperature of the wash selected); rather than requiring electricity to heat it once it is in the machine.
Heating water in a washing machine accounts for up to 10 per cent of a household's electric bill. Regardless of the temperature of wash selected, whether a 30°C or 60°C, power is continuously needed to heat water from the mains temperature, which is around 8°C.
With promises of up to 20 per cent faster washes and up to 60 per cent cheaper running costs, maybe a hot fill washing machine is the answer to our prayers.
For those who aren't able to put their machine on a higher temperature for whatever reason, don't panic, some things can be done to keep undies faeces-free.
So, with the above in mind, there is no right or wrong answer on how to wash or when to wash, but rather a risk assessment - think about it and clean it if it needs it.
17th January 2023
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