Stop Using Your Washing Machine as a Hamper

Stop Using Your Washing Machine as a Hamper

As our name suggests, if there’s a way to make life easier, or cut down on the time we spend doing stuff we’d rather not be doing, we’re all about it. And sometimes in our quest to find life-simplification solutions, we’ll come across certain hacks or tips that seem like they’d save time and energy, but in the end, actually create more work.

One such example is using your (empty) washing machine as a hamper for your dirty clothes. Here’s what to know.

Your washing machine is not a hamper

It all seems so logical. When clothes get dirty, we take them off and put them somewhere separate from our clean clothes, whether that’s in a hamper, flung across a chair, or in a pile on the floor. Then, once enough of these clothes and used linens pile up, we throw them in the washing machine and do a load or two.

So it makes sense to skip the middle step (i.e. the floor pile), and put dirty clothes directly into the washing machine, right? Unfortunately, it does not.

According to Jim Ireland, owner of Manhattan cleaning company White Glove Elite, storing dirty clothes in a washing machine between uses is a bad idea because it would reduce the light and airflow in the vat/barrel, preventing it from thoroughly drying.

“This could promote the growth of mould or mildew on your clothing,” Ireland told Apartment Therapy. “Mould growths, or colonies, can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours. They could grow on your clothes and reproduce by spores that travel through the air and cause mild health problems.”

Not only that, but Chuck Gerba, PhD — a professor of environmental biology at the University of Arizona whose research focuses on germs in washing machines — says that dirty underwear often contains faecal matter; specifically “about a tenth of a gram of poop in the average pair,” he told ABC News.

And since faecal matter can carry a bunch of different germs (including the hepatitis A virus, norovirus, rotavirus, salmonella, and E. coli), Gerba says that it’s really not something you want in your washer any longer than it has to be.

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