Are Public Washing Machines Clean?


For the most part, public washing machines are quite sanitary as long as people follow the right instructions properly. Washing clothes at a warm or high temperature along with using washing detergent will get rid of any bacteria living on clothes so they won’t be able to survive and pass on to any other people who use that washing machine. 

The owners of these public washing machine stores like laundromats should be engaging in regular cleaning of the washing machines, especially in areas like the rubber seals where things like bacteria can hide, grow, and possibly spread onto other people’s washing.

Cleaning procedures are recommended for laundromat owners to protect their equipment and also to provide a high-quality service to their paying customers.

However, in places like New York City where there are many residents with no in-unit washer or dryers, going to a laundromat is the only option and because there is such a huge demand for public washer and dryers then owners are less likely to take care of their equipment and take less pride in ensuring the machines are sanitary for everyone to use.

Many laundromats will use high-efficiency washing machines to try and save energy and money, so will wash at lower temperatures which will be able to kill unsanitary bacteria or viruses. 

If you’re worried about catching anything or your washing being contaminated with anything harmful, you can run half a cup of bleach through an empty washing machine before using it to make sure it’s sanitary when you put your washing inside. 

Can you catch diseases from washing machines?

Yes, some viruses can survive inside washing machines and transfer over to your clothes and cause you to catch something.

To be extra cautious that you won’t catch anything from a public laundry store, run some bleach through the machine first with water to kill any remaining organisms or bacteria inside and then put your clothes and washing detergent on the highest heat possible to make sure they get super clean.

This may cost you a bit extra as you’ll have to run the machine more than once, but it’ll give you peace of mind that it was clean before you put your clothes in.

Not only can you catch diseases or illnesses from inside washing machines, but you can also catch them from touching areas around the washing machine like the detergent draw or the door of the washing machine.

So you can choose to wipe down the surface of the washing machine with some anti-bacterial wipes or spray, or you should be extra cautious and wash your hands straight away or use hand sanitizer. 

There is currently no scientific evidence that proves you can catch sexually transmitted diseases through machine machines, but the most common disease that people catch from them is the common cold or the flu and this is due to insufficient disinfecting of clothing by either not washing them on a high enough heat or not using quality washing detergent

Can a dirty washing machine cause skin problems?

Yes, a dirty washing machine can be a major contributor to causing skin problems. Some people have very sensitive skin that reacts very badly to strong fragranced washing detergents or detergents that have lots of chemicals in them.

Whilst these kinds of people may not use these sorts of products, if they go to a public laundry room then they may find their clothes get contaminated with remnants of someone else’s washing detergent when washing their clothes.

For public laundrettes, use half a cup of bleach on a rinse setting before loading your clothes into the washing machine to ensure there is no washing detergent or harmful contamination that could cause a reaction to your skin.

You can also add vinegar to your own washing machine and start a cycle to sanitize the inside of it. You should regularly clean out your detergent dispenser area and also wipe down the exterior of your washing machine, including the door with an anti-bacterial spray and cloth.

If you do experience a reaction from using a washing machine then you could experience symptoms like itching, rashes, burning skin, dry skin, or even bumpy skin.

Some of these symptoms may be more severe than others depending on how sensitive your skin is and you may be able to treat milder symptoms with at-home remedies like a cool wet compress and some calamine lotion. Others may need to seek medical attention to get steroid cream or even strong antihistamines. 

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