Washing clothes on 30C eco wash ‘is fuelling spread of flu’

An expert has warned that washing clothes on an eco wash with 30C water is not hot enough to kill viruses

A microbiologist has said that washing your clothes on a 'cool' eco-setting could fuel the spread of flu, because the temperature is not hot enough to kill viruses.

Although it seems like the right thing to do for those seeking to contribute in saving the planet, using the 'eco' setting on washing machines could actually be helping to spread diseases.

A report by the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene stated that using a cool temperature means that germs, such as flu and E.coli, are spread through the clean laundry.

Professor Anthony Hilton of Aston University, who contributed to the report, has said that to kill viruses effectively, water should be at least 60C.

Using detergent, tumble drying and ironing along with the warmer 60C wash will also help to eliminate viruses.

Washing machine manufacturers have encouraged owners to use the 30C cycle to save money and be eco-friendly, however, it has been revealed that the eco mode saves as little as £13 a year, as well as putting washing machine owners health at risk.

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Professor Hilton stated: 'Laundering is about killing germs and washing at 30C won't do that. Most germs thrive at body temperature of 37C.'

'From an environmental point of view, that is certainly a good move and fine if you only want to make clothes smell nice.'

But he added: 'You need to be getting the temperature up to at least 60C to kill germs that cause life-threatening disease.'

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The warning has come after experts have revealed that thousands of Britons with heart problems could be at risk if a particular flu strain returns this winter.

The British Heart Foundation has said that a rise in excess deaths from heart attacks or strokes last winter was partly due to the flu.

It was been warned by the charity that this year's winter months will be particularly risky if very cold weather coincides with a severe flu season.

Professor Hilton  stressed the importance of striking a balance between environmentally friendly measures and protecting ourselves and our families from illness:

'This is not an 'all or nothing' challenge - it is essential we develop lifestyles which sustain exposure to the right sort of microbes, whilst at the same time protecting against those that cause disease.'