The question, of course, isn't whether you can. It's whether you should. I mean, is it even sanitary to toss those old cleaning rags into the wash with your shirts and socks? Well, we decided to find out … and, let's be honest, deep down you probably already know the answer.
According to hygiene expert Dr. Lisa Ackerley, the trend toward washing clothes in cooler water and with more delicate cycles (to avoid damage or shrinkage) lends itself to the spread of bacteria. "Consumers believe that normal laundering produces 'clean' clothes, but this does not necessarily translate to 'hygienically' clean."
Referring to this as the "Sick Laundry Cycle," Ackerley insists it's high time we re-evaluate the way we clean our laundry. "If you put something ridden with bacteria in the washing machine, you will simply be swishing the germs around — creating a 'bacterial soup' — unless you do something to kill them," she explains.
And here's the ugly truth: It isn't just those dirty old dish rags that can cause unwanted bacterial contamination. Undergarments can be home to around 100 million E. coli and other bacteria, which is just as unsanitary as it sounds.