Is it ok to put poopy pants in the washing machine?

Is it ok to put poopy pants in the washing machine
infant’s pants
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There are about 540 billion bacteria per gram of dry feces. Sadly, washing clothes in a washing machine does not kill them all. 

Poop in dresses create a mesh that gets stuck in the drain filter often causing blockage. Offensive odor from human poop is unpleasant to the nose, irritating to the eyes and harmful to the health. 

It is important, therefore, that remnant poop be thoroughly removed from dresses before being tossed into a washer.

As a rule of thumb, washing machine drains are built to flush liquid only. Any solid passed along is harmful to the overall operation of the washer. 

A foul substance like poop, stuck in the drain is a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria.

Even the mere thought of it is nauseating.

Should soiled pants be garbage instead?

Is it ok to put poopy pants in the washing machine

The job of nursing mothers is difficult enough. Nursing a child for 2 to 3 years until he is old enough to pass excrement with little supervision is one of the most tasking jobs in the world.

With a potential of 730 to 1095 days of potential soiling his or her pants, a mother is faced with the dilemma of deciding how to handle soiled pants.

If you’re wealthy enough, you can decide to trash every soiled pants and under pant. If it is soiled multiple times a day, that will amount to hundreds or even a couple thousands of trashed pants.

While this is possible, it is usually not sustainable, at least for those of moderate to low income.

So discarding poopy pants is not a viable option.

How to prepare soiled pants for laundry?

Is it ok to put poopy pants in the washing machine

Now that we’ve decided against throwing all soiled pant in a refuse bin, we left with the question of how to go about preparing our kids knickers, shorts or underpants for laundry.

Although we refer to kids only as having soiled pants. In reality, this can affect adults too. Different physical and mental conditions can cause incontinence in adults. But this is not the aim  of this article.

If your beautiful angel has foul him or herself again, first understand that it is not his making. In a few year time it will be over, but in the main time, 

  1. You can decide to scrape off excess excrement from the pant immediately. This will prevent poop from drying on the dress, becoming more difficult to clean.
  2. Manually wash off remnant waste from the dress. You only need to do a light washing, to prepare it for the washer.
  3. If you are dealing with an adult, you should protect your hands with an hand glove and nose mask whenever possible.
  4. At this point, you should have the barest minimum of excrement on the dress. 
  5. You should decide the next cause of action:
  • Presoak the soiled garment in bleach or detergents containing bleach.
  • Vinegar is a fine cleaning agent, but is not a good disinfectant, so use with caution and in the right amount.
  1. Now its time to wash in a washing machine. Simply toss all laundry in a washing machine and wash.

Water  temperature to wash soiled pants?

Except you presoak soiled pants in bleach or other disinfectant, it is safe to assume that the garments are contaminated, and be treated accordingly.

In this case, you should use very warm to hot water temperature. You should use a minimum temperature of 40 degrees. 60 degrees and above is ideal. Even this is not enough to disinfect soiled  pants completely. But can be effective when used with detergent and cleaning agents.

Bear in mind that hot water causes most fabrics to shrink, therefore, you should invest in quality cotton fabrics for your children’s underwear.

Even this too, can shrink, but heavier cotton have a higher temperature tolerance.

What if the dress is delicate?

Is it ok to put poopy pants in the washing machine

Sometime, though, you might be dealing with soiled delicate fabrics. In that case, laundering with hot water might damage your cloth fabrics.

What should you do?

  1. Use hand wash: Hand wash is the go-to when it comes to washing delicate materials. You can hardly go wrong with hand wash. 

On the downside, however, hand wash is both stressful and time consuming. If you have the time and energy, by all means do so

  1. Use cold wash: The real problem here is temperature, and not necessarily the washer itself.  

In this case, no matter the washer setting you prefer, use cold or fairly warm water for the wash. This is a temperature no more than 30 degrees.

  1. Presoak: Soak your clothes for 10 – 15 minutes in bleach and detergent. This should get most of the dirt from your soiled clothes. 

Whether you decide to use machine or hand wash, you’ll only need a brief wash to gets your clothes clean. 

In a machine wash, simply use ‘quick wash’ setting. This is a 15 minute wash setting in most washing machines.

What if there is not enough clothes to wash at a time?

As a safe rule, only wash half of your washing machine load capacity as a minimum loading capacity.

This will save cause, reduce machine noise and vibrations.

If you only have a couple kid’s soiled pants to wash at a time, you should resist the temptation to leave for the another time when you will have enough clothes to wash. 

Yet, you should not wash two small pants in an 8kg washing machine, for example.

Your best option here will be to hand wash. Many Africans are comfortable washing soiled kid’s clothes with hands.

If you find this difficult or “unhealthy” to do, then invest in mini washing machine.

This will help you to wash small amounts of clothes at any given time.

Should diaper be washed in the washer?

This is a no no. Never wash diapers in a washing machine. Most diapers are disposable.

Also they are often made of silk, and so are delicate to wash.

However, if you are on a budget, or you are one the few practicing frugality practitioners, you can invest in cotton reusable diapers. You should also be will to wash soiled diapers with hands.

But it is discouraged to wash them in a washer.

Should a cleaned poopy pant be washed with other clothes?

Often the word “clean” is used to refer to pants devoid of poop, or maybe they’re not just visible.

Even precleaned poopy pant usually still contain contaminants, except they were disinfected. 

It is safe to wash even cleaned previously soiled separately. This will prevent infants and young kids from getting skin and other infections.

It is always better to be safe than sorry.


Motherhood can be challenging. Dealing with exuberant and noisy kids and infants in constant need of love an attention can drain ones energy.

Having to pants soiled with poop and wee, is a challenge on a whole different level, but if you follow safety and hygiene rule, you will realize that it was worth the extra effort.

For one thing, seeing those bright, angelic eyes staring at you with sheer innocence is worth every soiled pant washed.

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