Human Feces cleaning from clothing

I was running errands a yr ago on a rainy day (had been down pouring for hrs) when the sanitary sewer where I was walking began to shoot over flow onto the pavement where I was walking. 2 inches of the cuffs of my pants & my socks got sewage on them.

It was late when I got home, so I put the clothing I’d been wearing into a rubber maid container to washing another day. Here is the issue, I forgot about it for this past yr. I came across the container the other day, lifted the corner of it & there was a very musty damp smell, thus I remembered what was in the container before fully opening it.

I know most ppl would say to just throw out the clothing, but I want to try to wash the clothes b/c I was wearing a pair of pants & a top that I like.

My questions are: How much dangerous fecal bacteria could have survived the past yr when it was stored in a lidded container indoors in a laundry room while the clothing is still slightly damp? All yr the clothing in the container would’ve gotten warm in summer & warm in winter from the furnace air coming from a floor furnace vent 4 feet away from the container. So, can I assume that the dangerous/harmful bacteria that could’ve been in the sewage has died off or has it multiplied as it was stored in a dark closed up environment while still very damp?

I want to make sure to use a strong enough cleaner to kill off the feces bacteria & also want to handle it in a way that I won’t get sick from it when handling it to load it into the washer. I’ve a compromised immune system. I also can’t use bleach on the clothing as it triggers my asthma, plus the clothing is light pastel coloured & the bleach would ruin the colour of the clothes.

I either wash with Arm & Hammer or Xtra brand laundry detergent. Would either of those detergents kill off all the bacteria left in the clothing? After the worst is washed out, then I’d worry about any stains, apply stain remover & rewash the items.

Sorry, the only truly safe way to handle this is to throw out the clothing. Really.

Second choice is cleaning with chlorine bleach in sufficient concentration to kill off the bacteria. You say this will trigger asthma problems (for the record I believe you). Thus, you’d probably need to seek out a commercial laundry willing to do this for you. Be honest with them what they’re cleaning and tip generously if you can locate the actual person to do the job. Yes, this will almost certainly change the color of the clothing.

Laundry detergent alone will not do the job. Non-chlorine bleach will not do the job.

Fecal bacteria may multiply but they don’t become more virulent if you let them sit around. One easy, effective way of sterilization that doesn’t overly compromise the clothes is with heat. Keeping the clothes above 160F for at least 5 minutes should be enough to bring bacteria down to safe levels and boiling for 10 minutes will definitely kill everything.

However, just because it’s safe doesn’t mean it’ll be pleasant to wear. There may have been chemical reactions that have taken place that will mean it’ll be very difficult to remove that musty odor.

I have clothes I like, but none that I like enough to wash shit out of. My dad could have given me a shirt, while on his deathbed, and told me to always hold the shirt precious. But shit on it and it gets trashed.

Reported for forum change.

Moved to General Questions.

Not true.

You need temperatures above 120C (wet, 5 -30 mins) or 160C (dry, at least 2 hours) to be sure to get rid of everything nasty.

Bacterial spores are tough buggers.

To get wet temperatures above 100C you will need a pressure cooker.

Home brewers use various fool proof non bleach sanitizers. Stop by a home brewer supply store. Nice to keep some of this around for cutting boards and cooking also.

Where should you throw it from if you really want to be sure?

What’s the difference between the OP’s problem and the millions of pairs of dirty underwear that get washed every day? Is it OPP (other people’s poop)?

Also, WTF, raw sewage backing up onto the street? Is that common?

Raw sewage, stored in a container for a year. All sorts of nasties that I wouldn’t expect to find in my underwear (soiled or not). You’ve got your coliforms, soil bacteria, chemical runoff which may include heavy metals etc.

Hmmm…y’know this smells fishy, and it ain’t the sewage. Who puts sewagey clothes in a box instead of washing it straight away or chucking it out straight away.

And being immune compromised and doing it? Not clever.

To some extent, yes. While no one has total immunity to what dwells in their intestines, you do have some accommodation with the microbes you normally carry around. There is also the sheer quantity of poop involved. Your immune system finds fighting off a few small colonies of fecal bacteria much easier than fighting off large quantities of same.

Most people don’t leave massive skid marks in their underwear, and those that do usually wash them in chlorine bleach for disinfection purposes. Even many people who don’t leave skid marks wash their underwear in chlorine bleach.

Og only knows what dwells in a so-called “sanitary” sewer. There could be infectious agents in there missing from your own, um, emissions. (Admittedly, that was more an issue in the past when things like cholera were more common, but it’s still a concern).

I wouldn’t say common but it can and does happen, usually after unusual heavy rainfall or some sort of flood condition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campden_tablets

I’d expect that after a year, the clothes are stained, and that even if you can sanitize them, you’ll never get the stains out. Have you looked at them to see if they’re stained?

I suffer from a bowel condition.

My shorts, and sometimes my pants, can be stained with feces. And blood. :frowning:
Try Lysol Concentrate, in the brown bottle.

Works at removing stains almost as well as bleach, and can be used in moderation with colored clothing.

Soaking overnight in a concentrated solution of nitric acid should take care of this very effectively.

More importantly, if they have been damp for that long, I’d expect that they have started to rot by now (especially if cotton, but even synthetics will degrade), and will fall apart if you try to clean them, or will be very fragile, and for the entire garment, not just the stained areas (moisture will wick up through the whole thing, and you do also have bacteria).

Throw them out–the container, too.

You got along without missing these clothes for a year? You don’t love them that much.

I dunno, you don’t see coliform bacteria screw themselves over for a goddamn percentage.

oxy clean will clean and sanitize.

Toss 'em, toss 'em, toss 'em. If they were that important, you wouldn’t have waited a year to clean them.