Human Feces cleaning from clothing

I use Camden tablets to “sterilize” my glassware when making wine. But I never shat in my carboy.


There is very little chance that the clothing is in any condition to salvage, and the stresses of sanitizing them will likely do them in.

If I was assigned this as a job, I would go to an estate sale or a flea market, and buy an old pressure cooker and a large metal lidded pot.

Then I would don gloves, long plastic sleeves, a plastic apron, and an actual rated sealed facemask, pressure-cook the lot for at least 30 minutes, most likely an hour, and dump the water into a back corner of my yard, and dump the sodden lump into the pot. Then I’d use a sharpie to write “SEWAGE” on the pressure-cooker, and throw it away.

Then I’d soak the mess in the pot in a solution of peroxide bleach for an hour or so, then I’d write “SEWAGE” on the pot and dump it also.

Then I’d see if there was any way to mitigate the remaining stains, the mold-damp damage, the pressure-cooking damage and the bleach damage.

Yeah, I’d probably use something like Star San (phosphoric acid), myself. Again, I’ve never actually shat in my brewing equipment. :dubious:

I did walk in “gray water” at work, once - Chicago had such terrible rain storms many years ago that the toilet in my (ground floor) office suite began geysering. I ran around the suite and picked up any boxes of medical records off the floor, pulled up power strips off the floor/out of the water, unplugged anything near water, etc. Then I forwarded the phones to our main office, went home from work, threw out my shoes and literally washed my feet in heavily diluted bleach water. :stuck_out_tongue:

If the musty smell is engrained into the pours of the rubber maid container, it’s no big deal if I have to throw it out (but I’ll still try to clean it up 1st).

I was looking for the missing clothing all last winter, thought maybe I’d washed it & worn it at a later date & left it at someone else’s house. I missed having the pants to wear b/c they R really comfortable & a nice colour. They R a cotton/spandex type mix dress pants. The shirt worn was like a long sleeve dress top, like cotton T-shirt material.

Some of U say the clothing could be ruined to the point it would disintegrate when I wash it. I’d thought that may happen too, but would depend on how wet it was when I put the clothing in the bin. It is hard to think back to how damp the clothing still was then.

Keep cleaning suggestions coming b/c I’m going to several of UR suggestions on hand to try for cleaning & deodorizing the clothes. Lysol was suggested & a friend of mine claims that worked on a toddler’s bed sheets that had an old urine smell to them, another said oxyclean (I’ve already got Walmart’s in store brand of that, so I’ll use that too). As for all the heat treating suggestions, the house is kept at 70 degrees in winter & is warm enough that I often wear T-shirts & shorts in my house in winter. So is that not hot enough then to kill off the bacteria on the clothes in the close up rubber maid container?

I’m just looking to try to kill off the bacteria-w-out opening the container, then washing the clothing afterwards.

Has anyone got experience-w-using a solution called “back out” (often used on pet accidents & by mom’s on their baby’s cloth diapers to get out smells). I wonder if that would get any remaining odor out of the clothing after I’ve washed it. I know what some of U mean how damp clothes that have been washed at a later date tend to have a remaining musty smell to them. Maybe if that still happens after different types of treatments, Fabreezing them before wearing them would work.

Just a note: on this board the convention is to spell out words, not extensively use abbreviations like “UR” for “you are” and “b/c” for “because”.

Chlorine-based bleach used liberally on the container should be able to sanitize/clean it with no problem… other than your own intolerance to chlorine bleach. It’s your choice whether you want to toss it or have someone else sanitize it.

No, that’s actually pretty close to ideal temperatures for breeding the bacteria.

You’d need very high heat for an extended period. Hot enough to boil water for an hour, for example. The clothes should survive it, but depending on what the container is made out of there might issues.

Probably - such things works using enzymes that specifically target the organic molecules comprising such things as “urine smell”.

Lysol! Not Pinesol!

In reply to Vana’s PM.


You want a product you can just pour into the Rubbermaid container, put the lid back on, and then shake it up and let sit?


WHATEVER product you’d choose, the very FIRST step would be to remove everything from the container and take it to the furthest corner of your back yard and rinse it with the hose–and I’m not talking about just plopping the stuff on the ground and setting the hose on top and then going back into the house. You’d have to direct the hose stream on the stains and keep hosing them down, to dilute the crud, flipping the clothes over to get all sides.

First order for ANY type of stain is dilute!

If you aren’t willing to take days, if not weeks, to toiling over these clothes JUST to see if they are salvageable, then throw it all away.

There is no magic potion that you can dump into that container to “kill off the bacteria.”

You need to be considerably hotter than boiling (~120C) to remove bacteria, particularly if the bacteria have had the chance to form spores (which any spore forming bacteria, C. botulinum in particular, it is a common soil bacteria after all and may be present). The clothes themselves will have to be exposed to the boiling water too, wet heat is far more effective than dry heat… You need considerably higher temperatures (~160C) for dry heat to be effective against spores and it takes much longer, three or four times to be certain of killing everything.

The clothes are rotted. There are bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract that digest small amounts of fiber for you in your system. These bacteria exit the system via feces (mostly dead, but some are still living). Their job is to break down things like cellulose (cotton is made of cellulose). In the digestive tract, they can only digest a small amount of the fiber you eat before it makes it’s way out. But left to “digest” your clothes for a year…they are going to fall apart when you try to remove them.

You stated you have a compromised immune system. There is no way to sanitize what’s inside the container before opening it because the high heat needed would destroy the container. You said you can’t use bleach either, so mourn the loss of this outfit and move on. Really, it’s a lost cause.

This right here.

Rubbermaid plastic will not survive intact any kind of measures designed to sanitize what’s inside the sealed container. Cotton-blend clothes will have bacteria digesting the plant matter of the cotton. Just trash the whole container and contents, unopened.

If the Rubbermaid container survives whatever you do to the clothes inside, the bacteria and feces on the clothes inside SURVIVE ALSO.

There is NO WAY to just toss something into that container and have it magically kill all the nasties inside. The nasties inside (if they really are from raw sewage) are REALLY REALLY NASTY.

If you really are immunocompromised, I don’t understand how you can still be considering this. No single article of clothing is worth the possible damage from the truly nasty germs that are most likely festering inside there, waiting to be opened up and spore out into your house. You should be wincing as you read this possibility.

Again - there is NOTHING you can do to the clothes still in the plastic container that will make them sanitary.

In other news, By High Heat, we’re not talking about a warm house. We’re talking HOTTER THAN BOILING WATER. You really need better than 220 degrees, for at least half an hour, better a full hour. You will need a pressure-cooker to achieve this temperature for that long. Any plastic will MELT at that temperature - the container will not survive. Since the clothing is partly spandex, the clothing itself may not survive that temperature (the cotton will handle the heat just fine).

I’m with everyone else - please just write “sewage” on the plastic container, and toss it and the clothes inside (unopened) into the trash, and find yourself a new good outfit. I’m sorry for your loss, but this one’s toast.

Try searching on ebay for your clothes. Absurd as it might seem I’ve actually found things that I’ve loved that got too big for me when I lost weight, in smaller sizes. And regular old clothes are pretty inexpensive- I’ve gotten Target stuff for around $10 including shipping.

Actually, re-reading this, I’m guessing the clothing is probably covered in mold. And it might be all stretched out and stained as well.
Besides, to be blunt, even if they are salvagable, clothes can’t always last forever. They wear out, they go out of style, or you lose or gain weight and they don’t fit anymore.

HOWEVER, as the outfit you described sounds very basic, it shouldn’t be that hard to find something similiar.

I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone say anything about this little statement yet.

IMHO, Not worth it.

Going to the hospital because you’re immuno-compromised would be many times greater the cost of replacing those clothes.

Throw it away.

Plumbers get shit all over them all the time, they wash dry and wear and don’t get sick. Amazing!

They probably don’t have a compromised immune system.

They also wash their clothes regularly, and usually wear old ones when they go to work.

What I fail to get is why the top ended up in the container when it was not involved in the contamination.

They probably don’t let contaminated clothing fester in a container for a year.

Also good point made by another poster that they probably aren’t immunocompromised (if a plumber has that problem, he/she is probably in the wrong line of work).

Had the clothes been cleaned promptly, I’m quite sure regular laundering would have done the trick. After a year of stewing in a closed container, even if the fabric hasn’t rotted (I agree with those who think that’s probable), stains are most likely perma-set and I cannot imagine the smell in that container (possibly the crews of hoarding-related shows could tell me).

Moral of the story: if you really care about your belongings, TAKE CARE OF THEM, including prompt cleaning.

Having done some plumbing work, I’ll just say

  1. You wear clothes you don’t care about/have a personal attachment to
  2. I, at least, washed the work clothes in chlorine bleach for disinfectant purposes, and
  3. Sometimes you do, in fact, toss the clothes in the dumpster instead of trying to salvage a lost cause.

You also scrub your own self pretty good after doing most plumbing work.