Americans are clean freaks, that’s a well known fact. I want to address this part of the American culture specifically, because it goes contrary to some of the behavioral changes that will become necessary as the climate and water crisis worsen. Health magazine just published an article on ‘The Germiest Places in America’ . I am not going anywhere after reading the article. In fact, I am not even going in my kitchen, or my bathroom for that matter. The world is a scary place they say, with germs lurking everywhere, about to ambush you, and we are told, ‘wash up people, and get ready to wage a bit of germ warfare of your own’.
To reduce the risk of germs form wet dirty laundry, we are told, 1) ‘Run your washer and dryer at 150 degrees . . .’, 2) ‘Transfer wet laundry to the dryer quickly so germs don’t multiply, and dry for at least 45 minutes’, 3) ‘ wash underwear separately’. Forget all the green tips about running washer warm or cold, minimizing number of loads, and air drying your laundry.
To combat germs in the bathtub, ‘Once a week, apply a disinfecting cleaner to the tub.”You need to actually scrub, then you need to wash the germs down the drain with water and dry the tub with a clean towel. ‘ How about showering instead of taking a bath?
This American habit of washing, cleaning, sanitizing, germ killing, is costing beaucoup precious water and energy. Other, just as civilized countries are not so concerned, and they seem to do just as well. Of course this is coming from someone who used to let her little children explore floor surfaces to their hearts’ content. I am French, after all.