Washing machine usage in remote Aboriginal communities

Washing machine usage in remote Aboriginal communities Journal Article

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

  • Author(s): Lloyd, C.R.
  • Published: 1998
  • Volume: 22

Abstract: The use of washing machines was investigated in two remote Aboriginal communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara homelands. The aim was to look both at machine reliability and to investigate the health aspect of washing clothes. A total of 39 machines were inspected for wear and component reliability every three months over a one-year period. Of these, 10 machines were monitored in detail for water consumption, hours of use and cycles of operation. The machines monitored were Speed Queen model EA2011 (7 kg washing load) commercial units. The field survey results suggested a high rate of operation of the machines with an average of around 1,100 washing cycles per year (range 150 and 2,300 cycles per year). The results were compared with available figures for the average Australian household. A literature survey, to ascertain the health outcomes relating to washing clothes and bedding, confirmed that washing machines are efficient at removal of bacteria from clothes and bedding but suggested that recontamination of clothing after washing often negated the prior removal. High temperature washing (>60d̀C) appeared to be advantageous from a health perspective. With regards to larger organisms, while dust mites and body lice transmission between people would probably be decreased by washing clothes, scabies appeared to be mainly transmitted by body contact and thus transmission would be only marginally decreased by the use of washing machines.

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Suggested Citation
Lloyd, C.R., 1998, Washing machine usage in remote Aboriginal communities, Volume:22, Journal Article, viewed 19 September 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=12955.

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