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Concept: Washing


Abstract Objective: This study compared three model decontaminant solutions (distilled water, 10% distilled water and soap and methanol) for their ability to remove salicylic acid and aminophylline from an in vitro skin model. Materials and methods: Human abdominal skin was dosed with 20 µL of either [(14)C]-aminophylline or [(14)C]-salicylic acid on 1 cm(2) per skin. After each exposure time (5, 30 and 60 min post-dosing, respectively), surface skin was washed three times with each solution and tape stripped 10 times. Wash solutions, tape strips, receptor fluid and remaining skin were then analyzed with liquid scintillation counting to quantify the amount of salicylic acid and aminophylline. Results: Total mass balance recovery for each chemical at three time exposure points was between 73.6 and 101.5%, except at 60 min where aminophylline was only 42.5%. Majority of salicylic acid and aminophylline were recovered from washing solution when compared to stratum corneum, epidermis, dermis, surrounding skin and receptor fluid. Conclusion: The three tested decontaminates possessed similar effectiveness in removing lipophilic and hydrophilic chemicals from the skin. Due to diminishing decontamination efficacy with time, it is suggested that skin should be washed as soon as possible following contamination to minimize percutaneous penetration and the deleterious effects associated with skin reservoir content.

Concepts: Chemistry, Skin, Liquid, Epidermis, Shutter speed, Scintillation counter, Washing, WASH


Post-harvest treatments of pre-packaged salad leaves potentially cause l-ascorbate loss, but the mechanisms of ascorbate degradation remain incompletely understood, especially in planta. We explored the extent and pathways of ascorbate loss in variously washed and stored salad leaves. Ascorbate was assayed by 2,6-dichlorophenolindophenol titration, and pathways were monitored by (14)C-radiolabelling followed by high-voltage electrophoresis. All leaves tested showed ascorbate loss during storage: lettuce showed the greatest percentage loss, wild rocket the least. Spinach leaves were particularly prone to losing ascorbate during washing, especially with simultaneous mechanical agitation; however, washing in the presence of hypochlorite did not significantly increase ascorbate loss. In spinach, [(14)C]oxalate was the major product of [(14)C]ascorbate degradation, suggesting that commercial washing causes oxidative stress. This study highlights that ascorbate/dehydroascorbic acid are lost via the oxidative pathway during washing and post-harvest storage of salad leaves. Thus changes to washing procedures could potentially increase the post-harvest retention of ascorbate.

Concepts: Radical, Vitamin C, Storage, Lettuce, Leaf vegetable, Spinach, Washing, Laundry


Although facial cleanliness is part of the SAFE strategy for trachoma there is controversy over the reliability of measuring a clean face. A child’s face with no ocular and nasal discharge is clean and the endpoint of interest, regardless of the number of times it must be washed to achieve that endpoint. The issue of reliability rests on the reproducibility of graders to assess a clean face. We report the reproducibility of assessing a clean face in a field trial in Kongwa, Tanzania.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychometrics, Quantity, Hygiene, Face transplant, Tamil language, Cleanliness, Washing


Persons experiencing homelessness in the United States experience significant barriers to self-care and personal hygiene, including limited access to clean showers, laundry and hand washing facilities. While the obstacles to personal hygiene associated with homelessness may increase risk of infectious disease, hygiene-related behaviors among people experiencing homelessness has received limited attention. We conducted a cross-sectional study of individuals experiencing homelessness in Boston, MA (n = 194) to identify hygiene-related self-care practices and risk factors for reduced hygiene in this population. Most participants (72%) reported taking a daily shower. More than 60% reported hand washing with soap five or more times each day, and use of hand sanitizer was widespread (89% reported using sanitizer in the last week). A majority (86%) used a laundromat or laundry machine to wash clothing, while 14% reported washing clothing in the sink. Heavy drinking, injection drug use, and sleeping outdoors were identified as significant risk factors for reduced hygiene practices. People experiencing homelessness who also engage in these activities may be among the most difficult to reach for intervention, yet targeted efforts may decrease illness risk associated with reduced hygiene. Housed friends and family play a critical role in assisting homeless individuals maintain hygiene by providing showers and laundry facilities.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Person, Bathing, Hygiene, Homelessness, Hand washing, Cleanliness, Washing


In sexual assault cases, particularly those involving internal child sex trafficking (ICST), victims often hide their semen-stained clothing. This can result in a lag time of several months before the items are laundered and subsequently seized during a criminal investigation. Although it has been demonstrated previously that DNA can be recovered from clothing washed immediately after semen deposition, laundered items of clothing are not routinely examined in ICST cases, due to the assumption that the time delay and washing would result in no detectable DNA. The aim of this study was to examine whether viable DNA profiles could be recovered from laundered semen stains where there has been a significant lag time between semen deposition from one or more individuals and one or more washes of the stained clothing. Items of UK school uniform (T-shirts, trousers, tights) were stained with fresh semen (either from a single donor or a 1:1 mixture from two donors) and stored in a wardrobe for eight months. Stained and unstained items (socks) were then washed at 30°C or 60°C and with non-biological or biological detergent. DNA samples extracted from the semen-stained sites and from the unstained socks were quantified and profiled. High quantities of DNA, (6-18μg) matching the DNA profiles of the semen donors, were recovered from all semen-stained clothing that had been laundered once, irrespective of wash conditions. This quantity,and profile quality,did not decline significantly with multiple washes. The two donor semen samples yielded ∼10-fold more DNA from the T-shirts than from the trousers. This disparity resulted in the T-shirts yielding a ∼1:1 mixture of DNA from the two donors, whereas the trousers yielded a major DNA profile matching only that of the second donor. The quantities of DNA recovered from the unstained socks were an order of magnitude lower, with most of the DNA being attributable to the donor of the semen on the stained clothing within the same wash, demonstrating the transfer of semen-derived DNA among items of clothing in the washing machine. This study demonstrates that complete DNA profiles can be obtained from laundered semen stains on school uniform-type clothing, with an eight-month lag time between semen deposition and laundering, despite multiple washes and stains from two semen donors. These data emphasise the need to recover and examine the clothing of victims for semen and DNA evidence, even if the clothing has been stored for several months or washed multiple times since the sexual offence took place.

Concepts: DNA, Human sexual behavior, Human trafficking, DNA profiling, Clothing, Washing, WASH, Laundry


Microplastic fibers make up a large proportion of microplastics found in the environment, especially in urban areas. There is good reason to consider synthetic textiles a major source of microplastic fibers and it will not diminish since the use of synthetic fabrics, especially polyester, continues to increase. In this study we provide quantitative data regarding the size and mass of microplastic fibers released from synthetic (polyester) textiles during simulated home washing under controlled laboratory conditions. Consideration of fabric structure, washing conditions (use of detergents, temperature, wash duration, sequential washings) allowed us to study the propensity of fiber shedding in a mechanistic way. Thousands of individual fibers were measured (number, length) from each wash solution to provide a robust data set on which to draw conclusions. Among all the variables tested, the use of detergent appeared to affect the total mass of fibers released the most, yet the detergent composition (liquid or powder) or overdosing of detergent did not significantly influence microplastic release. Despite different release quantities due to the addition of a surfactant (approximately 0.025 and 0.1 mg fibers/g textile washed, without and with detergent, respectively), the overall microplastic fiber length profile remained similar regardless of wash condition or fabric structure, with the vast majority of fibers ranging between 100 m and 800 m in length irrespective of wash cycle number. This indicates that the fiber staple length and/or debris encapsulated inside the fabric from the yarn spinning could be directly responsible for releasing stray fibers. This study serves as a first look towards understanding the physical properties of the textile itself to better understand the mechanisms of fiber shedding in the context of microplastic fiber release into laundry wash water.

Concepts: Fiber, Textile, Yarn, Silk, Detergent, Aramid, Washing, WASH


European legislation has banned the preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI) from inclusion in leave-on cosmetics. However, the risk for allergic reactions depends on exposure. The aim of this study was to determine the risk of MI in laundry detergents for household machine washing.

Concepts: Allergy, Washing, Laundry


For centuries people have washed away their guilt by washing their hands. Do people need to wash their own hands, or is it enough to watch other people wash their hands? To induce guilt, we had participants write about a past wrong they had committed. Next, they washed their hands, watched a washing-hands video, or watched a typing-hands video. After the study was over, participants could help a Ph.D. student complete her dissertation by taking some questionnaires home and returning them within 3 weeks. Results showed that guilt and helping behavior were lowest among participants who washed their hands, followed by participants who watched a washing-hands video, followed by participants who watched a typing-hands video. Guilt mediated the effects of cleansing on helping. These findings suggest that washing one’s own hands, or even watching someone else wash their hands, can wash away one’s guilt and lead to less helpful behavior.

Concepts: Guilt, Washing, WASH


Safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are protective against diarrhoeal disease; a leading cause of child mortality. The main objective was an updated assessment of the impact of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) on childhood diarrhoeal disease.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Death, Hygiene, Cleanliness, Washing


Face cleanliness is a core component of the SAFE (Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvements) strategy for trachoma control. Understanding knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to face washing may be helpful for designing effective interventions for improving facial cleanliness.

Concepts: Improve, Understanding, Knowledge, Hygiene, Cleanliness, Washing, WASH