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I'm mostly just venting but if I'm doing something wrong or someone has a suggestion on how I could better handle this situation I would appreciate it.


Following a recent fall my mother cannot walk on a swollen knee and we have been using disposable incontinence panties as it takes two people for a safe transfer until the knee can support enough of her weight to use the walker. I use a washcloth with a no rinse soap for perineal cleaning with every change, mixing the rinse in the half bath sink attached to Mom's bedroom. Following a bowel movement, I use baby wipes with aloe for the major cleaning, then a washcloth or two to finish up. The disposal stuff is placed in plastic grocery bags and tied shut, then thrown in the household trash that's taken out daily. The washcloths are placed in a small lidded trash can prepared with about a half gallon of a Lysol mopping strength solution. At the end of the day, I take the pail of soiled cloths to the laundry room, dump the contents into the laundry sink, rinse the cloths a bit before placing them in the washer for a extra pre-wash rinse and hot water wash. The laundry room sink, clothes washer and dish washer have 150 degree hot water; the rest of the house only has 118 degree hot water (installed a scald guard water mixer on the household hot water line).


My younger generation in-law says I shouldn't be using washable cloths at all because they cannot "really" be cleaned effectively in a private home. Using my washing machine, even with 150 degree water, "contaminates" the washer and makes everything else I wash contaminated too. Even using the household trash exposes her children to nasty bugs from the soiled disposable panties; apparently my mother's soiled panties are much worse than her children's soiled diapers which she disposed of in my household trash can without benefit of prior plastic bag encasement.


BTW: Now that she knows the laundry room sink has 150 degree hot water, that's an unacceptable burn risk to her children ages 6-13 who have never used the laundry room sink. The closest the kids have come to that sink is about 6 feet when getting drinks or ice cream out of the extra fridge I keep in the laundry room. The sink and a small counter are at the end of the room, you don't walk by it getting to anything else.


I responding by stating she needs to study up on household cleaning methods. Almost all bacteria and viruses are destroyed by exposure to 140 degree water, most only need soap. That before disposal diapers were available, people used cloth and cleaned them in hot soapy water for centuries - that boiling pot over a fire in the yard on laundry day was a reality for a long time. I still remember the "modern" water heater attachment to my great-grandmother's wood stove used to heat hot water for laundry and baths. (As a child I loved visits to my grandmother's childhood home, so fascinated by the old fashion farm setup in the house her grandfather built in 1873.)


In short I will be keeping my home and cleaning methods until someone can show me a factual article from a reputable organization that says I'm wrong. I'm sorry if that bothers other people, but my mother's care comes first and I am not going to discontinue what I consider to be proper washing and bed linen changes just because someone else has a different opinion.

The house my grandmother grew up in (built in 1873 by her grandfather) had plumping to send water from the kitchen sink away from the house, an out house, and a large cistern with a hand pump to transfer water into the kitchen sink and hot water heater attachment to the wood stove. Although in my childhood there was an electric pump, stove and fridge, the original setup was still there too, including the large galvanized bathtub. A wringer washing machine was still used by my great-aunts who lived in the old home-place.

My grandmother and mother would continue to use wringer washing machines decades after they had automatic washers because they were faster (fewer trips up and down those basement stairs). Both had basement laundry rooms with 2 large rinse tubs. Out of the wringer washer, into the first rinse, then into the second rinse (with fabric softener) and then out to the clothes line. They could rinse one load while the another load was washing and send it out to the line with a daughter/granddaughter... An hour usually completed the household laundry, then another hour that afternoon to gather from the line, fold and put away.
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My mother has some significant scars from a breech birth that have caused her problems for several years (skin becomes raw or cracks with tension and bleeds) and minor bladder control issues caused by bladder spasms from her spinal stenosis. Since she moved in with me a little over 3 years ago, we have focused on caring for this problem by using softer light incontinence pads immediately changed and vaseline. The PCP prescribed a cream years ago, but it doesn't seem to work as well as plain vaseline.

Although the wipes work well for most cleaning, the wetter washcloth seems to work better and require less pressure for a complete clean. I am afraid the incontinence panties will inflame her scars since she doesn't always seem to know when they are wet (short term memory is shot so I don't know if she "forgets" and/or the spinal stenosis has numbed sensation, certainly she has diminished sensation on portions of her hip, leg, and foot).

I don't want those scars to open up and be exposed to BM and possible infections so I clean with every change and reapply the vaseline. If she doesn't ask for a change sooner, I change the panty every 2.5 hours (sometimes it isn't wet yet). So it probably is overkill, but it's also working and I'm not tempted to try something different as long as that's the case.
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I think you’re doing way too much!

For bowel movement, wash behind w disposable wash cloth & wash with body wash/warm water in a basin . Always use A&D on behind after cleaning.

Pants if soiled rinse first in wash machine sink w hot water & then put in washing machine pre soak & double rinse & good soap like Tide .

🤗 hugs
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We had a wringer washer and mangle when I was a child. Then history repeated itself after I was married and we rented the upper floor of an old house. We were provided with a wringer washer in the dirt floored basement which could only be accessed by an outside staircase. It was a little nerve wracking negotiating that stair case with a large basket of laundry when it was icy or when it was minus 20 or 30. There were times I hand washed items and other times we had a diaper delivery service, I remember hanging diapers on the radiators to get them totally dry. As a young child I stayed at a farm for a week or two while mother had an appendectomy, and was bathed in a galvanized tub in the middle of the large warm kitchen. Re summer kitchens, my grandfather built a log cabin in the woods and added a summer kitchen, as the cabin was used mainly in the spring and summer. The chipmunks found their way in and would help themselves to the blueberries we had picked, or play tug or war over a piece of bread.
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LOL OldSailor. I can remember staying with my grandmother and bathing in the galvanized wash tub because she didn't have an indoor bathroom. She did have the well water piped to the house though, and a wringer washer kept out in the summer kitchen - anybody else remember those?
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I remember way back when that Mother had a sanitize function on the gas cook stove for diapers and other baby clothes. It was called a wash tub. Just one of the
small galvanized type.
Just hand wash the diapers, throw the water out the back door, refill the tub with bleach and water and boil the diapers. Of course it meant another trip to the well for drinking water.
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I really don't think the washclothes are necessary if using wipes. I used toilet paper as much as possible. I bought Huggie wipes. They are big and thick. I bought a trashcan about 18 in high that you use your foot to open and the lid extended over the sides. I lined it with a trashbag and put the wipes and Depends in it.
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You are doing exactly what did with cloth diapers 50 years ago. I think 3 or 4 doz diapers lasted me through three babies. Took off the diaper scraped the poop and dropped them into a bucket of cold water laced with bleach.At the end of the day emptied bucket into washer and ran a spin cycle then a rinse then a hot wash and usually hung them out to dry. Did not have a dryer in those days. Cleaned the baby with baby soap and water on designated wash cloth.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WOK YOU ARE DOING A FANTASTIC JOB
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Sadly CM, her MIL is deceased; they didn't get along all that well when she was living. Death and divorce have left me as the sole woman of my generation in our family's branch.
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Lovely, Golden! And if TNT plays her cards right, maybe she'll get all of the laundry and housework done while she puts her feet up with a dry Martini :)
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Offer to give her the opportunity to demonstrate hands-on exactly what she thinks you should be doing, Then when she has done it once, say you are a slow learner and ask her to do it again, For the demonstrations, have her bring the supplies she thinks you should be using and to dispose of things the way she thinks you should. You might get away with asking her to repeat a certain part of the process even once again,

This is a little tongue in cheek, but... I think you are doing magnificently. It is not her job to advise you how to care for your mother. If you can find some way to offer her "advice"about how to better care for her kids she might get the message.

"While we are talking about better ways to do things...". She may not like being criticized. I have found tit for tat sometimes works, but is not something I do often, Or you could consider her advice seriously and solemnly, then conclude to her that you are satisfied with the way you are doing things. If she keeps up say you have considered her advice and decided to keep doing things your way and you don't want to discuss it any more. if she still keeps up, change the subject - "Nice weather today. Are you taking the kids to the park?"

The uncalled for advice of the uninitiated is rarely useful or welcome.
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CM, my parents have a sanitize function on their machine
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:)

You put me in mind of my headhunting days, back when IT was steam-powered, when my boss was searching for a head of department for a very famous London store and stumbled over a lady who had no degree and no noticeable ego but who, nonetheless, was already doing exactly the job required for a direct competitor at a derisory salary. She was just rather good with computers, having taken to them and their possibilities like the proverbial duck to water, and - much, much rarer - she was very good at teaching other people to use them.

"I'm sure that's psoriasis," my boss said, struggling to find fault. "Do you think she won't handle the stress?" 🙄

Mind you. Since that assignment's client was in the habit of ringing up and pretending to be Mohamed al-Fayed - and how was I to know? - maybe she couldn't handle the stress, he certainly did nothing for my blood pressure. We didn't follow her career afterwards so I can't say. I hope she made a *mint* of money, that's all.

I bet, if you had a truth serum, that the young lady envies and admires you. When her memoirs come out you'll probably be in the index under 'early role models.' At the same time, you are the big tigress and she is the little tigress and...

If you can be kind without patronising her, that would be perfect. How? - no idea!

How does she get on with her actual mother in law?
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She's been in the family for 15 years now and basically I think she has a little bit of an inferiority complex. She always has something going on that makes her "special" (vegan, reusable diapers, homemade soap, running, concert trips, etc.) and she wants to be acknowledged as the smartest and the expert. She works in the IT field too and it really bothers her that I have a "senior" position (even though I am older and have more years in my career) and that I make quiet a bit more money than she does even though I don't have a masters and she does. It might not help that several years ago her husband (also in IT) emailed a technical problem that she had been working on for almost a week and I replied with the solution 11 minutes later...

Although she stated one of the reasons she was interested in my nephew was because he was smart (and could pass that down to her children), it's just her bad luck that he came from a family of smart people. We're middle class working people with farming, nursing, educator, and skilled trade backgrounds; my generation was the first where about half went to college beyond a very specific courses or a technical school. Most of us make A-Bs in school and a couple with dyslexia have been B-C students. Some of us are better at fixing stuff, some at building stuff, some at techie stuff; but no one is "the expert".

My nephew (her husband) had asked my opinion about something earlier so maybe that set it off or maybe it was her kids begging to stay overnight at my house. Just very surprised she picked this "issue". I would have expected some comment about my clean laundry setting around in baskets waiting to be sorted or put away. When I take stuff out of the dryer I hang up shirts/slacks/jeans/dresses and put stuff that goes in drawers (socks, underwear, shorts, sweatpants, etc) in baskets to fold later when I'm sitting down on the living room couch. I did ask her older children (12 & 13) to do me a favor and take the family bath basket of folded towels and washcloths and put everything where it belonged on the shelves. Maybe she doesn't like my mother's fall made her the center of the family's attention that day? My nephew helped me with Mom's transfers to get her into the living room and then back to her bedroom.

Beats me. I try to make my home welcoming to everyone who enters the door but I only cater to those that are young enough (or old enough) to need it.
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TNT, what got the burr in this girl's bustle in the first place? Is she nursing some other, related or unrelated grievance do you think?
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I have a front loading washer that locks when the cycle begins with a child lock out feature preventing the kids from ending the cycle early so I'm not worried about the kids getting burned from the clothes washer. The dishwasher doesn't include this kind of safety feature but is much more visible as the kitchen, living room and dinning room are one open space. The laundry room is right off the kitchen so I can see the kids going in there from most of the open space. There's an adventurous four year old that visits my home daily and I am very conscious of tracking of his movements through the house, particularly when I'm using the stove or dishwasher.

My favorite feature of my washing machine is that it detects the amount of laundry and automatically uses the right amount of water for that size load. Because of that feature I run a load of wash whenever I want and don't necessarily wait until a have a "load". I use a laundry sorter for normal laundry and often run a load first thing in the morning and usually dry them during lunch break. Pretty much the last thing I do every day is run a hot water load with white vinegar of all the soiled items. If the load completes before I go to bed, I may even start the dryer. If not, it's one of the first things I do the next morning. Keeping the washer empty means that most larger "soiled" loads go straight into the washer - just strip the bed and carry the linen straight to the washer.

If I thought I needed a commercial washer I would consider getting one, but I don't think I do. Numerous health and safety sites recommend using 130 degree wash water for sick bed and flood soiled items. Since I use 150 degree water, I think I have that covered. I don't use bleach much in laundry (because I rely on hot water for disinfection) but I do have a squeeze bottle that I use when cleaning sinks and counters throughout the house. Since the weather is getting colder soon I will start my really over the top daily ritual - taking a Clorox cleaning wipe to every light switch, door knob, and remote control in the house. I want the older kids to have their friends and cousins in the house, but I want to protect my mom and myself from the colds and flu they might carry from school too.
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You are doing a great job & your inlaw is absolutely ridiculous! And as an inlaw she ought to keep her mouth shut! You are doing just fine, I cloth diapered my youngest (born in 2012) and did pretty much the same thing-I rinsed soiled diapers in the laundry sink and kept everything in a trash can lined with a trash bag. I did the laundry every 2 days in HOT water and washed the trash can with bleach or Lysol. The sink was cleaned with bleach. Nobody ever got sick. If your inlaw doesn’t live in the house, she has no business giving her opinion especially since it’s not her mother or her house!
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There is a tear in my eye. Where would we be if God hadn't invented the worldwideweb? (through Mr Berners-Lee, whatever, I'm just trying to be grateful here...)

Here is a source you can brandish in front of DIL's nose. If she won't take the American Cleaning Institute's word for it, then I just don't know what.

https://www.cleaninginstitute.org/

What I was actually trying to find out was in what way US washing machines differ from European ones. "It's a washing machine. How many species can there be?" I thought. Well! - how naïve can I be!

But the reason I was looking for that, is that my personal practice is to put household and personal linen, which once upon a time would have included "soiled" hem-hem items, on A Boil Wash. I gather that this program is not standard on a US machine?

If there is no such thing on a US machine, are imported washing machines legal? Is it something you'd consider?

They are safe, using a cold fill or ordinary domestic hot water supply which is then heated to 95ºC = 203ºF; but you can't open the machine while it's in mid-cycle so there's no risk to even determined little ones. As for the clothes themselves, any cashmere socks which have accidentally got stuck inside a sheet will emerge just the right size for a hamster, it's true; but cotton and linen will actually appreciate the higher temperatures, and I never liked any of my polycotton enough to care if it didn't last forever.

Do you get through enough laundry to separate out the various types of wash load? If so, I really can't see what she's getting so aerated about.

As for 6+ year olds not being able to understand that the hot water from the hot tap comes out - ta-daa! - hot..?

Basically she's feeling icky and dissatisfied about not having her own kitchen and laundry her way, yes?
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I think you’re doing an amazing job! It sounds like a huge amount of work and I’d do pretty much the same. I’d use bleach rather than Lysol (I don’t like the smell of Lysol). I would politely tell the relatives that when they do the job they can do it their way. That’s how my sister and I deal with our different styles of cleaning/caregiving. Take care.
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Thank you! I'm using the same laundering process Mom taught me with the diapers we used for her first grandchild 39 years ago - except - I'm using the baby wipes instead of rinsing soiled diapers out in the toilet before putting them in the pail to soak.
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You might be interested to know that my mom's nursing home did not use disposable wipes, instead they had coloured towels and washcloths that were designated for incontinence care. Your in-laws could argue that this is just the NH being cheap (probably true!) but as far as I know mom never had any problems with diaper rash or acquired any infections from this practice.
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You are doing a grueling, thankless task that the younger folks simply can't fathom....I laugh at my daughter who will NOT use paper napkins, paper towels or paper plates b.c she "feels for the environment" but eats out 4-5 times a week and has no problem will all the paper trash that THAT incurs.

I'd suggest that the complainers come over and do one day's laundry and they will suddenly be singing a different song.

You are doing a perfect job with the "hazardous waste" issue. I used cloth diapers and never had a problem with cross contamination.
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Eyerishlass exactly wrote my opinion but much more eloquently--and politely.

As far as the hazard of hot water to your younger generation in-law's old-enough-to-know-better children, then why doesn't worry-wart just warn her children about it?

Finally, you're a very special and wonderful person to work so hard for your mother!
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I suggest you have your younger generation in-law come over 4-5 times a day and launder your mom's things the "right" way.

Never have I ever heard of anyone getting sick from bacteria from a washing machine. And bacteria that's been through the washing cycle? Ha!

Just keep doing what you're doing and disregard your in-law's cockamamie theories.
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