How can I handle washing my mom's clothes from her incontinence in a sanitary way?

9 answers | Last updated: Nov 17, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My 80 years old mom has incontinence (both), and I have no choice but to wash her stuff in my washer. I use the same washer/dryer for my own clothes. How can I handle this in a sanitary condition? I use a lot of disinfectant when I do her daily laundry, but am grossed out about washing my clothes in the same washer.


Expert Answers

Incontinence is common with the elderly, and  can be tricky to deal with. The first thing that comes to mind is why isn't she using diapers or pads? There are an array of products available for adults. If you aren't comfortable bringing the subject up --- and it is sensitive, ask your mom's doctor to have the discussion. It may help to hire a home health aide to at least introduce your mom to incontinence products. Many people are more comfortable accepting help from nonfamily members with personal issues. Once your mom tries diapers, she'll learn how easy and discreet they can be. She'll be more comfortable. If she resists, it's time for tough love. This is one area where it's really OK for you to put your foot down -- as much as you can. 

By the way, there are medical treatments for incontinence. The results depend on many factors, including the cause.  Please discuss what's happening with your mom's doctor to help find the best approach. Good luck.

 


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

When my mom became incontinent, she REFUSED to "wear a diaper at my age!"  Then we came up with the solution-we now refer to them as "pull-ups" and she's never complained since!


Hottybelle answered...

Actually all of this is for me. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I am on medication for this but it only helps off and on.


Kayla j answered...

The diapers don't help as the fecal incontinence is so bad it creeps up the back of them onto the skin and bottom of his shirt. It also runs out the front between the legs when he stands. I've even tried plastic pants over the diapers. The mess is killing me. It even gets down the seam in the back of the chair. I've had to throw clothes away as they were too horrible to scrape off and try to wash. I don't want to put them into my washing machine either.

This incontinence is part of autonomic nervous system neuropathy from diabetes. It comes and goes. When he has had it, I cannot cope and really have said "I'm done!" "I can't take one more clean up!" I also struggle with keeping him clean. It's a terrible job and has made me angry and resentful toward my husband. HELP!!!!


Tetris answered...

To Kayla J - You need to try other products. I've been taking care of my husband for 5 years, since his stroke he is completely paralyzed on the right side. I've occasionally had the problem you mention but as I've tried other brands, sizes etc. it is now less frequent. Good luck.


Tetris answered...

You need to try other products. I've been taking care of my husband for 5 years, since his stroke he is completely paralyzed on the right side. I've occasionally had the problem you mention but as I've tried other brands, sizes etc. it is now less frequent. Good luck.


Mrs. braxton answered...

My mother in law wears depends and has hospital mats to protect her bedding but she still has leaks into cloths and her mats need frequent washing too. I use hot water, laundry soap, and "lemon pine sol" and the cloths come out not smelling. I have tried other things including oxi-clean but pinesol seems to work. I use the same machine for my whole family and I feel the same way. All I can do is scrub solid waste by hand before putting in the washing machine or the machine will stink! Remember things can be made clean again with effort and care.


Jack steven answered...

I don't think there is any problem in cleaning your clothes in the same washer in which you use to wash your mom's Incontinence Pads. I hope you don't wash both of them together. If not then there is no problem at all.


A fellow caregiver answered...

The Original Pine sol helps a lot. I also use Clorox lemon beach and pine sol and let the water fill up halfway in the washer and then add the clothes and the regular detergent. It will not run the colors and I normally set water load to large if a small or medium load. I also wash in cold water. I rinse twice and on the 1st rinse I use regular detergent and more pine sol. Most of the clothes get clean but there will be one or two that need extra effort. Be sure to weed those out before putting in the dryer and try washing a 2nd time after a soaking in pine sol.