The Washing Machine Microbiome Project

Keeping people healthy through household hygiene is becoming increasingly important and cleaning of textiles plays a central role. Following current trends in sustainability and energy conservation, low-temperature washing is also becoming increasingly popular in German private households. However, these trends must be viewed critically, as up to 30% of all microorganisms isolated from washing machines are potentially pathogenic. During this project, the microbiome of washing machines and worn textiles, and changes due to washing processes will be investigated. The aim is to determine the composition of the microbiome (bacteria, fungi, viruses) of washing machines at different locations. Of particular interest is the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and/or ESBL (extended-spectrum beta-lactamase)-forming pathogens. Extensive metabolome analyses of microbial metabolites from all relevant sample materials and from the in-vitro models to be established will also be performed, mainly by GC- and LC-MS-based methods. More than 100 metabolites are quantified from individual samples to determine the relevant metabolic activities of the microorganisms.

  • Project duration
  • Research ThemeMedical Technologies

Project partners

Furtwangen University

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

Laborärzte Singen

University Gießen

University Wageningen


The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the program FHprofUnt 2016, FKZ 13FH197PX6



Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Markus EgertPhone 07720 307-4554


Egert Group


Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Hans-Peter DeignerPhone 07720 307-4232


Deigner Group