We’ve been inundated with questions around whether coronavirus stays on your clothes, how to disinfect them, and whether Dirt'll do the job in the wash (spoiler - yeah it will).
Bearing in mind that this is a whole new world for everyone; we’ve attempted to seperate the fact from the fiction and pull together the best advice we’ve heard on how to handle your laundry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing) rather than through fomites, objects and materials.
However, the CDC notes that evidence suggests that the novel coronavirus could remain viable for hours to days on surfaces, which includes clothing.
So if you’ve been somewhere you think you could have been exposed to the virus, wash your clothes. It’s unlikely that they will transmit the disease as you’d still need a droplet to get in your mouth, eyes or nose, but it’s not impossible.
Washing on warm settings, such as 40 degrees, using a detergent that contains a surfactant (most do), and drying your clothes thoroughly is key to keeping your clothes up to this new level of hygiene we are all striving for.
Warm temperatures kill viruses. That’s why the flu tends to be a winter thing. 40 degrees is hot enough to do most of the work. While it is not impossible for a virus to survive exposure to 40 degree heat, it is extremely unlikely it will survive prolonged exposure to that temperature.
Using surfactants or soaps, help break apart the membrane that holds the virus together according to experts at Washington University.
And then drying your clothes thoroughly ensures ensures there’s no droplets left on the clothing to be transmitted anywhere.
If you want to step it up another level, you can always do that by adding some bleach in as a prewash. Bleach creates an extremely harsh environment, making it very difficult for a virus to survive. It may not be necessary, but it creates that one extra barrier if you’re feeling super exposed for any reason.
One other thing we would recommend, is to give you machine a wash and wipe. We’ve detailed out how best to do that here, but if you’re time poor; give your machine a good wipe down and then run a 90 degree cycle - it’ll get you out of trouble until you have more time for a thorough clean.
Image: Thomas Dumortier