Properly Washing Clothing During COVID-19

Properly Washing Clothing During COVID-19

Properly Washing Clothing During COVID-19

A lot may be going through your mind during this time, especially when it comes to prevention and protection of yourself, and your loved ones. For those who must continue to leave their home, you may wonder how to properly clean your clothing upon returning home. And for those of you who must use a washer and dryer outside of the home, you may also wonder what proper precautions to take when using public machines, either in your complex or at a Laundromat. We will answer these questions for you today.

How long can COVID-19 live on clothing?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is typically transmitted via respiratory droplets, by an infected person either coughing or sneezing. However, the CDC notes that the virus may remain viable for days on various materials, including clothing and metals, like clothing hardware (i.e. zippers, buttons, etc). Of course, it may also depend on the type of fabric, as some are more porous than others. According to Robert Amler, Dean of School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College, and former CDC chief medical officer, told HuffPost, “Some researchers believe the fibers in porous material catch the virus particles, dry them out and break them apart… Smooth surfaces like leather and vinyl can be wiped clean.”

Family and emergency doctor, Dr. Jeanette Nesheiwat suggests that polyester and spandex-like materials (i.e. leggings, undergarments, etc.) may retain germs longer than breathable cotton-based fabric. “Polyester spandex-like material may retain germs longer than cotton-based fabrics, but all types of fabrics can be contaminated,” Nesheiwat said. In addition, environmental conditions, like temperature and humidity may also play a role in viability of the virus on clothing. As far as the frequency of washing your clothes is concerned, she recommends that you should “change your clothes and wash them any time others have touched them or you have been in large group gatherings.” Either way, it’s important to be safe and properly clean your clothing.

How safe is it to use Community Washing Machines and Dryers, including the Laundromat? How about Handwashing Clothing?

For those who do not have access to a laundry machine and dryer in their home, community machines are a vital necessity. When using any communal area, including the Laundromat, ensure you are practicing CDC guidelines such as maintaining physical distancing of at least six feet from other people, and constantly wash your hands. If possible, wear gloves and wipe down the machine(s) you are going to use with a disinfectant prior to inserting your clothing. According to Dr. Georgine Nanos, “Yes, it is safe to use [a shared laundry machine] right now because the virus is killed by washing your clothes over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The same goes for handwashing. She also said, “the more challenging issue is going to be the social distancing and contact with potentially contaminated surfaces and people in the Laundromat. Not the laundry itself.”

Ideal Temperature for Washing

When it comes time to washing clothes, there are specific guidelines you’ll want to follow in order to help kill the virus. First, check to see how much heat your clothing can handle, without potentially damaging them. No one needs extra stress from ruined clothes. If your clothing allows for it, use the warmest water setting you have, and dry your clothes with extra time and a higher heat setting in the dryer. The extra heat and time will likely inactivate the virus.

San Diego – Let us take care of your laundry needs!

Self-isolating, or quarantined? Please note that Magic Touch Cleaners can come to you at no extra charge. With mutually arranged safe drop off and pick up zones to give you peace of mind. We can individually select a solution with each customer. Our large capacity washers and dryers can handle your biggest and bulkiest household items. Comforters, blankets, duvet, bed linens, pillows, area rugs and seat cushions. We also offer laundry wash and fold services for anyone without access to laundry facilities. Together we will get through this. Stay Clean. Stay Healthy.

Author: Christina P. Kantzavelos