COVID 19 has affected the entire world, some more than others, however, one cannot rule the fact that it can affect anyone if right safety measures aren’t taken. As a mother or care taker, it is vital that all the right safety procedures are followed. But a question that pops up every time one steps outside is how to remove the possibility of virus from the clothes. Is washing enough or clothes needs to be disinfected as well? Frankly, it is not yet clear how long SARS-CoV-2 can survive on clothing but it is important to take care of this aspect, especially if you are living with someone who has a suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and those who have it themselves.
Is Cleaning & Disinfection The Same Thing?
If you believe that washing clothes will also disinfect it, then you are wrong, as both the things are different. Cleaning will only remove dust, dirt and germs from the surface. On the other hand, disinfection requires the use of chemicals that kill germs. After cleaning the clothes, disinfecting it can further reduce the risk of spreading infections.
Public health authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) has been repeatedly informing people that coronavirus infection spreads from person to person through indirect and direct contact with respiratory droplets that contain the virus. If clothes have respiratory droplets on them, they too could be a carrier of this disease.
So, after washing clothes, here’s how you can disinfect it.
Doing Laundry At Home
- Use a laundry soap or detergent, especially the one that contains bleach. However, be sure you read the washing instructions of the clothes that you are about to wash as some can get ruined with bleach. If possible, soak the clothes in a solution containing quaternary ammonium before washing them.
- Next, select the warmest water setting available. WHO guidelines recommend water temperature between 60–90°C (140–194°F). Here again, remember that high temperature can damage or shrink the clothes, so read the care labels prior to washing.
- Make sure your dry the clothes completely.
- You can also disinfect the laundry basket with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or one of these household disinfectants. Make sure your household disinfectant is approved by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- While washing kids clothes, wear hand gloves and wash your hands with warm water and soap once you remove the gloves. If you don’t have gloves, don’t worry. Wash your hands immediately after handling dirty clothing and avoid touching the face.
Doing Laundry At A Laundromat
When doing laundry in a public place, you have to be more careful and follow strict precautions.
- Focus on maintaining 6 foot distance from other people.
- Make sure you wear a face mask and cove your hands with disposable gloves.
- Carry a disinfecting solution and use it to disinfect the surface of washer and dryer.
- Fold the laundry at home.
- Once you reach home, immediately wash your hands before you fold the laundry.
- Don’t forget to disinfect the laundry basket and prefer using disposable laundry bags.