While being aware of precautions is a wise way to remain proactive, sometimes too much information can be overwhelming to process, especially knowing that social media is inundated with unauthentic content. At a time when a mysteriously dangerous pandemic is raging all across the globe, certain guidelines should take precedence over everything else and these are proper ways to disinfect intimate items like your clothing, shoes, and gadgets.
Seeking information from experts that include doctors and epidemiologists regarding the viability of coronavirus germs on your clothes is much more plausible than relying on misinformation. Although specific research is still needed to understand how the virus interacts with clothes, many experts have come together to offer some guidance on how to manage cleaning your clothes.
How Long Can the Coronavirus Live on Clothing?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the coronavirus is spread through respiratory releases of an infected person. This means if any object comes into contact with an affected person’s cough or sneeze, it can become a medium that hosts the virus for a certain period of time. Public health specialist Carol Winner maintains that respiratory droplets can be retained in clothes. Even though eventually these droplets become inactive with the respiratory particles drying out, it is still important that clothes are disinfected thoroughly making sure they do not enter your body. According to her, certain conditions can favor the drying of the virus faster such as natural fibers. In addition, heat and humidity can also impact the virus’s viability, but then even in countries where higher temperatures are seen, people are still getting infected by the coronavirus.
Fabrics and Their Susceptibility to Coronavirus
Fabrics have varying traits, which can either augment or diminish the virus’s ability to stay activated. According to Robert Amler, a former CDC chief medical officer, the virus’s duration on fabric is determined by the material’s features, i.e., porous or non-porous. Porous materials are believed to absorb the virus and cause it to dry while non-porous smooth fabrics like leather can be easily wiped clean. Dr. Janette Nesheiwat adds that fabrics like polyester and spandex can offer prolonged viability to the virus as opposed to that of cotton fabrics.
Many scientists and researchers invested in learning more about the coronavirus have so far been able to learn about the virus’s ability with regards to cardboard, steel, copper, and plastic. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the coronaviruses can stay viable up to 2 or 3 days on plastic and stainless steel. Copper and cardboard can keep it active up to 24 hours and 4 hours respectively.
How to Manage Cleanliness of Your Clothing
When you talk about cleaning and disinfecting your clothes, the first question that pops up in your mind is “are laundromats safe to go to?”. According to health specialist Winner, laundromats are safe to go to, provided that the right precautions are taken (general CDC lines about social distancing, disinfecting the machines before using and avoiding touching stuff unnecessarily). For those who have washing and drying machines at home, they have less to worry about. But for those who need to go out to laundry their clothes, they must wash their hands and avoid touching their face. Winner explains the virus becomes active only by entering into your mouth, eyes, or nose. This means wearing gloves and a mask is necessary. But even then, the gloves are best discarded every little while as they can retain the germs.
The Detergents You Should Use
Rodney E. Rohde, who is a Clinical Laboratory Science Program professor at Texas State University, advises being mindful of the detergent you use. He recommends using detergents that contain bleach as the compound is harsh on viruses. The following detergents have been compiled by the American Chemistry Council to help combat viral pathogens.
Wash Clothes At Higher Temperature
Washing clothes at high temperatures increases the chance of the viruses drying out. Whenever washing clothes in a machine, set the temperature to the highest temperature possible that doesn’t damage the clothes. In addition, also run your dryers for extra time and with extra heat.
Hand-washing is Also Useful
For those of you who do not possess machines and want to avoid going out altogether, the option to hand wash your clothes is also feasible. However, you must make sure you’re washing your clothes at a temperature that is higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should wash your clothes as regularly as possible, especially if you’re someone who has to make rounds outside. This includes washing your coats and cleaning the soles of your shoes. You can also use anti-german clothing sprays to disinfect your clothing.
How to Wash a Sick Person’s Clothing?
Considering the virus’s ability to remain viable in clothes and pretty much most surfaces that come into touch with a sick person, it is important that you wash a sick family member’s clothing separately.
North Fort Myers Laundromart is currently open for business. A reminder for everyone to respect the 6′ social distancing and we do have a 20% curb drop off discount – just call us when you’re in the parking lot, we will come out, and get it.