In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, , the importance of physical distancing, hand washing, and disinfecting everyday items, such as clothes is constantly reemphasized around the Globe. The Virus can survive for hours on various surfaces including clothes, making laundry an important part of hygiene regime. Practising good hygiene and cleaning clothes after each use is critical to stop transmission of viruses from garments to people.

Cleaning and disinfecting are different processes. Cleaning involves removing dirt and germs from surfaces. While cleaning may lower the risk of spreading infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria, it does not kill them. Disinfection, on the other hand, requires the use of chemicals that kill germs. Disinfecting hard surfaces and textiles after cleaning them further reduces the risk of spreading infections.

A few basic guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 while doing laundry:

  • Wash clothes after each outing or use and  they should not be left in the laundry basket as virus could continue to sit on the fabric..
  • Launder items with laundry soap or household detergent preferably that contains bleach. Do read the product description and guidelines to avoid potentially ruining certain clothing items. Consider soaking clothes in a solution containing quaternary ammonium before washing them.
  • Choose the warmest available water setting, recommended water temperatures range between 60–90°C (140–194°F). Dry clothing completely.
  • Disinfect laundry baskets with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or one of these EPA approved household disinfectants.
  • Wash hands immediately after handling dirty clothing and avoid touching the face.

Only washing is not enough drying them plays an equally important role in disinfecting and sanitizing clothes.

  • Allow the clothes to dry thoroughly in sunlight
  • Hang clothes on coat hangers to speed up drying
  • Avoid exposure to mould spores by drying clothes in areas like bedrooms and the living room, if possible.
  • Maximise ventilation with open windows.

Always clean your washers after use as germs, bacteria and dirt gets accumulated at the bottom of the machine.

Clothes can be one of the biggest carriers of germs & viruses, therefore, necessary precautions must be taken in keeping them sanitized and disinfected by implementing safe practices. In our next article we will talk about how to choose an effective disinfectant.  So keep safe and keep reading…


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