The Truth About How Coronavirus Affects Your Laundry

The top 4 questions you need answered from the CDC regarding your laundry and the coronavirus.

Q: How long can Coronavirus live on your clothes?

The CDC says that “Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.” 

Right now there isn’t enough information on the exact time coronaviruses can live on fabric but if we look at other viruses such as influenza virus we know that they are able to live for up to 4 hours on soft fabrics such as clothes. 

Q: Should I change my clothes when I come home after being outside?

We recommend changing your clothes immediately when you come home and have some “home clothes” around that you can change into. The reason for this being you don’t want to spread germs that you’ve unknowingly picked up from being outside.

Q: How do I do my laundry if someone in my house or I get sick?

If someone in your household falls ill, you are able to wash their clothes with your own, according to the CDC, but do not shake the dirty laundry as particles from the laundry are able to spread. Wear protective gloves if possible while handling the laundry and dispose after each wash. If gloves are not available wash your hands after touching dirty laundry. If your washing machine has a sanitizing option, we recommend using it before and after each wash to kill the virus. The CDC recommends washing your clothes at the highest possible temperature for each wash in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation for your clothes. Don’t forget to wash the hamper or laundry bag the dirty laundry has been sitting in as well. If you are sharing towels and linens with other people or pets in your household we recommend washing them as often as possible. 

Even if you are not sick, we recommend washing at the very minimum towels and sheets that are being used frequently at home. Since mostly everyone is working from home the amount of clothing being worn is probably significantly less.

Q: What products should you use to do your laundry?

According to the CDC, these EPA registered disinfectants are safe to use against emerging enveloped viral pathogens.

For a complete list of EPA registered disinfectants click the link below.