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The COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for several hours, which means that the virus may be caught in the fibres of your clothing.

Even if you do not touch anything when you go outside, it’s an assumed possibility that you may walk through contaminated air and that the virus may be caught in the fibres of your clothing.

Medical professionals and healthcare workers remove all their clothing as soon as they get home, put it into the washing machine to be washed in very hot, soapy water and shower before doing anything else.

Similarly, retail staff, essential workers and those in regular contact with the public are advised to remove outer clothing when they get home, immediately launder the garments and wash or sanitise hands after doing so.

Should you do the same?

Dr Chris Rafael, Research & Development Manager at industrial chemical solutions provider Orlichem, says that there is merit in isolating your outer clothing from the rest of your house.

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He also recommends that you take off your shoes at the door and leave them outside. Better yet, give them a quick spray down with an alcohol-based spray (65% of your shoes can handle that).

Dr Rafael says that you may also consider a light jacket that can either be sprayed down with an alcohol spray for repeated use or that can be washed every time you venture out into public spaces.

Remember, when you are in public there is the risk that the virus can attach itself for a period of time to your outer coverings; if you are in the vicinity of a sneeze or cough for example,” Dr Rafael explains.

Most importantly the focus should remain on good hygiene, sanitising, not touching your face, and wearing a mask.

Hot washes are best

“When getting around to doing your laundry, it’s important to note that the virus tends to be susceptible to destruction at higher wash temperatures,” advises Dr Rafael.

He recommends setting your washing machine to run its cycle at above 60° in conjunction with a good, fully built detergent which will assist in destroying the virus membrane. 

Furthermore, hang your washing in the sun as UV rays also assist in deactivating virus particles.   

Following the prescribed safety, hygiene and sanitising measures, and with laundering protocols in place, it will all come out in the wash – the virus that is – ensuring that your laundry is COVID-19 -free.

Sources: Laundry & Textiles Consultancy Ltd (Newsletter), Dr Chris Rafael, Research & Development Manager, Orlichem and Dr Rowen van Eeden, Business Development Manager, Laundry and Hospitality, Orlichem.

For all the latest news about the coronavirus, click here.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.