In light of the ongoing pandemic, the emphasis and encouragement of cleaning and disinfecting have been announced and reminded by health organizations from time to time. Health organizations worldwide continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing, proper handwashing, and disinfecting of items that are used every day, such as clothes.
However, there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
When you clean your clothes, you are merely removing dirt and germs from their surface. Meanwhile, disinfection needs the use of chemicals to eliminate the germs. Although washing the clothes and items can lower the risk of spreading infectious agents, it will not kill them. That’s why hard surfaces have to be disinfected after cleaning to reduce further the risk of spreading infections.
Experts have reported that the virus can remain infectious on clothes for less than two days.
How to Sanitize Your Clothes?
Here are a few basic things you have to follow in sanitizing your clothes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
When doing laundry at home:
- Launder your clothes with laundry soap or detergent. Using a laundry detergent that contains bleach is recommended. However, make sure to read the wash label instruction of your clothes to make sure you will not damage your clothes. You can consider soaking the clothes in a solution or disinfectants that contains quaternary ammonium.
- Choose the warmest available water setting. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests to use water temperatures between 60-90 degree celsius or 140 to 194 degree Farenheit. However, you need to be careful with this step because it might damage or shrink your delicate clothes. Again, read the care labels of your clothes.
- Dry clothes with the sun’s heat. It will help eliminate the bacteria and germs on its surface. It is a better option than drying your clothes in a dryer machine. Remember not to dry your clothes directly under the sun to avoid discoloration.
- When handling the laundry basket, do not keep the basket to your body.
- Always disinfect the laundry baskets after laundry with household dinfectants or solutions with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite.
- After handling the dirty clothes,wash your hands immediately and avoid touching your face.
When doing laundry at a laundromat:
Not all owns a washing and drying machine in their home. Although the health officials and government emphasized not to go out of the house, it is a necessity to wash our dirty clothes. Aside from the guidelines above, follow these additional precautions. Since you are doing laundry in a public place:
- Maintain 2-meter or 6-feet distance from other people. CDC recommends the minimum distance length from other people to avoid transmission.
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty clothes and public surfaces. Avoid touching the face.
- Disinfect the surfaces of the washer and dryer.
- Fold the laundry at home, not at the laundromat.
- Disinfect the laundry basket immediately once you got home. But health officials recommend to use disposable laundry bags to reduce the risk.
Hiring a laundry service
If you do not own a washing and drying machine but you are hesitant to go out of the house, you can hire a laundry service to pickup and deliver the laundry right at your doorstep. It is an advantage for your part because you do not have to handle your dirty laundry and you do not have to go out to do the laundry. You are reducing your exposure from the virus.
Laundry experts know what to do with your laundry. They are trained to sanitize your clothes in a proper way. You do not have to worry in this aspect. However, you still have some precautioanry measures to do when interacting with their staff when they pickup or deliver your clothes. Ask them to drop off your laundry at your doorstep and wait for them to leave. Moreover, to avoid interaction, go cashless. Pay via card or online payment.
Although the germs and bacteria is not visible to the eyes, it is important to sanitize clothes, especially in the time of pandemic. As current research suggests that the virus cannot withstand temperatures at above 158 degree Farenheit or 70 degree Celsius, use hot water. You can use bleach or other household disinfectant to inactive viruses.
However, it is important to take precautionary measures in handling them because it might cause burns and skin irritation on your part. Moreover, it may cause damage to your clothing. Thus, it is important to check the wash label instructions of your clothes. Lastly, take precautionary measures when doing laundry at public places or hiring laundry services to do your laundry.