Assuming that you wear clothes, you may have been wondering how long the COVID-19 coronavirus may stay on your various garments. After all, clothing is what typically keeps many of your body parts away from everything else. The best thing is you can always wash the newly purchased garments first and the wear it.
The virus needs some moisture to survive. Without it, the virus can quickly dry up and no longer be viable. So should you assume that the virus can survive on your clothes for up to 24 hours? Maybe. Perhaps.Keep in mind that clothes aren’t necessarily all fabric. They may have metal or plastic parts like buttons or clasps. That’s certainly the case if your clothes have giant plastic windows on them. In theory, the virus could survive longer on less absorbent portions of your clothes.
Then there’s the question of what may happen if your clothes get and stay wet. This may be because of rain, sweat, or excessive tears from the fact that you bought clothes with giant plastic windows on them. If your clothes don’t dry quickly, could they harbor viruses for longer periods of time?
There haven’t been enough studies to tell for sure how long the virus may linger on different articles of clothing. So it’s probably best to take proper precautions if you think that your clothes have been exposed to the virus.
Keep in mind that if you’ve spent the past few days at home with no one else but your hole-filled undergarments, your clothes in all likelihood have not been exposed to the SARS-CoV2. Similarly, if you’ve maintained good social distancing while outside and not contacted anything that could be contaminated, chances are your clothes have not been contaminated.
Contamination could occur if either someone who is contagious or a contaminated object touches your clothes. A contagious person coughing, sneezing, or panting close enough to your clothes could also put your clothes at risk. This may be an issue if you are someone who regularly comes into contact with people with COVID-19.
If you suspect contamination, take off your clothes as soon you can after the exposure. If the exposure occurred in a grocery store, do not do this immediately, as this may cause additional problems. Instead, wait until you are actually in a position to legally take off your clothes, such as when you reach your home.
When taking off your clothes, try not to touch your face or contaminate other things with the clothes. This is not the time to touch your finger to your lip to look sultry while undressing. After they are off your body, place your clothes in a safe location where they can’t potentially contaminate other things.
Whenever handling any clothes that may have the virus, whether they are your clothes or someone else’s, such as someone whom you know has COVID-19, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for handling at-risk clothing. Wear disposable gloves, if available, and toss them, the gloves and not the clothing, immediately after use. If you only have non-disposable gloves, keep them dedicated to situations where you are touching or disinfecting things that may have the coronavirus. Don’t use them subsequently for anything else like cooking or doing face palms. If you have no gloves readily available, keep your hands away from your gigantic face while handling the laundry, and wash your hands thoroughly immediately after touching the laundry.
The CDC also recommends against shaking potentially contaminated laundry, which could spray the virus and other lovely little things into the air. If you have the urge to shake something, shake your booty instead. One exception, don’t shake your booty if you are wearing pants that may be contaminated.
Be sure to disinfect or safely dispose of anything the laundry may have in turn contaminated. If this happens to be your booty, take a shower instead. Do not put chemical disinfectants that are meant for objects on or in your body in any way.
Once the suspect clothes are in the washing machine, set the water temperature to the warmest that the clothes can handle. Use appropriate amounts of laundry detergent. Otherwise, you are simply wetting and spinning you clothes, sort of like putting them on a merry-go-round in the rain. Laundry detergent should be able to disrupt the virus’s structure, so it should be fine to wash other clothes with the potentially contaminated ones. Once the washing is done, dry your clothes completely, which can serve as an additional way of disrupting the virus.
All of this may be more challenging if you don’t have your own washing machine and dryer. If you must go to a laundromat, be careful about what you and your clothes touch. If possible disinfect all surfaces and objects that you may contact, such as any laundry carts, washer and dryer buttons and handles, and tables used for folding laundry. Make sure that you stay at least six feet away from others.