(NEW YORK) — Cleanliness has a huge hand in keeping germs at bay amid the coronavirus outbreak.
We already know the best ways to clean hard surfaces and even groceries but here are some helpful tips to make sure your laundry is getting properly disinfected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 can live on cardboard for 24 hours and plastic or metal surfaces for 72 hours, but data has yet to show exactly how that could translate to fabric and linens.
Here are some experts tips for three different laundry scenarios:
Doing Laundry at Home and Everyone Is Healthy
Use warm water when possible
The CDC says to “launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.”
Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping’s director of home appliances and cleaning products lab, told ABC News that people should try to use “the warmest water that’s safe for the fabric based on the care label recommendations.”
Don’t use extra soap
Although it may seem like it would make things cleaner, continue to use the proper amount for a regular load of laundry.
Don’t overload the washing machine
The clothes need to circulate freely to get as clean as possible during the wash.
Make sure clothes are fully dry
Dr. Todd Ellerin, an infectious disease expert at South Shore Health, told ABC News “the drying part is important as well.”
“It’s very likely that even the drying process is going to damage the virus or or kill the virus,” he explained.
Don’t share towels with people if you can avoid it
New Guidelines for Laundromats
Wash, dry and go
Coin Laundry Association CEO Brian Wallace told ABC News that his business is now asking customers “to load the washer and then take a walk [or] wait in their car.”
Fold clothes at home
Many laundromats, like Wallace’s business, have taped off the folding tables, asking customers to take their clean items home to finish their folding there.
Wear a mask and gloves
In many areas across the U.S. it is recommended that people wear a face covering in public and when handling laundry. The CDC recommends wearing gloves and washing hands after handling dirty clothes.
Doing Laundry at Home and Someone Is Sick
Use a disposable bag liner in the laundry bin, especially for bed linens
“Don’t shake them out,” Forte said of the dirty laundry. “Kind of just keep them contained — anything that’s on there could then become airborne. And that’s something you don’t want to have.”
There are no special soaps needed, according to the CDC, and a sick person’s laundry can still be washed with clothing from the rest of the healthy household.
Use gloves while handling laundry for someone who is sick
Other Tips and Takeaways
Dr. Ellerin said he believes that it’s unlikely the virus could live on garments that have been laundered.
“I don’t necessarily think the virus is living on clothes after you wash and dry them,” Ellerin said.
The CDC recommends in all cases that people thoroughly wash hands after handling any dirty laundry.
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