The novel coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19 caused chaos, death, and doubt across countries around the globe. In the US alone, coronavirus has already affected approximately 36 million Americans since its onslaught.
COVID-19 spreads fast, and the virus can travel through respiratory droplets. Vaccination is needed to reach herd immunity. Until everyone is vaccinated, applying disease control and prevention measures are paramount. Some ways to prevent the virus include practicing social distancing, regular disinfection, and using masks in public areas.
The coronavirus is highly transmittable and can spread and survive on surfaces for hours or even days. You may be wondering how you can avoid bringing the virus at home. Besides, the coronavirus can cling onto clothes. Let us share some precautions you can apply as you do the laundry at home during this pandemic.
How To Do Your Laundry During The Pandemic
If you regularly disinfect your home, you are doing a great job at keeping the virus at bay in your premises. But you’ll never know if you or your clothes are contaminated with the virus once you go outside. When you get home, make it a habit to take off your shoes and quickly change to clean clothes. You can then apply these tips when you wash your dirty laundry.
Wash at the hottest temperature your clothes can permit
The COVID-19 virus cannot survive higher temperatures and higher humidity for long. Therefore, it is vital to wash clothes using hot water. You can use the warmest water setting the clothes can tolerate. Washing your laundry with water that has a temperature of around 158°F (70°C) for five minutes may kill the coronavirus.
In the new normal, you don’t just need to clean clothes. You also have to disinfect them. The coronavirus hates soap and water, but washing your clothes with bleach doubles your chances of removing the virus. Bleach is a powerful disinfectant that can kill viruses.
Some laundry detergents already contain bleach. Just make sure that you read the product’s label carefully. You have to remember that bleach is safe for whites. However, it may cause fading and discoloration on colored fabrics. Opt for color-safe disinfectants if you are going to launder darker clothes.
Machine dry your laundry
Using the dryer during this pandemic is a great idea. The viruses spread quicker on damp surfaces as compared to dry ones. The dryer is a better option compared to line drying as the hot air can make viruses inactive.
Regularly wash your cloth face mask and gloves (if you use one)
Wearing face masks and gloves lessens the risk of catching and spreading the COVID 19 virus. Facemasks get contaminated easily. They can easily catch germs and viruses and can spread them on your face if you reuse them without washing. If you are wearing a washable face mask or gloves, you have to wash them after one use.
Hot water is needed when washing reusable facemasks and gloves. It is also advisable that you dry them using the dryer.
On the other hand, always dispose of disposable face masks and gloves. They are one-time use and should never be reused.
After removing your masks or gloves, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also apply hand sanitizer if you accidentally touched your masks throughout the day.
How to Launder Clothes When Someone in Your Household Has COVID-19
If you are living with someone who has exposure to or has the COVID 19 virus, you have to take extra precautions. You have to regularly disinfect surfaces and isolate yourself temporarily from the person exposed or confirmed to have contracted the virus. Doing the laundry safely will also help prevent spreading the virus inside your household.
If you are already practicing the laundry measures mentioned above, it is alright to combine the contaminated clothes with the rest of the clothes when doing the laundry. The following extra steps are recommended though:
Use gloves and a mask
When dealing with contaminated items, you have to wear disposable gloves and a mask. The same goes when you are washing a shared laundry with a sick person. You should also be mindful not to touch your face during the process. When you are done loading the dirty clothes in the washing machine, you need to dispose of the gloves.
Store contaminated laundry in a separate hamper
You can wash your clothes together in the washing machine even if one household member is sick. However, it is not a good idea to store all household member’s clothing in one hamper. You have to separate the clothes. Especially if you are not washing them right away. You may also practice using hamper liners. Just make sure that if you are using washable liners, you also need to wash them during the wash cycle.
Do not shake contaminated laundry
Put the clothes into the washing machine gently. Avoid shaking them as viruses and bacteria may come flying around the room if you do so.
Wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterward
After loading the laundry into the washing machine and after drying the clothes, never forget to clean your hands. It’s a good practice to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This ensures that you don’t carry any virus with you around the house.
The COVID 19 has changed how we do even the most trivial household chores such as washing clothes. However, by carefully following the guides above, you can be sure that you are doing your best to prevent the spread of the virus among you and your loved ones at home.
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