Should You Wash Your Clothes Anytime You Leave the House Now?

We already know we should be washing our hands constantly right now . . . but what about our clothes?  Do we need to wash them if we just run to the grocery store?  It turns out, probably not.  Here are five things to keep in mind when it comes to laundry during the coronavirus outbreak . . .

1.  Washing your hands is more important than obsessively washing your clothes.  You’re more likely to spread the virus by touching a solid, nonporous surface than fabric . . . so something like a keypad at the grocery store, not your clothes.

2.  Researchers aren’t totally sure how long the virus lasts on clothing.  But other coronaviruses generally survive better on artificial fibers, like polyester, versus cotton.

3.  The average person doesn’t need to wash their clothes every time they leave the house.  But people like healthcare workers, or someone living with a person who’s sick, need to be a LOT more careful.

4.  When you DO wash your clothes, hot water is better than cold, since coronaviruses tend to be sensitive to higher temperatures.  The heat of the dryer also helps kill viruses.  And always wash your hands after touching dirty laundry, which is a good idea even when there’s not a pandemic.

5.  If you’re washing your clothes at a laundromat, or in a community laundry room, try to go at a time when it’s not crowded.  And, again, it’s really about the SURFACES everyone is touching . . . things like the counter tops, the buttons on the machines, the handles on the machines, the change dispenser, and so on.


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