As the Coronavirus dominates headlines and governments roll out various control measures ranging from quarantining to social distancing, you’re likely trying to find out all you can do to help limit the spread of the virus.
In addition to diligently washing your hands and avoiding big gatherings, it turns out that washing your clothes and linen can also make a difference.
A new study by The New England Medical Journal confirms that the virus can last in the air for up to three hours, on cardboard for 24 hours, and plastic and steel for two to three days, it’s become even more important to wash your clothes thoroughly. This means ensuring that anything you wear outside gets put straight in the wash and leaving shoes at the door.
While soft surfaces such as clothes, towels and duvets have a much lower risk of spreading the virus than hard surfaces there is still a lot that is unknown about the virus’ survivability, so it’s better to put these measures into practice now, particularly if you think you may have come in contact with someone who might be infected.
Harvard Health advises washing your hands as soon as you get home, changing into ‘home clothes’ and putting any clothing you’ve worn outdoors on a hot wash (preferably 60 degrees). That’s right, if you’re a religious ‘cold wash’ person, experts recommend swapping it for the higher temps.
In addition to making sure you put enough soap detergent into the machine, you should avoid shaking clothes to minimise the spread of germs in the air. Don’t forget to wash your hands as soon as you’ve put the wash on and once the cycle is complete leave clothes inside to air dry if you don’t have a dryer.
If you’re sharing a house with someone who is unwell, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that it’s best to handle all bed linen, towels and clothing wearing latex gloves and, if none are available, thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
Although it’s easy to become consumed by anxiety and start overthinking about how many things you touch like door handles and shopping baskets, we hope these washing practices will help ease your peace of mind and keep you clean and safe during these uncertain times.
Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk