The corona virus pandemic likely has you prepared to disinfect your household, gadgets, food, and every commonly touched surface in your living space. But have you disinfected your clothes yet?
Though we are advised to continue to stay at home even the quarantine has been lifted in some places or at least modified, some of us still need to leave our home to go to work or pick up some essentials in stores. We know that after going out, it is important to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. We also practice disinfecting travel items like phones, keys, and credit cards. But some of us may not be aware that it is also significant to disinfect the clothes that you wore outside because clothes are considered among the biggest carriers of germs and it remains a possibility that COVID-19 can live on fabric for several hours.
Disinfecting clothes is a good practice especially when you have been to a hospital or have had contact with people with suspicious symptoms.
The first thing you should do is removing your clothes immediately when you enter your home. Taking your clothes off right away will limit the spread of germs that may be on your clothes. Put them into the laundry basket. Don't worry, it is fine if they get mixed up with other clothes, and it is okay to wash them with other clothes.
You can wear disposable gloves when you are washing clothes. Remember to use the warmest appropriate water setting possible. Do not forget to wash your hands once you take the gloves off.
There are certain clothing materials that are not suitable for high temperatures. So if your clothes cannot be washed using hot water, use chemical disinfectants instead. Soak and disinfect clothes with chlorine containing bleach. Then turn them inside out to reduce chances of abrasion. But remember to never pour the chlorine bleach directly onto clothes in a washer or sink to avoid dissolving fibers. Use laundry detergent and bleach with the help of a dispenser.
Cleaning and disinfecting are two different things. Cleaning just removes dirt, grease, food residues, and bacteria. Disinfecting, on the other hand, kills viruses and parasites. It is important to clean thoroughly before disinfecting.
Always make sure to dry clothes using the washer-dryer for wet clothes can be a breeding ground for germs.
Steam cleaning your clothes can provide a gentle finish. It also acts as a sanitizer.
If the clothing material is not compatible with high temperatures, you can physically disinfect the clothes at 56 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Then adjust the dryer temperature to above 80 degrees Celsius and dry your clothes for 20 minutes.
If you prefer wearing a cloth mask, be sure to wash your cloth mask in your washing machine using laundry detergent regularly, depending on the frequency of use. So the more often you use your cloth mask, the more often you should wash it. If a washing cycle damages your cloth mask, change it to a new one and properly dispose the damaged mask.
If you do not have access to laundry facilities, you can hand wash your clothes at home with soap or detergent and the warmest appropriate water.
Some of the safety and cleaning guidelines we follow may be seen as "too extreme" by some people, but at the time of a pandemic, it is very important to always be cautious. It is better to be safe than sorry. Besides, disinfecting your clothes will not only keep you safe from corona virus but it will also give you peace of mind, knowing that your home is free from viruses and bacteria. Hopefully, these easy tips can be a good starting point for you to step up the cleaning!
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