Nepal | August 08, 2020

Make sure your clothes are COVID-19 clean

Reena Chikanbanjar
Share Now:

Kathmandu

Hygiene is one of the most important precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. The majority of people have developed the habit of washing hands after returning home from the market, workplace or other public places. However, sometimes just washing your hands would not be enough as your clothes, shoes and hair can also track the virus into your home.

“In Nepal’s context, since COVID-19 has not become a huge public health problem, not everyone needs to panic about compulsorily washing their clothes each time they return home,” says public health specialist Prof Dr Sunil Kumar Joshi, who is also the Head of Department of Community Medicine, Kathmandu Medical College.

“Having said that, laundry hygiene along with personal hygiene and other safety measures need serious consideration if you are a healthcare provider, waste management worker or others working in the frontline coming in close contact with patients infected with COVID-19. Similarly, people who are residing in areas that have become hotspots or pocket areas of COVID-19 also have to be extra cautious about their hygiene including of their laundry if they go outside,” he cautions.

As per him, cleaning and disinfecting laundry depends on your degree of exposure to COVID-19. “If you think your clothes have been exposed to the virus, take them off safely as soon as you reach home, wash them using soap or detergent, creating foam, for at least one minute and dry them in sun after rinsing. Take precautions by wearing a mask and rubber gloves while washing,” he advises.

“If you wash your clothes in a washing machine, wear a mask when you put your contaminated clothes in the machine, wash your hands with soap and water after dealing with laundry, and also clean and disinfect the washing machine after use.”

When it comes to how long the virus can survive on clothes and fabrics, it is still unknown. However, since clothes would not only be made of fabric and since they may have metal or plastic parts like buttons and zippers, we have to clean our clothes properly. Researchers have found Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can live in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Dr Joshi says if there is little to no exposure to the virus on clothes, you can simply take off clothes and dry them in the sun for an hour. “If drying in the sun is not possible, pack those in disposable plastics until you do your laundry,” he says adding if you use clothes hampers to pile clothes, clean and disinfect the hampers after use.

As per Dr Joshi, maintaining physical distance while outside lessens the chances of clothes contracting the coronavirus which itself makes it less important to compulsorily wash your clothes each time you are out. He highlights the importance of maintaining physical distance (one metre), hand hygiene (frequently washing hand) and respiratory hygiene (covering mouth and nose with tissue paper, napkin, mask or elbow when coughing and sneezing) to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Attention to hair, beard, footwear

Your hair and beard can also catch the virus. “So pay attention to your hair and beard and keep them clean,” he suggests.

As the virus can travel home through and remain active on your shoes, Dr Joshi advises to keep worn pairs isolated when you get home, and you can wash them if they are washable.

Laundry hygiene made easy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to clean, disinfect laundry — clothing, towels, linens and other items:

  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
  • Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers.
  • Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Sevilla, Leverkusen cruise into Europa League quarter-finals

Five-times winners Sevilla made light work of AS Roma when first half goals from Sergio Reguilon and Youssef En-Nesyri gave them a 2-0 win over AS Roma and sent them into the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday. Sevilla's win, in a tie reduced to a single match played in Duisberg, Ge Read More...

Mexico, coronavirus outbreak;

Mexico's coronavirus death toll tops 50,000

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's health ministry on Thursday reported 6,590 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 819 fatalities, bringing the country's totals to 462,690 cases and 50,517 deaths. The virus is spreading quickly; just over two weeks ago, the health ministry reported 40,000 deaths. M Read More...

University of Washington forecasts 300,000 US COVID-19 deaths

WASHINGTON: Nearly 300,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by Dec. 1, University of Washington health experts forecast on Thursday, although they said 70,000 lives could be saved if people were scrupulous about wearing masks. The prediction by the university's widely cited Institute for Read More...

MoWCSC

Licence of child care home seized

Kathmandu, August 6 The National Child Rights Council, under the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, seized the licence of Kapan-based Care Child Orphanage following the rescue of 11 children sheltering there yesterday. Stating that the orphanage had violated the provisions in the Read More...

Covid-19 positive Province 2 home minister in home isolation

JANAKPURDHAM/KATHMANDU, AUGUST 6 Province 2 Internal Affairs and Law Minister Gyanendra Yadav has contracted COVID and has been staying in ‘isolation at his home as per the doctor’s advice’ since he tested positive for the virus’. Yadav, who is asymptomatic, has urged everyone who Read More...

Student enrolment remains uncertain

Kathmandu, August 6 Mainly private schools in the country have been running online classes. However, due to poor internet facility and frequent power cuts, online classes have not been effective in Nepal. Preparations to resume student enrolment since August 17 have been marred by increasin Read More...

Community spread feared in Siraha

Siraha, August 6 The spread of COVID-19 in the community has caused terror in Siraha of late. Just yesterday, four persons involved in different occupations tested positive for the virus here, according to District Health Office. Two of the four are health professionals of a polyclinic; one Read More...

VTM crunch hits Banke

Nepalgunj, August 6 The shortage of Viral Transport Medium used for collecting and transporting swab samples has hit the health offices in Banke. The local levels bought the VTMs and offered them to health offices as they did not have it. Mayor of Nepalgunj sub-metropolis Dhawal Shamsher Ra Read More...