Coronavirus on Clothes, and How to Wash Them

As we adjust to the new reality under the coronavirus pandemic, questions arise on how we should sanitize and wash our household items, including clothing and other fabrics that come in close contact with our skin.

While the specifics on how the coronavirus interacts with fabric are still being worked out, doctors and public health institutes can offer specific counsel for the topic at hand. Below are the ways you can keep your clothing and other household fabrics free of the coronavirus (with sources included):

1. Change into clean clothes when returning home and wash your outside clothes regularly
If you are commuting and reporting to work, change your clothes and wash them if they come in contact with other people or frequently touched surfaces before wearing them again.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to strip down before entering your home; it would suffice to just put your outside clothes in a separate bag for washing.

2Wash and dry at high temperature
While we advised not to wash clothes at higher temperatures in our previous blog post and for good reasons, new precautions must be taken at this time.

An effective way to kill the coronavirus on your clothes and other household fabrics is to wash and dry them on the hottest setting, as advised by Kelly Reynolds, a germ researcher and associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona.

For clothes and fabrics that cannot be washed and dried at high temperatures, steaming is also an option. To work, steamers take water to a boiling point (212 degrees F), which is more than enough to kill viruses according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

3. Wash with bleach
The CDC advises using regular bleach as a disinfectant for the coronavirus. For clothes, any detergent that has a bleaching agent will work. 

For clothes and fabrics that cannot be washed with regular bleach such as Cobalt Street garments, color-safe bleach such as Clorox Stain Remover is a good alternative, as it contains hydrogen peroxide (h2o2) which is capable of inactivating the virus within 1-30 minutes.

Aside from this guide, we recommend following this official guideline by the CDC on how to avoid being exposed to the virus, as it's the only known way to slow its spread.

We are now more dependent on one another than we have ever been. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and those around you. Together, we will beat this pandemic.