So You’ve Had To Go Out… What Do You Do With Your Clothes Now?
As we enter week 2 of the movement control order, you might be itching to step out into the world, if only to do groceries. However, unless you really, really have to – don’t go out. The movement control order is in place for a reason – we’re all working to curb the spread of the virus. And if you really do have to go out to get essentials that cannot otherwise be delivered to you, there are tonnes of precautions to take into account. That’s because, as researchers have found, this specific strain of the coronavirus (dubbed COVID-19) can live on surfaces for hours on end. A recent study found that the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. And if you absolutely have to go out the steps to take once you get home are just as important. The basic steps like washing your hands for two happy birthdays’ and disinfecting your phone and keys are second nature but what about your “outside clothes”?
1. Immediately dunk them in hot water
Put on some gloves, grab a pail and immediately dunk your clothes in hot water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests says that washing clothing items using the warmest appropriate water setting (ideally at a temperature of at least 75 degrees) will be able to kill the virus. Avoid shaking your clothes to keep germs from spreading. If you have a dryer at your disposal, even better! As for hanging your clothes outside, make sure it’s in the sun! It’s okay to hang your clothes outside because, the virus “lives in large droplets of secretions, so in a sneeze, for instance, it’s going to remain suspended in the air for some time, but they will fall to the ground”, making it safer than normal airborne viruses that take longer to fall and have an increased chance of moving through the air.
2. Use strong cleaning agents
There is a list of cleaning agents that have been approved for use and said to be effective against the virus. Don’t worry if you do not have the specific brand of product on the list, something similar would do (i.e. bleach, clorox, etc.). Any cleaner with at least 70% alcohol can also be used or, honestly, a combination of soap, water and some good scrubbing. However, be aware that vinegar and baking soda are not enough – these are not guaranteed to kill the virus.
3. Clean everything else.
If you used your hands to wash your clothes, use disinfectant wipes or hand sanitiser after. If you happened to mix your outside clothes with your inside clothes in a laundry basket, wipe down that too. If you touched the door handle as you were coming in, remember to wipe that down too.
While this might all seem a bit much, it is important to ensure that you are constantly cleaning your surfaces (even if you are 1000% confident you will not touch your face). If anything, simply to keep yourself and the people around you safe. Do it for the people you love, and we will all get through this together.