Will Laundry Detergent Kill the Virus?

As I am in the fabric industry, I have been receiving many questions on how to disinfect fabric materials, including clothing. COVID-19 is a new virus, so experts and scientists are still trying to figure out how many days and hours this virus lives on surfaces, but here is what scientists from medical practices are advising: The duration of the virus depends on the fabric, as some materials are more porous than others. “Some researchers believe that fibers with porous material catch the virus particles, dry them out and break them apart”, but others say “Smooth surfaces like leather and vinyl can be wiped clean”. For example, polyester and spandex-like material may retain germs longer than breathable cotton-based fabrics, making it important to wash leggings, dresses and other polyester based fabrics more thoroughly.

Another tip is to wash your clothing immediately, right after you have been in public spaces (to shop for life essential products, still have to come in for work, etc), since clothing material can retain and transfer the virus if it becomes contaminated. CDC guidelines also note that the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces, including clothing.

Here are a few guidelines on how to kill the virus from your clothing via washing: Make sure to use the hot water setting on your washing machine and giving your clothes some extra time and heat in the dyer. Also, it is recommended that you wash your clothes in detergents that contain a bleach compound, because viruses do not do well in this type of harsh environment. If you need to hand wash your clothing, make sure the water temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s all for today. Please be safe out there. We’re in this together!

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