This is how to do your laundry during the coronavirus outbreak

Whether you’re leaving the house to exercise or spend time outdoors, or if you’re someone that works in a pharmacy, grocery store or in healthcare, you need to make sure you’re taking proper care to ensure your clothes are safe once you enter your home.

While there’s no definitive evidence regarding the lifespan on COVID-19 on clothes, the virus is known to cling to other materials. According to the National Institute of Health, the virus can live up to 24 hours on cardboard and even two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. While your clothes are mostly comprised of fabric, they also have details like metal zippers and buttons, where the coronavirus can linger for longer than on more porous materials.

Of course, if you work in a field where you’re forced to interact with people — say a grocery store or in healthcare — or if you’re the caretaker of a person that has tested positive for the coronavirus, you should take extra precautions. The CDC advises wearing disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry, which you should discard after use. If you have reusable gloves, make sure those are the designated gloves for disinfection and cleaning, and don’t use them for anything else around the house. Make sure to wash your hands after removing the gloves, too.

When doing your laundry, make sure to use the warmest appropriate water setting, then be sure to dry as thoroughly as possible. If you are the caretaker for an ill person, you can wash their dirty laundry in the same load. Make sure not to shake dirty clothes, as it can potentially disperse the virus through the air.

If you’re using a clothes hamper, the CDC advises to clean it using a mixture of bleach and water — specifically, five tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. If possible, line your hamper with disposable bag liners, which you should throw away after each use.

If you don’t have a washing machine at home and have to use the laundromat, make sure you wear gloves when touching the stainless steel and chrome handles and rolling baskets. Don’t worry about the coronavirus lingering inside the machine — the wash cycle will help stop it in its tracks.

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