Laundry in a time of COVID-19 -The Asian Age

The world is trembling. The coronavirus pandemic is taking a huge toll on our lives. Over a million has been affected by the virus, thousands have died, and the experts fear this situation will continue for a while.

Personal hygiene has improved exponentially since the outbreak, but there are questions regarding our everyday clothing.

Recent research indicates that the COVID-19 virus can live on various surfaces, including clothes, for hours, even days. Hence, it has raised the alarm on how to clean our clothes in this situation.

The virus primarily spreads through droplets of an infected person's cough or sneeze. Thus, washing hands frequently with soap and water or cleaning them thoroughly with hand rub is important.

But the virus can stay alive on various surfaces for a long period.

While cleaning surfaces are easier with alcohol wipes; clothes have multiple layers of fibres and therefore need a thorough cleaning for the sake of yourself and your family's health.

Cleaning clothes appropriately is particularly vital if you are in touch with a family member who needs to go to work, maybe in a hospital or a bank, or has symptoms or confirmed case of the coronavirus. Experts advise separating these clothes after every single use.

One should put all the clothes into a closed bin before washing. If they are exposed to any coronavirus patient, it is better to keep the clothes inside a disposable liner to wash them separately.

It is advised not to shake the bin or the clothes too much when transferring the clothes to the washing machine, which might disperse the virus in the air. Use proper hand gloves while handling the clothes. If hand gloves are not available, then work with your bare hands, and clean your hands and face properly afterwards.

While washing clothes, use the warmest water settings as heat kills germs. Bleach helps to stop viral microbes from spreading. Therefore, detergents containing bleach can be a very good option. Do not put too many clothes in the washing machine; the detergent or bleach may not reach every part of the cloth.

It is better to use a dryer to dry the clothes but if that is not an option, then hang the clothes under direct sunlight as the heat will inactivate the viral microbes. Moreover, dry fabrics are less likely to transfer any germ than wet ones.

All these instructions of washing clothes with such precautions can be followed by anyone, but mostly directed towards the healthcare providers who are in the frontline dealing with coronavirus patients and constantly are at risk of getting affected.

Thus, they are always in need of fresh clothes. Considering the health safety of the doctors and nurses working at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), leading consumer electronics and home appliance company Singer Bangladesh has recently donated their washing machines to wash the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

While the healthcare providers are risking their lives to save others, as a model citizen remember to stay at home and practice proper personal hygiene. Wash your hands properly after touching any surface or doing a chore. Limit yourself from touching your face, nose, and eyes and practice social distancing.