This is how you should be washing your clothing and bedding in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic
The inconvenience of doing laundry has piled itself atop our already overflowing personal hygiene 'To Do' lists.
From washing our hands even after wrapping our own fingers together to cleaning/sanitising surfaces with each completed task, the mandate to remain germ-free has never been more urgent, although some people have now been skipping showers.
To each their own.
Okay, but on days when you have showered (hopefully all the days) to go purchase a few grocery store items and you probably crank it up a notch by wearing eyeliner and moderately ironed 'outside' clothes, do you throw that outfit straight into your laundry basket or do you hang it up again, provided it's clean?
I ask this question because it has been said that the virus lives on clothes too. But for how long?
A GP and Medical Director at MyHealthcareClinic, Dr Akash Patel, spoke to Mirror UK and explained that the "official length of time the virus can live on fabrics is still unknown."
Not so reassuring, now is it?
But fret not - too much - because he also said the following; "Preliminary research has suggested the virus can survive longer on harder surfaces like plastic and metal, this could be from a few hours to several days but no clear research on fabrics like clothing.
"However it is likely that the virus will not survive as long on soft surfaces."
Soft surfaces being clothes, but one also has to then ask if faux leather is likely to hold the virus for longer given that this synthetic textile is typically made of Polyurethane or a PVC plastic coating?
Again, there's no conclusive research on clothing textiles and the Covid-19 virus.
But if you want to quell any potential sense of panic for yourself, perhaps leave those trendy faux leather items at home and swing on a swanky cotton blazer instead. I mean, you might as well make a style statement while you're out there for a whopping 30 minutes at a time.
Anyway, Dr Akash did provide laundry tips for those who might be handling the washing of someone who may have been exposed to the virus. This is handy advice for regular laundry washing that you'll be doing during the coronavirus outbreak too. Oh, and we hope you're washing your fabric masks too.
Drench your drip... in hot water
"If you are handling dirty laundry from a person who is confirmed or suspected to have coronavirus, you should wear disposable gloves if possible, if not - please wash your hands appropriately after handling their clothing before you touch your face or other surfaces.
"It is also advised to avoid shaking their clothing to minimise risk of dispersing the virus which may be on their clothing," he reportedly said.
Additionally he noted that it is recommended for clothes be washed on the highest water temperature appropriate to the item of clothing, and that normal detergents should be sufficient to minimise risk.
It's also advised that you dry the clothing sufficiently and disinfect your laundry basket too and.
In addition to the above, Tide scientist Jennifer Ahoni, who spoke to InStyle Magazine, shared similar laundry day precautions, adding that you need to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you remove the gloves.
However, it would appear that Jennifer Ahoni and Dr Akash have contradicting advice about the temperature the water should be. While Dr Akash encourages heat, Jennifer is of the schooled opinion that "hot water can open up fabric fibers and release dyes, whereas cold water helps to keep them closed and prevent dye loss."
So here's a happy-ish medium; wash your darks and denims (inside out) in cold water in the name of preserving colour, finish and elasticity. Otherwise, hot water it is - we're facing a pandemic, folks... and I think drip is somewhat temporary at this point.
What about bedding?
This is a big one, considering people have been spending more time between the sheets catching up on lost sleep, working in bed, watching series, and self-pampering.
Tide scientist explains that "over the course of one day, the average adult produces one liter of sweat, 10 grams of salt, 40 grams of sebum (body oils) and 10 grams (or two billion) skin cells."
"Additionally, sebum from our face can transfer to pillows, which can make acne worse. And since dust mites feed on dead skin cells they can cause reactions in people with dust mite allergies," she elaborates.
Changing sheets should be a weekly commitment - and the rest of your bedding, every other week - even when we are not facing a pandemic. Anyone with white linen will begrudgingly agree with this. Girl, same.
And of course, Jennifer Ahoni recommends the hottest water temperature setting for this. The reason for this is that "hot water kills most germs and also takes care of dust mites that thrive in bedding."
Lastly, it's recommended that you clean your washing machine and/or dryer regularly - inside and outside - with soapy water. You can also use Milton’s range of sterilising products for this.
- Milton Sterilising Fluid: Mix 40ml of Milton Sterilising Fluid with 1 litre of cold water.
- Milton Surface Spray: Spray directly onto the surface. Leave for at least five minutes. Wipe away with a clean cloth. No need to rinse. Disinfect surfaces by regularly wiping them down with either of the above solutions.
The products are available at all major retailers.
How have you been handling your laundry since the coronavirus outbreak? Tell us here.