(AscendHealthy.com) – We take a chance of tracking in germs every time we set foot outside. All it takes is being in the right place at the wrong time to catch COVID-19, and once one person has it, the disease can become a threat to even small social circles. Most of us think about masking and hand-washing, but have you given any thought to sanitizing your clothes?
There’s a difference between washing and sanitizing laundry; during a pandemic, mistaking the former for the latter could result in entire households being exposed. Take these measures to minimize COVID-19 spread.
This Is How to Sanitize Your Clothes During the Pandemic.
How Germs Spread Through Laundry
Our clothes can pick up all sorts of viruses, bacteria and molds, although most of these hitchhikers are harmless. According to an ABC News report, many diseases of concern that can spread through our laundry — norovirus, rotavirus, E.coli, salmonella and hepatitis A, for example — often do so via contaminated fecal matter. This issue might not seem relevant to most people, but the average dirty clothes hamper could be carrying a lot more germs than meets the eye.
The typical piece of worn underwear harbors about one-tenth of a gram of feces. Yep, even if the person wipes really well. Given studies on other microbes and laundry, it’s safe to assume COVID-19, which can also spread through the feces, could potentially transfer to every other article of clothing washed alongside it. Time warns that germs can remain in the washing machine long after a contaminated load of laundry is removed, potentially spreading disease through future loads as well.
Washing Vs. Sanitizing
Washing clothes in a typical home machine with warm water and detergent will clear away most smells and stains, but it won’t sanitize anything. The difference is important. Just because germs might pull away from a garment, that doesn’t mean they just disappear; they go into the water, where they can redistribute throughout the load. Even with the water set to its hottest setting, most germs can persist.
Bleach and similar disinfectants can sanitize laundry — but only when added to high-temperature washes. Need an easy, bleach-free option? Lysol and Clorox both make color-safe laundry sanitizers. Thoroughly drying laundry in a dryer on high heat can also destroy microbes; just be sure to sanitize the hamper and any other surfaces that could recontaminate the load — including hands and exterior machine surfaces.
Consumer Reports advises that people who use a laundromat sanitize all potentially contaminated surfaces, practice social distancing and use their washer’s sanitize cycle, if one is available, before loading their laundry.
The pandemic seems to have a way of complicating everything, and for many of us, laundry is no exception. On a positive note, these precautions are only really necessary in the case of shared laundry facilities or in households where one or more members have fallen ill. In most cases, people can do their laundry as they normally would have before the pandemic hit; the only difference might be the number of face masks in the clothes pile.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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