Plus, learn how to properly wash and handle dirty laundry.

With the threat of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, looming worldwide, everyone is taking extra precautions, including thoroughly sanitizing surfaces, washing their hands for 20 seconds, and avoiding crowded places. But there's another item that you probably shouldn't neglect when it comes to cleaning: your clothes.

Pile of Clothes
Credit: Poh Kim Yeoh/EyeEm/Getty Images

Experts are now saying that coronavirus can live on clothing for at least few hours or up to several days, according to TODAY. While coronavirus lasts longest on hard, non-porous surfaces such as stainless steel, the virus can certainly persist on soft surfaces like clothing and blankets. More research is needed to understand exactly how long coronavirus can last on clothes, but the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and World Health Organization have both offered some tips for keeping your home and clothing germ-free.

To avoid spreading coronavirus, the CDC recommends changing out of "outdoor" clothing as soon as you enter your home and advises that you immediately put them in the laundry. If you're handling dirty laundry from someone who already has been infected with coronavirus, wear disposable gloves, disinfect any surfaces that the clothing has come in contact with, and wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after touching the clothes.

The CDC also says that "if possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people's items." Don't forget about cleaning hampers, too—wipe down the interior and exterior with a disinfectant wipe  and clean the disposable bag liner in the washing machine along with other clothing.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
August 13, 2020
My understanding is this virus will be still with us in cold weather. Will hats, coats, gloves and boots will need daily cleaning? How should we deal with cold weather outside clothing that isn’t meant to be sanitized daily?
Martha Stewart Member
March 19, 2020
What about shoes? I take them off in the mudroom and slip on my slippers, but do I have to worry about them too?