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Precautions you should take with COVID-19 and your clothing

Waco-Temple-Bryan KBTX-TV logo Waco-Temple-Bryan KBTX-TV 4/17/2020 Fallon Appleton
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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Doctors say that the risk of getting COVID-19 from your clothing is less likely than getting it from someone who is sick with the virus.

"It's unlikely first of all that you can get enough virus on your clothing, from just being out in public that it would be of concern, and then you would have to get it from your hands onto your mucus membrane all within a short period of time,” said Dr. Lon Young the Chief Medical Officer of Caprock Health System.

“Clothing is not a likely vector for infection," he said.

When it comes to cleaning your clothes at home or professionally at a dry cleaner, the virus will be inactivated in water and also by detergent, according to Dr. Young.

Local dry cleaners like Pride Cleaners have consulted with the International Fabricare Institute on guidelines on how to handle clothing during this pandemic, according to Pride Cleaners Owner, Heather Simmen.

"We have been reassured it doesn't live on clothing very long,” said Simmen. “It can’t transfer from clothing to clothing. Once it's submerged in water or in the dry-cleaning fluid it kills any and all fluid that would be there. It's the same for the flu virus as well or any other viruses that periodically are out all year round. The temperatures we dry at are 165 degrees, and the dry-cleaning process kills the virus.”

According to Dr. Young, the virus does not do well at temperatures above 130 degrees; however, he says washing all of your clothing at a high heat temperature is not necessary when washing at home.

How long does the virus exactly last on clothing?

The COVID-19 virus does not last long on fabrics, so “the virus will be inactivated naturally in just a few hours after being on your clothes,” said Dr. Young.

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