Laundry is one of those things we do on autopilot… until something happens that makes you think about whether you’re doing it right. While there’s been lots of information available about human contact and contaminated surfaces during the growing concerns over Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve heard a lot less about how we should do our laundry. We wanted to pass on the best advice from the NHS to get the message out to as many people as possible.
The NHS has outlined three main ways that germs are spread by clothes and towels:
With these things in mind, here’s a few tips from both the government and the NHS to help you avoid spreading germs.
Wash dirty laundry on the warmest possible setting according to the care label. (Don’t be tempted to boil wash, this will damage the clothes and isn’t necessary)
Wash heavily soiled bedding/towels/clothes separately to the rest of your laundry (dirt and germs can spread to the other items in the same wash)
Wash the following high-risk items at a minimum of 60°C with a bleach-based product*: heavily soiled clothes or bedding, sports clothes, shared towels, healthcare workers’ uniforms, clothing worn over broken or infected skin, any fabrics used in food preparation
If possible, wear gloves when handling high-risk laundry
Wash your hands properly with soap after handling unwashed clothes
Don’t shake out dirty laundry, this could disperse the virus through the air
*There are many types of bleaching agents and they’re found in most detergents. They’re not the same as general use household bleach though, so please don’t chuck this in your washer.
As we all remain indoors, the UK’s laundry baskets are sure to be jam-packed full of pyjamas and loungewear. And no matter what you’re washing, we hope these simple pointers give you a little more confidence on laundry day. If you’re living with someone vulnerable or someone showing symptoms, all it takes is a few tweaks to your normal routine to make washing clothes safer, more hygienic and stop germs from spreading.