We were all advised to disinfect the surfaces of the house with special cleaning agents to destroy the virus that causes COVID-19. What about laundry? Does washing clothes in the washing machine kill the coronavirus?
The short answer is “technically no” … with a relatively large ” but ” at the end.
No, washing fabrics in a washing machine with detergent doesn’t kill most germs right away, BUT for most of us, it’s not a problem. So far, no cases of coronavirus infection through clothing have been reported, so your goal should not be to disinfect the laundry, but simply to clean it. This means that it is enough to simply wash clothes, face mask, bed linen, towels and other fabrics in the machine at the maximum permissible temperature, and then dry them in the dryer.
Drying laundry in the dryer whenever possible is an important part of the process when it comes to COVID-19, because SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is known to be sensitive to heat. To completely decontaminate the laundry, you will need to dry the clothes at a very high temperature for several hours, but the usual settings of the dryer will still reduce the total amount of bacteria and viruses on the fabric.
If someone in your family is sick with COVID-19, that’s a different story. You should take extra precautions. Handle their clothing, bedding, and other fabric items only with gloves. Do not shake these objects, because you will spread the virus in the air and on the surrounding surfaces. If possible, use laundry bleach and dry contaminated fabrics at the highest possible setting of the dryer. Wash your hands immediately after handling contaminated laundry.
But for most people, in most cases, just washing everything in the washing machine and drying it in the dryer is enough to keep your clothes clean enough.