Wednesday , April 14 2021

Can coronavirus survive on clothing and fabric (and for how long)?



We have been living with COVID-19 for over a year now and at that time we learned a lot about effective ways to prevent the virus from spreading – from using a face mask to the effect of mouthwash to getting a vaccine. Now, research has shown that the virus can survive in certain clothes for up to 72 hours and can also be transmitted to other surfaces through the fabric.

The study was conducted by the University of De Montfort (DMU) in Leicester and began to investigate how the material that health care workers’ uniforms are usually made of responds to the virus. The research revealed that polyester is the fabric to which the virus adheres for the longest time (which can survive up to three days).

In contrast, the virus appeared to survive only 6 hours in polycarbonate and 24 hours in clothes made of 100% cotton. The researchers say the virus was able to spread to other surfaces through the three materials, which means it is especially important for all front-line workers to clean their clothes according to hospital standards.

Dr Katie Laird, head of the DMU Infectious Diseases Research Team, said of the discovery: “When the pandemic started, there was very little understanding of how long the corona could survive in textiles. Our findings show that “Three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk of transmitting the virus.”

can spread clothes

Peter DazelyGetty Images

He continued, “If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could leave traces of the virus on other surfaces. Once we determined the survival rate of the Korana in each of the textiles, we turned our attention. in identifying the most reliable washing method to remove the virus. “

The team advice? Washing the materials at high temperature in a home machine will not remove the virus. “It does not eliminate the risk of contaminated clothing by leaving traces of coronavirus on other surfaces in the house or car before washing. This research reinforced my recommendation that all health care uniforms should be washed on site in hospitals or in the industrial laundry.”

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Laird noted, “These washing methods are regulated and nurses and healthcare workers do not have to worry about possible transmission of the virus home.”

We have contacted the DMU for advice on what non-healthcare workers can do to help stop the spread of the disease through clothing.

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