How to handle laundry if someone at home contracts COVID-19

SAN ANTONIO – If you’re living with someone infected with the coronavirus, something as routine as laundry deserves extra care.

One thing to make sure to do is to keep any contaminated laundry in a separate bin, said Rachel Rabkin Peachman of Consumer Reports.

"We don't know for sure how long this coronavirus can survive on clothes, but researchers think it's possible the virus may remain infectious on clothes for hours or even days. So, any clothes that may have been exposed to the coronavirus, should be treated as contaminated and kept in a separate laundry bin."

If you have disposable gloves, use them.

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“If you don’t have gloves, you can absolutely do the laundry with your bare hands. And just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward, whether or not you have gloves,” Peachman said.

You can wash the laundry of a COVID-19 patient as you normally would. experts say no special detergent or bleach is needed, but use the warmest appropriate water temperature and dry clothes completely.

Another important safety precaution to take is to disinfect surfaces that may have been contaminated, like door knobs and pulls. And if you’re using a shared laundry facility, disinfect surfaces before you touch them.

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And something else important to remember.

“Your chances of getting the virus from someone else directly is much higher than getting the virus from a surface. So you’ll want to keep at least six feet away from anyone else,” Peachman said.

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