Coronavirus: Do You Need to Change and Wash Your Clothes After Visiting the Grocery Store?

Jacquie Cadorette
March 25, 2020 - 7:30 am

With coronavirus concerns at a high, many are taking extra precautions to protect themselves agains the virus. But how far does it need to go? Should we be washing our clothes after going out and visiting the grocery store? Experts say no more washing than normal is needed.

While you can stick to your weekly regimen of washing your clothes, some experts warn that being super preoccupied with laundry could distract you from other, more useful tactics in preventing the spread of coronavirus, like washing your hands.

Sarah Fortune, professor and chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told MarketWatch, "The average person should not worry about their clothing."

"If you are a health-care provider and potentially subject to a high density of the virus, the answer is different. But for most of us, it is all about our hands and face," she continued.

COVID-19 is believed to be spread primarily by person-to-person contact when they are within six feet of each other and are exposed to droplets from a sick person's cough or sneeze, the CDC reports.

While not much is known about the shelf-life of coronavirus on surfaces, it is believed that "coronavirus in general last a lot longer on a solid, nonporous surface compared to porous fabrics," Juan Dumois, pediatric infectious diseases physician at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital reports.

If people have not brushed up against you or touched your clothing, washing your clothes could be an extra precaution but is not necessary.

However, if you do choose to launder your clothes more often, there are techniques that work better than others. Hot water is better than cold water, and regular laundry detergent is sufficient.

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