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Parents, Take Note! How Long Does Covid Stay On Clothes?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Jul 19, 2023

Parents, Take Note! How Long Does Covid Stay On Clothes?

How long does COVID stay on clothes? To mitigate epidemic, taking preventive measures according to the guidance of the Department of Health is of paramount importance. In addition to regular hand washing, cleaning clothes, and regularly disinfecting your spaces  is also indispensable to reduce the risk of infection.

So how long does the coronavirus last on clothes and how should we properly clean clothes during the epidemic?

Can coronavirus spread through clothes?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main route of transmission of coronavirus is through respiratory droplets (sneezes or coughs of an infected person). Besides, this virus can also enter the human body from contaminated surfaces or tools, including clothing.

How long does COVID stay on clothes?

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has conducted a study on how long the coronavirus lives on different materials. The results showed that the virus can survive up to 4 hours on copper materials, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.

There is no information to determine how long the coronavirus specifically lives on clothes. However, according to infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, USA, the lifetime of the coronavirus on clothing can range from a few hours to a day. This time depends on the fabric material, environmental conditions, temperature, and air humidity.

How often should you wash your clothes?

According to Health experts, if no one in your family is positive for coronavirus or shows any signs of illness, you can wash your clothes as usual.

However, if you have been to a crowded place (for example, a supermarket) or the people around you do not follow social distancing guidelines (keep a minimum distance of 2 meters when communicating), you should protect yourself.

Here are a few tips.

  • Get dressed with a different, clean set of clothes as soon as you get home.
  • Clothing details (zippers, buttons, etc.) can be made from other materials, such as plastic and stainless steel. Viruses can still survive on these surfaces and enter your environment. Therefore, you should not ignore even the smallest details on clothes.
  • Experts also recommend that removing germs is more effective if you soak your clothes in soap and water for a longer time and wash them in hot water.
  • Sanitize the clothes of people who are sick or suspected of being infected with corona virus
  • If your loved one is suspected of having Covid-19, you need to take precautions when washing the clothes, towels and bed sheets they have used.
  • The Ministry of Health recommends using disposable gloves and masks when handling and cleaning clothes and utensils of sick people. At the same time, after cleaning, you need to immediately properly dispose  used gloves and masks in the trash, and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • In addition, you should not shake the dirty clothes of the sick person because this can cause the virus to spread into the air. Baskets containing dirty clothes of sick people must also be cleaned and disinfected after use.

Should clothes be washed at the laundromat?

You can have your clothes laundered at the laundromats, but you need to strictly follow social distancing guidelines and regulations.  Coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours (even days). Therefore, it is essential to take all precautions to prevent their spread.

Of course, laundromats must also follow standard hygienic practices, apart from COVID  protocols (separating clothes per individual, using high-quality detergent, etc.)

When going to the laundromat, you need to wear a mask as well as keep a minimum distance from the laundry staff. For self-service laundromats, you should wear gloves, avoid touching your face with your hands, and disinfect the surfaces of the machines you have used in the salon. You should use hand sanitizer after washing and wash your hands with soap when you get home.

Hopefully, this article has helped you answer the question: How long does coronavirus live on clothes? Cleaning household items and clothing is essential to prevent disease. Besides, you should remember to wash your hands often and follow the isolation regulations to protect yourself and the community.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Jul 19, 2023

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