Since the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year, both scientists and the public have been scrambling to figure out exactly how the virus works. How does it spread, and what can we personally do to stop that spread?
Because of the novelty of this virus, there are many things scientists are still trying to figure out. We do know a few things about coronavirus contagion, however. The virus needs some water present to survive, and is largely spread in droplets created by our breath. It can live on various surfaces, but the material of the surface determines how long the virus can survive.
As far as current research shows, the virus can survive in the air for three hours, on copper surfaces such as coins for up to four hours, on fibrous materials like cardboard for 24 hours, and on plastic and steel for up to two to three days.
When it comes to various clothing materials, exact studies have yet to be done. However, the research implies that because most clothing is fibrous, we should assume the virus can live for one day on these materials. For items of clothing that include metal and plastic, the virus can live on these parts of the clothing, such as buttons and buckles, for several days.
The spread of COVID-19 continues in our public spaces. This is why it’s important to change and clean clothing regularly, especially if you have worn it in a location where you could have been exposed to the virus.
There are several ways to ensure that an item is clean and free of the virus. Methods known to kill coronavirus are:
- Heat above 140° Fahrenheit
- Soap and physical removal
When you take your clothing to be dry cleaned, it is guaranteed that the process will completely eliminate any traces of the virus. Temperatures used when dry cleaning are much higher than the 140° threshold needed to eliminate the virus. These temperatures are used at multiple stages of the dry cleaning process when the clothes are cleaned, dried and steam-pressed.
In addition, soap and physical removal, such as when you wash your hands, kills the virus. When dry cleaning, strong detergents and mechanical action perform the same job of physical removal as hand washing.
For delicate materials that require low temperature cleaning, additional disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide are used, which work in addition to the physical removal process to kill any remaining viral traces.
Although many areas are loosening quarantine restrictions, we are far from safe from the spread of COVID yet. That’s why it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant about your personal hygiene and cleaning. Regular dry cleaning can be an important step in maintaining the hygiene of your clothing.
We encourage our customers to take extra care if they believe a garment has been exposed to COVID. Bringing the item to be dry cleaned is a guaranteed way to ensure any traces of the virus are eliminated. Be sure to inform dry cleaning staff if you believe an item may be contaminated, so that they may take extra precautions. For more information on maintaining clothing hygiene during this time, check out our blog!