Does washing your clothes prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

‘The coronavirus would likely survive better on artificial fibers such as polyester than on cotton’

As some folks on social media fret about whether they need to wash or change their clothes to avoid catching COVID-19, infectious-disease experts say you generally don’t need to do so more often than usual — and some even warn that a preoccupation with laundry could come at the cost of taking more important measures like washing your hands.

Still, there are some best practices to follow when you haul dirty clothes to the laundromat.

“The average person should not worry about their clothing,” Sarah Fortune, a professor and chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told MarketWatch in an email. “If you are a health-care provider and potentially subject to a high density of virus, the answer is different. But for most of us, it is all about our hands and face.”

COVID-19 is believed to spread primarily from person to person, between people who are within about six feet of each other and through droplets from a sick person’s cough or sneeze, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. public-health experts and policy makers have urged social distancing to reduce the disease’s spread.

What you do (and don’t) need to worry about with your clothes

Gabriela Andujar Vazquez, an infectious-disease physician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said that the average person didn’t necessarily need to wash their clothes more often than usual after visiting the grocery store.

“It’s perfectly safe for you to go back home with your regular clothes and just do what you have been doing pre-COVID,” she said.

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