Pandemic may change how you clean laundry

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 5:04 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life in almost every imaginable way from how we work, to how we grocery shop, even how we attend worship services.

But some of the more mundane aspects of life, like cleaning laundry, may not be on your radar as you look to stem the spread of the respiratory virus.

According to Consumer Reports, if you’re handling the laundry of someone infected or suspected of having coronavirus, you’ll want to alter how you go about cleaning those clothes going forward.

“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,” says Rachel Rabkin Peachman.

Here are some recommendations:

First, keep all laundry that might be contaminated in a separate bin. Then, when it’s time to wash them, make sure you’re wearing protective gloves that should be thrown away immediately after loading.

If you don’t have gloves, just make sure you’re thoroughly washing your hands after handling the laundry.

While there’s nothing special that needs to be applied to dirty clothes as part of the washing process, you should clean the items in the warmest possible water and dry items thoroughly to kill any remnants of the virus.

You’ll also want to make sure you clean all surfaces you’ve touched in the process.

These tips are also important to keep in mind if you’re living with someone who works in a hospital or another place where there may be exposure to the virus.

[WE’RE OPEN: Shop local with central Alabama restaurants and businesses]

But what about those who use a dry cleaning service? We asked Jim Massey Cleaners of Montgomery what the process was for that service in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jim Massey III said his business has taken extra steps to provide safety for customers. Those include:

  • Adding outdoor seating to help with social distancing.
  • Posting signs to inform customers of it being safer for them to fold at home instead of in the store. For those who have to fold there, tables/chairs have been moved to create more space.
  • Massey Cleaners has turned off all other machines to help enforce social distancing.
  • The store has increased staff to help clean the machines continuously during the day as well as a daily deep cleaning.
  • And the cleaner no longer charges extra for washing in hot water.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. Consumer Reports contributed to this report. All rights reserved.