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As we all continue to weather the unprecedented storm that is the coronavirus, keeping everything clean and everyone safe and healthy is at the top of everyone’s list of priorities. While vaccines are being widely distributed and case counts have pretty much leveled out at low numbers, new variants are spreading and the CDC has shown no sign that we’re out of this yet. Of course, we all know about proper handwashing techniques and the importance of social distancing and wearing masks, but how do we ensure that our clothes are properly taken care of? How do you make sure you’re not carrying around COVID-19 on your clothes?
By now, we know much more about this virus than we did at the beginning. COVID-19 is mostly transmitted through respiratory droplets expelled by an infected person’s nose and mouth that can linger in the air for a few seconds. Surfaces, like clothing, are much less likely to spread the virus, but the risk is not zero. Cardboard and cotton are both porous materials, so there’s a not-insignificant chance the virus could also sit on your clothing for some period of time, and nobody wants this virus hanging out.
So how do you sanitize clothing after potential exposure to the coronavirus? Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s a very simple way to sanitize your clothing: wash them and wash them well. Sending your clothing through a normal wash, complete with detergent, will get rid of the virus if it is indeed attached. In fact, the CDC website says that it’s perfectly safe to wash an infected person’s clothes with your own laundry. That means there’s no need to over wash your clothes; rather, just wash them if you’ve been out and about or were around someone that didn’t practice social distancing well.
However, if you’re dealing with someone who already has COVID-19 or who thinks they may have the virus, the CDC does recommend wearing protective gloves when handling that person’s dirty laundry. Additionally, if you’re going to a dedicated laundromat, be sure to also wear latex gloves if you can find some. And, as always, wash your hands!
If you want to disinfect clothing, your regular laundry habits should do the trick. That being said, there are products specifically designed to sanitize your clothing, and this late in the pandemic they’re much easier to find than they were at the beginning. Here are the ones we recommend trying out if you’re looking to get things extra extra clean.
Lysol Laundry Sanitizer
This extremely popular Lysol Laundry Sanitizer is back in stock! It contains no bleach, but kills 99.9% of germs, bacteria and viruses on clothing. It’s designed to work even when used with cold water, and is gentle on most fabrics. It works in all standard and HE machines, and can be used on everything from baby clothes to sheets and towels.
Clorox Laundry Sanitizer
Similar to Lysol, Clorox is a well-known and well-established brand in the sanitizer space, and for that reason we’re putting their laundry sanitizer in second place. This formula is similar to Lysol’s in that it’s bleach-free, sanitizers in the wash and kills 99.9% of bacteria. The lack of bleach helps to extend the life of your clothing while also keeping them sanitized, and the detergent cleans tough stains and smells thoroughly in addition to sanitizing.
Charlie’s Soap Oxygen Bleach
A common household cleaning product is actually an extremely effective virus killer: bleach. This cleaning agent can disinfect surfaces and clothing of influenza, viruses and mold. Of course, bleach can also have a killer side effect on your colorful clothes. Unfortunately, like popular brands of laundry sanitizers, popular laundry bleaches like Clorox are really hard to come by right now. If you’re looking for laundry bleach to disinfect your clothing of the coronavirus, try this oxygen bleach from Charlie’s Soap instead. Oxygen bleach is much better for color fabrics and isn’t as harsh as chlorine bleach. It’s a hypoallergenic laundry bleach that will effectively clean and disinfect clothing.
Tide Pods 3-in-1
Tide’s single-load pods are great if you don’t want to worry about touching a container of detergent over and over again. Rather, you can just open the container and reach in to grab a pod whenever you need it, or even place a handful into a Ziploc bag. This 81-count package should last you a long time and can be sent to you from Amazon, saving you a trip out to the store.
Defunkify Liquid Detergent
Defunkify’s liquid detergent is made from ingredients approved by the EPA Safer Choice Program. The organic chemicals inside are not only environmentally safe but effective at fully cleaning and purifying your clothing. This detergent also gets rid of that general ‘funk’ that can come with washing your clothes — hence the ‘defunk’ portion of its namesake. And, above everything else, it’ll ensure your clothes are clean and safe to wear.
Quality Chemical Laundry Sanitizer
This laundry sanitizer is designed to be used commercially and in regular households, so you know it’s got the ability to sanitize effectively. If you prefer to buy in bulk, you’ll like this option. It comes in huge gallon jugs so you know you’ll be set for a while, and is designed to be effective even on demanding loads of dirty clothes. Whether it’s food particles, sea water or COVID-19 bacteria, this formula from Quality Chemical will get it clean.
HEX Performance Laundry Detergent
This isn’t a laundry sanitizer per se, but it’s a laundry detergent designed to penetrate deep and remove odors from sports fabric, so we assume it’s pretty tough on COVID-19 bacteria as well. Not only does it clean, it leaves behind a shield to protect fabrics from odors and exercise-related stains in the future. It works with all water temperatures, is an eco-friendly biodegradable formula and has a crisp apple scent you’ll love. If you’re constantly washing leggings, sports bras and sports — this is a great option.
Persil Liquid Laundry Detergent
This is another powerful detergent option that, per the CDC’s guidelines, will cleanse your clothes just fine. It’s designed to deep clean clothing with a supercharged formula that’s 2x as powerful as other detergent. It can clean visible and invisible dirt and works on all standard and HE washing machines.
Tide Antibacterial Fabric Spray
This isn’t a laundry sanitizer you use in the washing machine, but it’s a great spray for removing germs from fabrics in a hurry. If you’d rather not throw something in the machine, or it’s dry-clean only, this is a great alternative. It cleans 99.9% of bacteria when used as directed, and sanitizes fabrics quickly and conveniently. It also fights odor-causing bacteria and can be used on fabrics that aren’t clothing like car seats, dog beds, curtains and tablecloths.
Clorox Bleach-Free Fabric Sanitizer
This fabric sanitizer spray from Clorox is their version of Tide’s spray above, and is also great at removing stains as it sanitizes. It kills 99.9% of bacteria with each spritz and penetrates deep as it sanitizes. It’s designed to be used as a pre-treatment to a wash cycle, and is color-safe for use on a variety of fabrics. It’s also bleach-free so it won’t shorten the life cycle of your garments, and is safe to use in all laundry machines.