Prevent the Spread Of COVID-19 While Doing Laundry – ConsumerReports.org

Wash contaminated clothes and linens as you normally would, but “launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely,” the CDC says.

While the CDC does not specifically recommend using a detergent plus bleach, the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene states that bleach may help inactivate viral microbes in the wash. So if you’re washing whites and light colors, you could add bleach to the load. Or you could use a detergent that contains a color-safe bleach if it’s appropriate for the fabric. 

Also, while more research is needed to determine what temperature may inactivate the virus, Don Schaffner, Ph.D., a microbiologist and distinguished professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., explains that the entire washing process should rid fabrics of the coronavirus. It’s the combination of detergent, warm water, and physical agitation in the rinse and spin cycles that removes, inactivates, and washes away viral microbes.

Once the washing is done, using a dryer may be better than hanging the clothes to dry because the heat may also help inactivate any viral microbes. In addition, dry fabrics are less likely to transfer germs than wet ones.