Safety tips for doing laundry during the coronavirus pandemic

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Hygiene has become more critical than ever as health officials work to curb the spread of coronavirus across the United States.

One way of keeping germs at bay is by doing laundry. Peter Stern, Senior Vice President at Clean Rite Center, New York City’s largest laundromat chain, delivered expert tips on how to stay safe while doing laundry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cleaning your clothes frequently and thoroughly is critical to stopping the spread and flattening the COVID-19 curve,” said Stern. “In fact, the CDC indicates that the virus can live on clothes for two-three days.”

Fox News: What are your top tips for doing laundry during the pandemic?

Peter Stern: People should  wash their clothes in hot water that is over 160 degrees while using detergent and bleach or bleach alternative.  It is not recommended to wear clothes multiple times without washing. Additionally, it’s important to dry your clothes thoroughly and to NOT overstuff machines, since clothes need room to agitate. Don’t  forget to clean your sheets, comforters, towels, etc. frequently.

Fox News: While many have the luxury of doing laundry in their own homes, millions of Americans must take their dirty clothes to local laundromats, which are considered essential services.  What are some safety measures that should be taken at a laundromat?

Stern: It’s crucial to practice social distancing, load machines, and either wait outside or in your car. Our locations even have specially demarcated signs so people stay six feet apart. Patrons should definitely not put dirty clothes in laundry carts, and we recommend placing your clothes in a disposable plastic bag before placing them in the cart. It also is a waste of time to put clean clothes into a dirty laundry bag so make sure to  wash and dry your laundry bag. You don't want to shake your clothes because if the virus is on your clothes, you don't want to spread it. The last aspect is to wash your hands after handling dirty clothes and before handling clean clothes.

Fox News: For people afraid of the virus living on their clothes, are there recommended products that they should use?

Stern: Like I said before, wash your clothes in hot water that is over 160 degrees and use detergent in combination with bleach or a bleach alternative.  Small amounts of white distilled vinegar with baking soda has also proven effective. The more you wash your clothes, the better.

For more laundry tips watch Senior Vice President at Clean Rite Center Peter Stern’s full interview above.

Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.