If you have been placed in quarantine or voluntary isolation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 disease, it is of course imperative that you follow strict hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
One of these precautions is the proper handling of clothing and footwear. For the purposes of this article, we will leave aside face masks and respirators, as their issue has been addressed by a number of authorities and information is thus readily available. However, it has not occurred to everyone how important it is to protect clothing and footwear, which can become places where the virus can persist without proper maintenance.
Storage outside the living space of a house or apartment
If you have the option, i.e. if you live in your own house or, for example, in an apartment that has a separate space, you can use it to prevent as many dangerous particles as possible from entering your home, and to store in it, in particular
- shoes, ideally in a sealable container, and also
- those items of clothing that cannot be washed or cleaned with steam (such as steam irons).
If these are garments that cannot be disinfected using high temperature, they should preferably be sealed in airtight bags or other containers and left that way for at least 2 weeks. After this time, it can be assumed that any virus will no longer be present in these items.
Principles for proper washing and cleaning of clothes and shoes
If at all possible, you should only wear clothing during the isolation or quarantine period that you can then safely wash in a washing machine, even at a higher temperature.
When it comes to footwear, it is advisable to pay attention to the parts that you touch frequently, such as the zipper, laces or tongue. It is recommended to disinfect these parts frequently and regularly, for example with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. The reason for this is that frequent touching can mean a higher risk of transmitting possible viral particles if you then bring your hand close to, for example, your eyes or mouth.
When it comes to washing, scientists have been concerned since the SARS virus epidemic in 2002 in particular with what temperature of the water is already guaranteed to destroy the virus particles. In addition to temperature, the required length of the washing cycle has also been an issue. Texts conducted combining different water temperatures and washing cycle lengths and evaluating the virus activity showed that washing at 60 °C for 90 minutes works well under normal household conditions.