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Can coronavirus live on your clothes and shoes? Here’s what we know right now

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Studies show that the coronavirus can live on the soles of your shoes.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the latest updates and information on the coronavirus pandemic.

There is no time like the present to begin with best practices to help you be safe, wearing a face mask, and clean up your home, as the coronavirus continues to grow in more than 20 US states and around the world. But how far should you go – do your shoes and clothes need to be cleaned? How long can the coronavirus survive on different surfaces that you are constantly in contact with?

Surfaces contaminated with coronavirus that cause COVID-19 can infect a person who touches them and then touches their face. The coronavirus can also be spread from person to person via respiratory drops from a sneeze or cough, and researchers are studying the possibility of the coronavirus is airborne, which remains in the air you breathe, especially when you are indoors.

It has been shown that coronavirus lives on certain surfaces too longer than 9 daysand in a famous early case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found coronavirus RNA that had survived on the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers left the line in February. Coronavirus can live on plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days, according to a study reported in March by the National Institutes of Health.

The probability of contracting the virus from your clothes is considered low – and it seems that only one study so far has shown that the coronavirus can survive on shoes.

“To date, evidence suggests that the virus does not survive as well on a soft surface (such as fabric) as on frequently affected hard surfaces,” Johns Hopkins Medicine reported.

On the other hand, caregivers and others in close contact with people who are believed to have acquired coronavirus may be advised to leave their work clothes and shoes outside until they can be cleaned up.

“The probability of COVID-19 spreading on shoes and infecting individuals is very low,” according to the WHO. The organization added that people should consider leaving their shoes outside as a precaution.

With that said, if you think you may have come in contact with the virus, or if you just want to be careful, here’s what you need to know. Please note that this article contains information obtained from the CDC and provides an overview of what we currently know. Recommendations may change over time in the light of new research and development. This story is updated frequently.

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Wash your clothes in the warmest environment, if possible.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Do I need to wash my clothes when I get home?

When you get home from the grocery store, you do not have to change your clothes – especially if you kept a six foot distance from others in the store. However, we recommend that you wash your hands. However, if you work in a healthcare institution around COVID-19 patients or think you have been exposed to the virus, it is best to take additional precautions and wash your clothes when you get home.

The CDC recommends that you do not shake your dirty laundry, as it may cause the coronavirus to become airborne again, although it is not certain if it is contagious at that time. Researchers are currently studying whether the coronavirus can be grown from RNA particles in the air, reports the New York Times. Remember that the most likely form of transmission is known to be from person to person. So maybe not plan that dinner party yet.

Do I need to leave my shoes outside?

You may be wondering if it is safe to wear the shoes in your house after going to the grocery store or other public places. A new study conducted by the CDC at Wuhan Hospitals suggests that the virus may survive on the soles of shoes, but it is not clear if the drops were still contagious. However, Johns Hopkins University has clarified that the survival rate of the virus is less than 0.1% of the initial amount of viral material.

The Cleveland Clinic says that although it is possible for the virus to live on your shoes, it is highly unlikely that it is transmitted to you if you do not directly touch the infected area and then move your face.

If you think you have encountered someone or a surface that was infected with the coronavirus, remove your shoes before entering your home and wash your hands immediately. You want to spray the shoes with a disinfectant before taking them in.

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You can leave your shoes outside until they are disinfected.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

What if my clothing label says I should only use cold water or just dry?

While the CDC suggests that you should use the warmest suitable water setting and dry items completely, your clothing label may say otherwise. If the washing instructions on your clothes say that you wash in cold water or just dry the line, you should do so. Because the coronavirus is surrounded by a layer of fat membrane, your detergent should only be able to kill the virus. However, if you are still worried about whether the virus survived the wash or not, you can put your clothes in a bag for several days to let the virus die naturally.

As the country reopens, we still need to understand what it means to us. Here is 16 practical ways to help you be safe when you go out in public, What to do if you think you have contracted the coronavirus and what to know about wear homemade face masks in public.

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have questions about a medical condition or health goal.

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