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6 Simple Steps to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 [UPDATED 2021]

UPDATE 2021 All four of our full-service locations now have the San-O3-Wash System! Per the Aquawing/San-O3-Wash Website:

The Aquawing Disinfection Ozone Laundry System is the only system in North America that is clinically validated to disinfect and to kill the super bugs MRSA (staph), C diff, aspergillus niger as well as doctor verified to kill HIV and Hepatitis amongst others. Two separate microbiologists were recruited and conducted a multitude of extensive tests using the Aquawing patented Interfusor The results came back and blew the microbiologists away. It is not true that all ozone systems will properly disinfect laundry. This is an important concern for any facility that may be processing linens, mops, cloths, etc., contaminated with infectious materials (correctional institutions, hospitalsnursing homes, sports facilities, etc.). Ozone does have powerful disinfecting properties, but simply relying on the reputation of ozone gas as a disinfectant does not mean that all ozone laundering systems will provide sufficient disinfection especially with super bugs such as MRSA (staph) and C.diff. and many more.
 

1.    Separate Contaminated Laundry Experts are not sure how long the COVID-19 virus lives on fabric or clothing, there is research that shows the virus can survive on cardboard for over 24 hours and on metal and plastic for up to 72 hours, per infectious-disease expert at Yale School of Medicine, Jamie Meyer, MD.  (Consumer Reports) Keep clothing worn while taking care of someone who is ill, clothing worn for an essential job and/or clothing worn out in public separate from other laundry.  Use a separate bin, preferably with a lid and lined with a disposable bag specifically for these items. “As a healthcare worker myself, I change clothes immediately after coming home and sequester them with other exposed clothes,” says Koushik Kasanagottu, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. (Consumer Reports)

2.    Handle with Care When handling the “infected” laundry wear disposable gloves, throwing them away after every use.  If you do not have gloves be sure to wash your hands immediately after handling the items, washing in hot water for at least 20 seconds with soap. Do not shake the items out, simply and carefully place the items in the washer.  Shaking the items can potentially disperse the virus through the air, according to the CDC. It is acceptable and safe to wash this laundry with other items, once there is no need to do a separate load.

3.    Water Temperature Items should be laundered in the hottest cycle setting and dried completely.  Select the hottest temperature the fabric allows.   If you have clothing that requires a delicate setting or cooler water, now is probably not a good time to wear these items! While more research is necessary to determine the water temperature that will kill the virus, the washing process alone should rid the items of any lingering virus. “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.” (Consumer Reports) Additionally, drying items in the dryer is recommended. The heat of the dryer will help to kill any microbes.

4.    Selecting Detergent The CDC does not recommend a specific detergent, washing clothing and linens with your regular detergent is fine. However, the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene states that bleach may help to “de-activate” viral microbes in the wash.  Adding bleach to a load (if safe for the fabric) or using a detergent with bleach may be helpful.

5.    Sanitize Surfaces After putting the laundry in the washing machine, be sure to disinfect all surfaces that the items came in contact with, including the washing machine itself including the knobs and door pull, as well as disinfecting the laundry bin itself. The CDC has a few recommendations on suggested cleaners to use for disinfecting surfaces, see “Prevent Getting Sick – Disinfecting Your Home” for more information.

6.    Social Distance at the Laundromat If you are using a shared laundry facility, such as an apartment building laundry room or a laundromat, be sure to disinfect the handles and other surfaces before touching the machines, as well as after using the machines. It is also crucial to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone else that is in the facility while you are there. Don Schaffner, PhD, a microbiologist/professor at Rutgers University recommends that, “if you go to a public laundromat, the riskiest thing there is other people.  The virus is much less transferable and infectious on a surface than it is if someone with coronavirus coughs near you. So, practice social distancing, and don’t linger in the laundromat while your clothes are being washed.”  (Consumer Reports)

Our Laundromat Safety Procedures All associates at Soap Opera Laundromats use respirator masks and gloves to keep everyone protected.  Additionally, our folding tables are spaced 6 feet apart with cleaning bottles for our customers to use to wipe down the machines and folding tables. We suggest that upon placing your laundry in the washers or dryers, waiting in your car is recommended during these cycles. You may also feel more comfortable folding your clothes in the comfort of your own home. For more information on our safety measures, please see our website – “Essential Service – COVID-19.”

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