Coronavirus: Does my washing machine kill Covid-19? Should I disinfect bags?

17 March 2020, 20:50 | Updated: 17 March 2020, 20:58

By Seán Hickey

Dr Lisa Ackerley joined Shelagh Fogarty on the line to debunk any questions the public have on coronavirus and how it impacts their day to day lives.

Shelagh had two fantastic calls for Dr. Ackerley regarding hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak and she helped two people understand how they should act to prevent the spread.

Should I disinfect schoolbags, house keys and lunch boxes?

Cara from Dulwich asked Dr. Ackerley whether she should be weary of the items she brings outside the house and if they could carry Covid-19.

Dr. Ackerley told Cara that she uses a "mild bleach solution" to wipe down tough materials that have been outside but for softer fabrics, if she was to use a standard disinfecting wipe instead that would help.

In terms of personal hygiene while practicing this measure, Dr. Ackerley recommends to "wash your hands first, wipe everything and then wash your hands again"

While it is a small chance that these items will be carrying Covid-19, Dr. Ackerley told Cara that a simple measure is to "wipe down and then you know they're clean".

Dr. Ackerley was taking questions on hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak
Dr. Ackerley was taking questions on hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: PA

Does my washing machine kill coronavirus and should I wash clothes I wore outside once home?

Paul in Hornsey told Shelagh and Lisa Ackerley that a practice his mother used to do was to wash milk bottles when she took them in, because of the amount of hands that may have touched them.

What Paul really wanted to know was whether or not he should be washing clothes he's worn outside immediately once home, as friends of his have adopted the practice.

Dr. Ackerley gave a vital piece of information to Paul, letting him know that "the virus does deactivate after a little while".

She recommended that Paul leave his laundry aside for 72 hours and the virus should die.

In terms of "you probably need to do a higher wash, 60 degrees"

"Put the stuff to one side if you can't get it to laundry" Dr. Ackerley said, then suggesting that after 72 hours your clothes should be safe to wear.

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