The SARS-CoV2, or Covid-19, can stay up to three hours in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine says.
The New York Times in a talk with an aerosol scientist and pediatric infectious disease specialist reported just like cardboard, fibers in clothes also absorb moisture. Viruses require moisture to survive, otherwise they will dry up quickly. Clothes are not just made of fabric, they also contain metal or plastic parts like buttons. According to Forbes, studies have not found how long viruses can stay on different articles of clothing or if they get wet.
If you have been at home for the past few days, kept proper social distancing or have not touched anything contaminated, then there are good chances of clothes being virus-free. It could get affected if any contaminated object touches your clothes or an infected person coughs, sneezes or been close enough. People like caretakers or health workers could be at greater risk in such cases.
Take off your clothes immediately if you suspect contamination
If you suspect contamination, take off your clothes soon as possible and try not bringing them in contact with your face. According to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, clothes need to be washed after wearing disposable gloves. Hands should be washed thoroughly immediately after the laundry. The water temperature level should be kept warmest while washing the clothes with detergent. Dry the clothes completely and try to disinfect all surfaces that were touched while washing the clothes.
It is better to keep shoes outside and go shoe-less while inside your home. Any type of cleaning technique that increases the risk of getting infected should be avoided. But one should not get paranoid as you cannot catch virus from air on clothes while you are outside.