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How long coronavirus live on clothing?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing) rather than through fomites, objects and materials that when contaminated can transfer disease. However, the CDC notes that evidence suggests that the novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, which includes clothing.

Articles of clothing, according to public health specialist Carol Winner, can hold respiratory droplets, as we use them every single day. These particles can dry out over time and inactivate the virus. But this doesn’t mean that it will happen quickly, and she said scientists are still learning more and more about this virus each day.

Robert Amler, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College and a former CDC chief medical officer, told HuffPost that the duration of the virus depends on the fabric, as some materials are more porous than others.

“Some researchers believe the fibers in porous material catch the virus particles, dry them out and break them apart,” Amler said. “Smooth surfaces like leather and vinyl can be wiped clean.”

Family and emergency Dr. Janette Nesheiwat suggested that polyester, spandex-like material may retain germs longer than breathable cotton-based fabrics, making it important to wash leggings, underwear and dresses carefully (more on how to do that later!).

Polyester spandex-like material may retain germs longer than cotton-based fabrics, but all types of fabrics can be contaminated,” Nesheiwat said.

As information and research pertaining to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, continues to evolve, Winner stressed that so far studies focused on it tells us about the virus’ ability to remain on surfaces such as cardboard, steel, copper and plastic-door knobs and high-traffic areas.

“The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has told us that some viruses can remain active after two or three days on plastic and stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard and four hours on copper,” she said. Be aware that some of your buttons, zippers and other clothing hardware could be made of those materials.

If you suspect contamination, take off your clothes as soon you can after the exposure. When taking off your clothes, try not to touch your face or contaminate other things with the clothes. After they are off your body, place your clothes in a safe location where they can’t potentially contaminate other things.

Whenever handling any clothes that may have the virus, whether they are your clothes or someone else’s, such as someone whom you know has COVID-19, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for handling at-risk clothing. Wear disposable gloves, if available, and toss them, the gloves and not the clothing, immediately after use. If you only have non-disposable gloves, keep them dedicated to situations where you are touching or disinfecting things that may have the coronavirus. Don’t use them subsequently for anything else like cooking or doing face palms. If you have no gloves readily available, keep your hands away from your face while handling the laundry, and wash your hands thoroughly immediately after touching the laundry.

If someone is sick, the guidelines change when someone in your household has a confirmed case or symptoms. The CDC recommends:

  1. Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry, and wash your hands right after you take them off.
  2. Try not to shake the dirty laundry, to avoid sending the virus into the air.
  3. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for whatever you’re cleaning, using the warmest water possible. Dry everything completely.
  4. It’s fine to mix your own laundry in with the sick person’s. And don’t forget to include the laundry bag, or use a disposable garbage bag instead.

Wipe down the hamper, following the appropriate instructions.


Image Courtsey:

Time To Make a Change

Research shows that organic agriculture is a good option for food security… and [is] more sustainable in the long term” United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Time to Make A Change

Organic agriculture is a sustainable and environmentally friendly production system that offers developing countries a wide range of economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits. Around one in eight people in the world suffer from chronic hunger, 98% of whom live in developing countries2. These countries are also home to 99% of the world’s cotton farmers3 – indicating a clear need for methods of cotton production that better promote food. Organic Agriculture depends on five capital assets for success (natural, social, human, physical and financial) and so contributes to and builds up stocks of these natural, social and economic resources over time thus often reducing many of the factors that lead to food insecurity.

Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. Instead of chemical inputs, organic cotton farmers use a range of natural techniques to maintain healthy soils and restrict pests, weeds and diseases. Central to this is the growth of a range of food crops alongside cotton – each contributing specific functions within the organic system whilst also promoting food security.

Contrary to common belief, organic cotton production is economically competitive with its conventional counterpart. A long-term study in India recently revealed that, despite lower average yields, net profits of organic cotton systems are in fact similar, or sometimes better, than those of conventional systems due to the significantly reduced input costs.

Below illustration shows the association between organic cotton and food security, due to the significantly reduced input costs.   FOOD SECURITY:

Benefits of growing Organic Cotton:

Cotton grown organically employs the ecological processes of nature to maintain, for the longer term, soil fertility, insects and microbes in balance, thereby reducing pest outbreaks, and encourages species biodiversity. A good understanding of ecosystems and farming techniques is necessary.

Cotton grown organically encourages the planting of food crops, often food staples and those in demand locally, as part of a farm system. Organic produce often has higher levels of dry weight and nutrition.

Cotton grown organically is more resilient to climatic stresses such as drought and floods. Organic crops are also thought to be ‘less thirsty’ (than crops dependent on NPK fertilizers and genetic engineered plants). Yields can be higher than conventional cropping when unfavorable weather situations occur, and input costs significantly less.

Cotton grown organically brings job satisfaction to people lives: it is inclusive and ‘female-friendly’.  Pesticide spraying for example is considered men’s work due to the hazards of use, and is a lonely occupation but organic is a community affair said to be favored by women. Organic is labor intensive (at times) which provides employment for rural communities.

Agro-ecological Impacts:

Benefits of growing organic cotton are countless and can bring huge impact to heal planet earth. It’s time for consumers to make a change and start asking for organic cotton made clothes. Consumer has an ultimate power to drive the market, which can go long way. Let’s show that we can wisely use consumer power and help small farming communities to feed their families and help our earth to keep feeding us naturally and organically. Let’s protect planet Earth for the generations to come.


Agro-Ecological chart courtesy: