Scientists have warned that Covid can survive on clothes for up to three days with polyester having the highest risk for transmission.
Researchers have been studying how the virus behave on three commonly used fabrics within the healthcare industry.
They found that the virus can survive for as long as three days which can also transmit on to other surfaces, there are now strong recommendations that all clothing should be washed in hospitals and not taken home.
Scientists discovered that Covid lasts for six hours on polycotton, and 24 hours on 100% cotton, with polyester being the highest risk as the virus remains highly infectious after three days.
Dr Laird, head of the Infectious Disease Research Group De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester said, “When the pandemic first started there was very little understanding of how long coronavirus could survive on textiles.
“Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk for transmission of the virus.
“If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of the virus on other surfaces.”
She added, “Once we had determined the survival rate of coronavirus on each of the textiles, we turned our attention to identifying the most reliable wash method for removing the virus.
“While we can see from the research that washing these materials at a high temperature, even in a domestic washing machine, does remove the virus, it does not eliminate the risk of the contaminated clothing leaving traces of coronavirus on other surfaces in the home or car before they are washed.
“This research has reinforced my recommendation that all healthcare uniforms should be washed on site at hospitals or at an industrial laundry. These wash methods are regulated and nurses and healthcare workers do not have to worry about potentially taking the virus home.”