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New study finds coronavirus can stay on fabric for up to three days

By Brooke Villanueva Published Feb 25, 2021 4:01 am

A new study has found that COVID-19 can stay on fabric for up to three days, BBC News reported. 

Conducted by De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester, the researchers tested a model coronavirus called "HCoV-OC43" on polyester, polycotton, and 100% cotton. After detecting droplets of the virus they added to the textiles, they kept track of their survival on each one for 72 hours. 

Photo from DMU's official website

As suggested by the findings, polyester poses the highest transmission risk—since it was still evident after three days, there's a possibility for it to transfer to other surfaces. COVID-19 lasted for 24 hours on 100% cotton compared to polycotton, where it did so for only six hours. 

The materials that are commonly used for medical clothing likewise pose a transmission risk, said microbiologist Dr. Katie Laird, who is also the project leader. 

“In terms of sanitizing, researchers also found that soap and scorching hot water—at least 153 degrees Fahrenheit (67 degrees Celsius)—was required to effectively clean 100% cotton fabric,” NY Post stated. “Regular household washing machines typically only go up to about 130 degrees on their hottest setting.” 

With such results, Dr. Laird said it “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 health-care workers do not have to worry about potentially taking the virus home,” she explained.

Article thumbnails from DMU