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Washing bedding contaminated by Coronavirus

08 July 2020

Everywhere you look the news has really only one story right now and quite rightly too. Coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the world. We are seeing panic buying of hand sanitiser gels as well as other items which are less obviously related to the outbreak. Toilet Rolls and Pasta are just a couple of things that have suddenly become just empty spaces on supermarket shelves.

The virus is officially known as SARS-CoV-2, the disease that the virus causes is COVID-19.

Now here at Snugnights we can't offer a solution to this global issue, but we can offer just a little advice. We have been told to keep washing our hands and to try not to touch our faces and to try not to touch door handles and stair banisters in public places but don't forget about your bedding. If you or a family member have been confirmed to have the virus then you need to change your laundry habits slightly.

This is a respiratory virus, so when an infected person coughs or sneezes tiny infected droplets are sprayed from their mouth and nose. When someone else comes into contact with these droplets they too are likely to become infected. When these droplets settle on to a surface the virus can live for a period of time and if someone else then touches that surface the virus on their hands and can be transferred to their face, mouth and eyes, infecting themselves in the process.

The virus probably lives longer on a hard surface than a fabric surface, but other factors affect this such as the surrounding temperature of the area concerned. If you never touch your face then you cannot transfer the virus to it, but we actually unconsciously touch our face hundreds of times each day and it only takes seconds to pick the virus up on your hands and to then transfer it to your face. This is why regular hand washing is so important, especially if you go to work or to the shops. So always wash your hands after you have been exposed to public areas.

The virus can live on fabrics but not for as long a time as on hard surfaces, but it could last for several hours. Imagine a contaminated person lying in bed. They could be coughing, sneezing and maybe dribbling whilst they sleep. Of course they are sleeping in isolation so should not be in a position to infect their partner but they will be infecting their bedding and somebody at some point needs to wash it. Once the bed is no longer being slept in, you would ideally leave it in isolation for a couple of days for any virus present in the bedding to die off. But even then you should handle the bedding with caution. Use disposable gloves and a face mask if possible. Carefully remove all items of bedding, pillow cases, pillow protectors, sheets, duvet covers and mattress protectors. Just bundle them all up and place them into a bin bag for transport to your washing machine. Place them inside, do not mix with any other laundry. Set the temperature as high as you can. 60c is the minimum, 90c is even better. The higher the temperature the better. If any of the bedding cannot be washed at these temperatures wash it anyway. It may come out ruined but at least it will be clean and virus free. Dispose of the used bin bags, gloves and face mask in another bag sealed and placed in the bin outside. Now wash your hands thoroughly, preferably with an anti bacterial soap and hot water.

Once the washing cycle is complete either dry in a tumble drier or on a washing line outside. You can now reuse the bedding or replace it with new.

Snugnights Allergon and EcoSleep mattress and pillow protectors can be safely and hygienically machine washed at temperatures up to 90c and tumble dried. Some mattress protectors can only be washed at 30c 0r 40c.

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