Living in a world of COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one or two things about hygiene. Given that it is the only weapon available against the virus. CDC stays that everyone has learned that personal hygiene and regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces are the only way to prevent the infection from spreading further. By now, most if not all people have become conversant with the fact that the only way to eliminate germs and viruses is by using disinfectants.
Homes and commercial spaces have been cleaned and disinfected. Again, washing everything washable among the household items, including clothes is imperative. But what about the clothes that cannot be washed? Of course, some clothes can only be dry cleaned. The unanswered question is whether dry cleaning can disinfect these clothes against coronavirus. Well, to understand the answer to that question, here is the vital knowledge about how a dry cleaning process works.
How does a dry cleaning process work?
The term “dry” cleaning can somehow be contradictive given the fact that the clothes do get wet during the process. Clothes get wet during dry cleaning but not with water. Instead, they get wet with a chemical solvent known as perchloroethylene (perc). Eske (2020) noted that perchloroethylene is the most commonly used cleaning agent when dry cleaning garments. Because this is not the only one, there are other dry-cleaning techniques that do not involve perc. One of a kind is called green dry cleaning. In this case, liquid carbon dioxide, a silicone-based solvent, or a wet cleaning method is used instead.
Can the process eliminate pathogens?
However, the chemical solvents used in dry cleaning are incapable of destroying pathogens like SARS-CoV2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19). WHO denotes that this process comes after eliminating coronavirus and other pathogens. When the laundry is done, the garments are subjected to pressing, ironing, or steaming.
Given that coronavirus and other pathogens cannot withstand high temperatures, the heat produced during these processes is capable of eradicating them. A research was conducted about laundry and COVID-19, and there was no proof that one of these methods was better than the other. But as long as your laundry goes through a high enough temperature, you can be sure that no pathogen can survive that.
Dry cleaning compared to the washing machine
As we have mentioned, dry cleaning is not excellent at eliminating coronavirus from garments until clothes are subjected to heat. Washing in a washing machine, on the other hand, can significantly reduce your chances of catching viral infections because the deep-cleaning detergent used in the process can be significant enough to rid your garments of these harmful pathogens.
However, if someone in your household shows symptoms of an infection, you should be more cautious when doing their laundry. Don’t shake their clothes out because you might disperse the virus and put yourself and others at risk of getting an infection. CDC(2019)recommends that taking precautions encompasses using the required personal protective equipment when handling such a case. Bleach is one of the most potent disinfectants there is. When you are doing laundry, perhaps you should consider adding bleach among the list of detergents you are using. Bleach can, without a doubt, improve your chances of reducing the number of pathogens, including coronavirus, to zero.