COVID-19: The report said that a porous surface traps the virus within its pores, making it harder for the virus to transmit from it.
Coronavirus in India: Various studies have looked at how long the SARS-CoV-2, which is the coronavirus causing COVID-19, survives on different surfaces like plastic, steel and cardboard. Studies have also looked at the survival period of the virus in the air. However, no study has so far analysed how long the virus survives on fabric, according to a report in IE. However, most viruses are known to survive longer on non-porous surfaces like plastic and steel, as compared to porous surfaces like cardboard, the report added. Since fabric is also porous, it is hoped that the virus cannot survive for long on it.
Why can’t viruses survive on porous surfaces?
The report said that a porous surface traps the virus within its pores, making it harder for the virus to transmit from it. On the other hand, non-porous surfaces like plastic do not trap the virus and make transmission easier.
What does WHO say?
The IE report, citing infectious disease expert Dr Tanu Singhal, said that it is important to keep clothes clean. The guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) said that one should do laundry at a temperature of 60-90 degrees Celsius for linen, and experts believe that detergent might kill the virus, the report further quoted Dr Singhal as saying. She further said that people should take extra care to wash the clothes of infected people separately.
What does the Union Health Ministry say?
According to the IE report, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare suggests on its website that clothes, bath and hand towels, bedclothes, etc., of unwell people should be cleaned with regular laundry soap and water or should be machine washed with common household detergent at 60-90 degrees Celsius and should be dried thoroughly. Apart from that, contaminated linen should be kept in a laundry bag. Such laundry should also not be shaken much and individuals should avoid direct contact of skin and clothes with contaminated clothing. The Ministry also states that cloth masks should be washed at least once a day, the report stated.
Duration of survival of virus on different surfaces
According to a research which the report attributed to New England Journal of Medicine, the SARS-CoV-2 can survive on stainless steel and plastic for up to three days, on cardboard and in the air for three hours and on copper for four hours.