How to do laundry safely during the Coronavirus outbreak

Read our tips for the best way to do laundry to keep the virus at bay and stop the spread of germs during the pandemic

Zanussi freestanding washing machine in a yellow laundry room
(Image credit: Zanussi)

We may have whittled our working from home wardrobe down to alternating sets of PJs, but we at are doing as much laundry as ever during the Coronavirus lockdown – partly because, with time on our hands and our obsession with cleanliness dialled up to 11, we are being extra thorough when it comes to getting the washing done thoroughly.

Cleanliness has become one of our greatest weapons in the fight against Coronavirus. We’re scrubbing with soap and water at every hint of contact, Happy Birthday to us-ing as we lather up; rubbing on antibacterial gel whenever we touch anything not in our own homes; and swabbing down our work surfaces and car interiors whenever we use them (the latter for essential journeys only, of course).

It is harder to wipe material and fabric down than it is solid surfaces, and although the evidence is that there is less risk of the virus being transmitted through clothes, we are all trying to be more cautious.

The good news for doing your laundry at home is that you don’t need any special cleaning products, but there are some precautions you can take: 

  • Don’t shake your dirty laundry to avoid spreading the virus in the air, and wash your hands after handling it.
  • If someone has been ill in the house, you can wash their laundry together with your own.
  • Wash laundry at 60°C (140°F), or at 40°C (104°F) with a bleach-based laundry product to stop germs spreading. 
  • For bedding, a study has shown that washing clothes and bedding at 56°C kills the virus – so give that a 60ºC wash, too.
  • Don’t leave laundry in the washing machine, it can encourage germs of all kinds to spread. Dry it quickly and completely.
  • Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry, regularly.
  • Once your wash has finished, leave your washing machine door open to allow the machine to air (this cuts down on bacteria growth too.
  • Give your washing machine a weekly maintenance wash (that's a 60ºC cycle, run without laundry in). Find out more about how to clean a washing machine in our guide to keep yours bacteria-free.
  • Use a washing machine cleaner that kills bacteria. You can find the best best washing machine cleaners in our guide.