It's no surprise that cleaning has been at the forefront of our minds recently. And while it is tempting, as this pandemic rages, to turn every day into a duvet day, to just hide under the covers, safe at home, until the crisis has passed, most of us are trying to carry on life as normally as possible within the confines of our four walls.
And, many of us are really putting our washing machines through their paces with our intensified cleaning regimes to combat the risk of catching Covid-19. What we can’t wash with soap and water or wipe down with antibacterial wipes and gels, we are giving regular and thorough cleanings – and that includes our bedlinen.
Dirty bedlinen can spread germs when you are sleeping in less than laundry-fresh sheets, particularly if you are sharing a bed. Germs can be spread when you strip the bed and put the sheets into wash. And, according to the NHS, they can even be spread between items while they are being washed.
If you are washing your sheets more often than the standard once a week nowadays, there are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of germs being spread if someone in your house may have Covid-19.
Top tips for washing your bedding
1. Use gloves to handle the linens and wash your hands immediately after you have placed the sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers into the machine.
2. Avoid shaking the dirty linen and spreading germs/the virus through the air. Keep movement as minimal as possible.
3. Thoroughly clean and disinfect laundry baskets that you have used to carry the bedding in.
4. Set the temperature higher to be sure of killing the Covid-19 virus. Don’t be tempted to wash anything at your favourite energy-saving 30°C setting, it’s too low. Washing at 60°C or above should be hot enough to kill viruses. Heavily soiled items should be washed with a bleach-based product, the NHS advises. Check the care label on the bedding to make sure it can be washed in this. If you can't wash your bedding at a high temperature (perhaps you love that knitted blanket on your bed?), don't use it for now – put it away until the crisis has passed.
5. Don't mix your wash with someone's who's infected. If someone in the household has been self-isolating with the Coronavirus, you can wash their bedding separately, taking all of the above precautions.
6. Don’t leave the damp material in the washing machine when the cycle has finished, as germs can start to multiply in this environment.
7. Use a tumble dryer if you have one to dry the bedding. It can do it safely at temperatures of 65°C and above.
8. Iron the linen at the hottest setting recommended for the material – on cotton sheets this can be over 200°C.
9. Dispose of bedding heavily contaminated with bodily fluids – carefully – with the owner's permission.
10. Make sure you clean your washing machine regularly.