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Can Washing Clothes Eliminate Monkeypox? Steps To Get Rid Of The Monkeypox Virus Through Laundry

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is a global public health emergency of international concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox has been detected in at least 78 countries.

It has been suggested that monkeypox may spread by touching clothing, bedding, and towels that have previously come in contact with a person infected with the disease [1]. Thus, the question arises, can monkeypox be transmitted through contact with contaminated clothing and linen? Let's take a look.

Does Monkeypox Spread Through Contact With Contaminated Clothing?

To answer this question, first, we need to check whether monkeypox can be transmitted through contact with contaminated clothing and linen. And the answer to this, according to experts and studies, is -Yes. Yes, monkeypox can be transmitted through contaminated clothing and linen [2].

The most common transmission method of monkeypox is direct contact with a rash or sore from a person with the virus. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can also be spread by coming in contact with clothing, bedding, or other items used by an infected person.

Monkeypox may also spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face or intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. However, monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease [3].

Anyone can get monkeypox after having close physical contact with someone who has the infection, especially contact with infected lesions, bodily fluids, or other contaminated surfaces. Health agencies, however, report that the risk of monkeypox being contracted by the general public is extremely low [4].

Several experts have stated that monkeypox can be spread by wearing clothing worn by a person carrying the virus.

If someone with active monkeypox lesions tries on clothes, and another person tries on those clothes afterwards, they may contract monkeypox. This is because putting on and taking off clothes can scrape the skin. As a result, some of the lesions can release fluid which contains live viruses, which can also affect hotel sheets and towels.

At present, it is difficult to determine how long the virus remains on clothes and linen after they have come in contact with an infected person. However, experts advise thoroughly washing contaminated clothing and bedding to prevent further transmission [5].

Can Washing Clothes Eliminate Monkeypox?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these viruses are susceptible to many common household disinfectants. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency USA (EPA) published a list of disinfectants on its website that may help to kill the monkeypox virus [6]. Unfortunately, these products are unavailable in India, but you can buy disinfectants with similar or similar ingredients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO, it is imperative that individuals who have or have had monkeypox disinfect and clean their clothing, bedding, and other items that they may have touched while infected. When cleaning these items, the person should wear a face mask and disposable gloves if that is not possible [7].

How To Wash Clothes To Eliminate Monkeypox: Step-by-Step Guide

  • Place the contaminated items (anything that can be machine washed) in the washing machine along with the bag in which they were collected.
  • When removing items from the bag, do not shake them.
  • It is recommended that you use hot water or the highest temperature setting.
  • You do not need to use chlorine, colour-safe bleach, or another sanitiser. Simply use regular detergent.
  • Make sure your clean, wet laundry is dried at the highest temperature possible according to the item's label.
  • If you cannot dry any items in a machine at home, air-dry them.
  • If you are in a laundromat or other shared laundry facility, take your clean, dry laundry out of the dryer, place it directly into the clean bag, and fold it at home.
  • Try to limit your time spent in public laundry facilities. If possible, go home between washing and drying your laundry, or go outside to avoid close contact with others.

The following instructions should be followed for items that cannot be machine washed [8]:

  • Put them in a sink or bathtub and wash them with detergent.
  • You should clean or disinfect anything that comes into contact with your rash or sores (such as watches, belts, and hats) using the appropriate disinfectant listed by the EPA.
  • If they cannot be washed at home, place them in a sealed plastic bag for 21 days.

On A Final Note...

The monkeypox virus can be effectively eliminated by washing contaminated clothing and linen. Health officials say standard washing machine detergent is efficient if used according to the label instructions. Laundry sanitisers may be used but are not necessary. After handling dirty laundry, always wash your hands.

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