Archive for the ‘covid-19’ Category
April 28th, 2020
The COVID19 pandemic is especially lethal for several reasons: it attacks the lower respiratory system immediately, and it is extremely contagious. While there is still a lot that the scientists do not know about COVID19, the general agreement is that it is spread through droplets that settle on surfaces and can remain contagious for up to 72 hours. Different surfaces have different time frames, however, and experts are not yet certain how long COVID19 can remain on fabric. What we do know is that ordinary soap and water can destroy the virus on the skin. And the same science applies to laundry.
The Science of Soap
Almost all viruses consist of three key elements: ribonucleic acid (RNA), proteins and lipids. There are no strong covalent bonds holding these units together, which means you do not need harsh chemicals to split them apart. The weakest part of the virus is the lipid or fatty layer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the RNA and proteins go their separate ways, no longer a threat. Laundry detergent works on the same principles. The surfactants (surface active agents) in laundry detergent have molecules that have two ends: one to attach to lipids (grease and dirt), and one to attract water. So during the wash cycle, the laundry detergent would work on the lipids in the COVID19 virus, breaking them down, and then rinse it all away in the rinse cycle.
Laundry Strategies to Combat COVID19
Knowing that simply doing your laundry can help prevent this disease gives you substantial power over it. While it is not necessary to do your laundry any differently from normal, you may choose to wash clothes at a higher temperature or use a detergent that specifies that it’s good on grease. Other key considerations to minimize the spread of COVID19 are these:
· Do not shake out dirty laundry. You may be in the habit of shaking out your dirty laundry before putting it in the machine. Now is the time to break that habit. Shaking your dirty laundry creates the potential for the COVID19 virus to travel from the fabric to your skin, or some other surface where it can remain infectious.
· Separate towels for household members. Each person should have their own hand towel and bath towel, and they should be washed more frequently than usual. The hand towel especially will be used more frequently because everyone should be washing hands multiple times a day.
· Cloth Face Masks and Gloves. The CDC is now recommending that everyone wear cloth face masks when out in public. They are also clear that you should not diminish the supply needed for medical professionals. It is easy to make or create your own cloth face mask. Similarly, cloth gloves don’t take away from the disposable gloves needed by medical professionals and protect you against COVID19 as well. It is important that you put these cloth face masks and gloves into the washing machine as soon as you enter the house after a public excursion. They need to be washed after every use.
· Wash some items on the hottest setting. Fabrics that have been in contact with bodily fluids should be washed at the hottest setting possible for the cloth. For instance, anything that has had vomit or feces on it (including diapers) should be washed on hot. Sports wear, too, should be washed in water as hot as the fabric can withstand. And of course, towels should be washed on hot.
Your washer is your ally in the fight against COVID19. It’s designed to deal with grease and grime, and COVID19’s fatty layer can be destroyed in your washer as well. Use it frequently to keep yourself and your family safe during this pandemic.
April 28th, 2020
The particular strain of the Coronavirus known as COVID19 has created an unprecedented situation around the world. Here in the United States, the number of people with confirmed coronavirus cases tops 217,000 (as of Friday, April 3rd), more than China, Italy, or Spain. Thirty-eight states, Washington, D.C., and the territory of Puerto Rico have declared lockdowns, where residents are instructed to stay at home, nonessential businesses are closed, and only essential workers are out and about. Even states without lockdown orders have metro areas on lockdown, and a few states have ordered nonessential businesses to close without adding that residents need to stay at home. All told, about 90% of America’s population (297 million) are at home. And they’re worried.
The Science of Soap
In order to best protect yourself and your household, it is important that you understand what COVID19 is, how it is transmitted, and how you can fight it in your home. COVID19 is a virus made up of three different elements, and one of them is a layer of lipids (or fat). That makes it vulnerable because soap and detergents break down fats. Without this lipid layer to hold the virus together, it breaks apart. So hot water and detergent make the coronavirus inactive.
Your ordinary household dishwasher is the best method of delivering detergent designed to cut through lipids (grease) combined with water at high temperatures. Most standard dishwashers operate at 150º – 160º F and often have a sanitation final rinse cycle of 180ºF. Even the older models wash at temperatures of at least 120ºF. So your dishes, cutlery, pots and pans will be blasted with the best combination around to ensure any COVID19 virus disappears down the drain. Here are some pointers to get the best out of your dishwasher during this pandemic:
*Check your water temperature settings. In order for your dishwasher to use water as hot as it is designed to use, the temperature setting on your boiler must be set accordingly. Many people have boilers set several levels below the highest. Find out what your boiler is set for and adjust it if needed. You want really hot water in your dishwasher right now.
*Remember that COVID19 can live on surfaces up to 72 hours. That means that stainless steel, glass, ceramics, and plastics could all harbor coronavirus for days. Putting all your dishes through the dishwasher wouldn’t be a bad idea. And put your used items through the dishwasher immediately after the meal. It’s not necessary to wait for the dishwasher to be completely full.
*Choose a grease-specific detergent. All detergents have lipid attacking qualities, so the brand of dishwashing detergent is not critical. However, some detergents advertise as particularly tough on grease. Using one of these may give you even more assurance that your dishwasher is dealing with COVID19.
If you do need to hand wash any of your dishes, use gloves and the hottest water you can stand along with a dishwashing liquid designed to cut through grease. It’s better to use the dishwasher, even for very small loads. At Dave’s Appliance, we want to support your family staying safe during this crisis. Using your dishwasher is a great way to do just that.