The government’s decision to open schools in September has evoked many questions and worries for parents. Amidst the threat of subsequent coronavirus waves, this decision is not going well with some families. Moreover, recent reports that suggest coronavirus can survive on fabrics for up to 3 days has necessitated having a well-streamlined washing routine, especially for school uniforms.
Although with proper social distancing and hand sanitization at regular intervals, children are less likely to catch the virus. Hence, experts brush away the need for washing school uniforms after every use. However, they recommend changing into supplementary uniforms throughout the week.
Here’s what laundry experts suggest-
- Don’t just clean, but disinfect the clothes
Experts suggest that it’s important to disinfect the clothes rather than just cleaning their surface.
Cleaning will remove superficial dirt and germs, whereas disinfecting the clothes properly using chemicals can arrest the spread of bacteria and viruses as the chemicals tend to kill germs and prevent their multiplication.
It is important not to overdo it because an excess of chemical use can cause other problems.
- Wash clothes at a high temperature
Several studies showed that heat helps in deactivating germs. To disinfect the uniform, wash it at a high temperature, as high as 60 degrees Celsius. Heat won’t just kill the bacteria but can also enhance the efficacy of the detergent.
Use bleach-based detergents (powder, bar, or liquid) and wear gloves while washing.
- Do not shake the uniform
Shaking the uniform will enhance the chances of spreading the virus through air. Make sure not to shake the clothes and dry them in a tumble dryer.
According to experts, a damp environment catalyzes the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and hence, it’s important to dry clothes thoroughly.
- Disinfect the blazer too
Blazers aren’t washed as regularly as other clothing items.
Washing them at a cool temperature in a washing machine can effectively remove odors and stains but doesn’t disinfect the blazer. Moreover, drying them in a tumble dryer damages their thick fabric. Hence, it is preferable to disinfect a blazer via steam cleaning.
Use a steam cleaner and blast the steam on its surface. Make sure the temperature is over 60 degrees Celsius. A steam-generating iron may be used for this purpose.
If a steam cleaner or iron is not available, the uniform can be sent to reliable uniform laundry services.
- Disinfect the PE kits
The strict regulations of many governments prohibit schools from letting their students play contact sports. However, teachers are allowed to deliver PE lessons with proper social distancing. This necessitates exercising extra caution while washing PE kits.
Be sure to carefully wash and disinfect the child’s PE kit after every use.
- Wash bags and pencil cases
Just like uniforms and PE kits, school bags and pencil kits are also at risk. Moreover, bags are exposed to various surfaces, which make them a breeding ground for germs. On top of that, they aren’t washed frequently.
Experts stress the importance of washing and sanitizing schoolbags and pencil cases frequently.
If a child uses a fabric bag, wash it in a washing machine, and use the similar disinfecting process used for clothes. Leather bags or bags made from delicate materials should be cleaned with disinfectant wipes or sprays. Let the bag dry completely before use.
Similarly, fabric pencil cases can be washed in a washing machine, at high temperature, using a strong bleach-based detergent.
Experts add that children should be advised to keep their school bags on their laps while traveling in public transport (school bus) and not to share their stationery items with others.
If these measures are kept in mind, children will stay safe.
All this said, it should be noted that humans are microbial organisms that rely on good bacteria in the gut, throughout the body and on the skin. Studies show that overzealous use of antibacterial agents and medications such as antibiotics can have devastating consequences.