The truth about COVID-19 on second-hand clothing.
It is normal to wonder whether it is safe to buy and use second-hand clothing during this pandemic. Many must be asking themselves “Can the virus be spread through clothes?” The Bureau of International Recycling argues that it is unlikely that second-hand clothing can be infected by the coronavirus. There are many factors that ensure that the virus does not spread through clothing; including the amount of time the virus can survive outside of the body and the decontamination procedures in place.
The virus can only survive from a couple hours up to 72 hours outside of the body, even on hard surfaces. With the known research it can be assumed that the virus can survive on clothing for up to 24 hours. However, the amount of time it takes for the second-hand clothing to reach its end markets, is longer than the amount of time the virus can remain outside of the body. Based on available evidence, it is highly unlikely that the virus could be transmitted through clothing. That being said for each individual’s peace of mind, it is recommended to wash clothes prior to wearing.
From way before the COVID-19 outbreak, thrift stores have taken measures to keep a clean and healthy environment in their facilities. During this pandemic, these procedures have just heightened. As thrift stores begin to open up around the world, they have implemented new protocols to ensure the virus is not transmitted to any of their stakeholders. For instance, the clothes collected from bins usually stay 72 hours in trailers before getting into the warehouse. Also, thrift stores disinfect the workplace several times a day, all the employees use protective masks and gloves, and they assure social distancing by establishing a maximum capacity inside their facilities.
All in all, the recycling industry has worked really hard to adapt their processes to all the challenges that COVID19 has brought up. As consumers, let’s bear in mind that we are not facing risk whenever we buy second hand, but we are helping to build a green economy on the globe.