- There have been no documented cases of transmission of the novel coronavirus via clothing and shoes at this point.
- If you are taking care of or frequently in close proximity to an individual with COVID-19, doing laundry often is an essential part of preventive hygiene.
- This includes, in particular, high risk individuals such as healthcare workers.
- Most household detergents are sufficient to kill the virus when doing laundry.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about this virus, and we are learning more about it every day. But this is our current understanding: If you are out for a run in your neighborhood or making a quick visit to the grocery store, it is highly unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 via your clothes or shoes. We don’t believe shoes or clothing are a significant source of transmission,” Dr. Vincent Hsu, MPH, a board-certified internal medicine, infectious diseases, and preventive medicine physician at AdventHealth in Orlando
Shoes tend to be a lot dirtier than clothing just by their very nature. As such they are more likely to carry bacteria and other contaminants into the home.
Nonetheless, experts agree that they are an unlikely source of transmission of the novel coronavirus. And that’s because we already treat shoes how they should be treated.
“What we usually do with shoes is already protective. We don’t put our shoes on the kitchen table. We don’t put shoes in our mouths. They aren’t high touch areas. So, our daily patterns already reflect our management of shoes as dirty objects,” said Jordan.
But you can take additional safety measures to ensure that contaminants don’t enter your home, by cleaning off your shoes and either leaving them at the door or by creating a designated area safely away from social areas of your home to leave shoes and other outerwear.