The clothes laundering process affords numerous opportunities for dissemination of infectious virus from contaminated clothing to appliance surfaces and other household surfaces and eventually to launderer’s hands. We have explored the efficacy of laundry sanitizers for inactivating coronaviruses and influenza viruses. Virucidal efficacy was tested using standardized suspension inactivation methods (EN 14476) or hard-surface inactivation methods (ASTM E1053-20) against SARS-CoV-2, human coronavirus 229E (HCoV 229E), influenza A virus (2009-H1N1 A/Mexico), or influenza B virus (B/Hong Kong). Efficacy was measured in terms of log10 reduction in infectious virus titer, after 15 min contact time (suspension studies) or 5 min contact time (hard surface studies) at 20 ± 1 °C. In liquid suspension studies, laundry sanitizers containing p-chloro-m-xylenol (PCMX) or quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) caused complete inactivation (≥ 4 log10) of HCoV 229E and SARS-CoV-2 within 15 min contact time at 20 ± 1 °C. In hard surface studies, complete inactivation (≥ 4 log10) of each coronavirus or influenza virus, including SARS-CoV-2, was observed following a 5-min contact time at 20 ± 1 °C. Respiratory viruses may remain infectious on clothing/fabrics and environmental surfaces for hours to days. The use of a laundry sanitizer containing microbicidal actives may afford mitigation of the risk of contamination of surfaces during handling of the laundry and washing appliances (i.e., washer/dryer or basin), adjacent surfaces, the waste water stream, and the hands of individuals handling clothes contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, influenza viruses, or other emerging enveloped viruses.
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