Study Finds Clean Bedding Helps Prevent Spread of COVID-19

September 8, 2020

Although many people focus on the airborne quality of the coronavirus as the most common way to spread COVID-19, it can also be spread via surfaces, especially those which people touch for a long period of time. A study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, highlights the importance of handling bedding potentially contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Researchers took swabs from a hotel room where two Chinese students were quarantined three hours after they tested positive for COVID-19. The scientists took samples from pillows, duvet covers, sheets, and towels, as well as doors, faucet handles, light switches, thermometers, television remotes, and toilets.

Out of the 11 samples they collected from each room, eight were positive for the coronavirus. Six were from patient A’s room: on the sheet, duvet cover, pillowcases, and towel. The faucet of patient B’s room tested positive for the coronavirus, as well as the pillowcase. Both the pillow covers and the sheet had a high viral load.

Prolonged contact with an object seemed to lead to higher levels of contamination, as the virus was found on a sheet and pillows but not the door handles and light switches. The researchers advised against shaking linens after stripping beds, to stop the virus spreading. Potentially contaminated items must be thoroughly cleaned and dried.

For more on this study, tune into the below Straight Talk video featuring an interview with Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, the director with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a division of ISSA.