COVID-19 can enter the body and infect someone through the mouth, eyes or nostrils. This is why you need to wash your hands more often and avoid touching your face.
If you're handling clothes of someone who has been experiencing coronavirus symptoms, make sure you don't touch your face and be sure to wash your hands afterwards.
Also avoid shaking up any laundry too much, otherwise you could be spreading the virus through the air.
Coronaviruses are well known to be resilient, but when SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was new, little was understood about how long it lived on different surfaces. But a recent has found that it can survive on clothes for up to two days.
So do you need to wash your clothes every time you come home from being out? Not exactly. If you have remained two meters away from other people, and haven't sat on or grazed past any surfaces, or if no one has coughed near you, then you shouldn't need to. If you do, it's a good idea to.
It's not known how long coronavirus lives on floors and shoes, and hence whether you could walk it into your home. If you are concerned about this, remove your shoes as soon as you enter your home.
The NHS lays out some exceptions that you may want to wash separately, at a higher temperature and with a bleach-based detergent - such as a biological powder for whites.
Clothes which come into contact with a lot of bodily fluids, such as sportswear, will have a great number of germs on, so could pose a greater risk.
Also avoid wearing sportswear more than once between washes.
Shared towels in your home can harbour many germs, so could quickly spread coronavirus.
Wash shared towels often and at 60°C .
If there is someone who is self-isolating or at risk, make sure they use their own separate towel.
Any items that come into contact with vomit or faeces are a germ risk.
The most common of these will be baby clothes, which you'll need to wash separately at 60°C to avoid spreading germs to your child.
Coronavirus doesn't mean you have to worry unduly about cleaning your washing machine. Simply following the clothes washing advice above should be sufficient.
You can continue to clean your washing machine as you normally would to keep it running smoothly.
Dettol and Dr Beckmann washing machine cleaners both claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria. All washing machine cleaners should kill bacteria, though, thanks a variety of anti-bacterial ingredients, most commonly oxygen-based bleaching agents.
Don't use regular household bleach to clean your washing machine, as this can damage and erode the rubber seals inside.
If you don't have the luxury of your own washing machine, the government warns that you need to wait a further 72 hours after your seven-day isolation period has ended before going to the launderette.
You might also want to follow this guidance if you normally use a shared washing machine in a block of flats, for example.