Medical professionals say handwashing and social distancing are some of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

But can the virus live on clothing and fabrics?

According to Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease physician and chief of staff at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital, most people shouldn’t be overly concerned about immediately washing clothing worn outside. But if it brings you peace, it’s good practice to do so.

READ MORE: Coronavirus can last on surfaces for days — experts say cleaning is key

“I don’t think the clothing you’re walking around with on a regular basis is going to be a big cause of concern,” Gardam said.

“That being said, I can’t absolutely prove that [people] could never get infected through contaminated clothing.

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“My advice to people is that I don’t think it’s a big deal, but if this is something that bothers you, then do something about it.”


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Healthcare workers and those who are still working for essential businesses, however, could be an exception, Gardam said. They may worry about bringing the virus home to their family if an item they were wearing or using in the hospital became contaminated.

2:19Parks Canada closing national parks to vehicle traffic amid coronavirus pandemic

Parks Canada closing national parks to vehicle traffic amid coronavirus pandemic

For people working in high-risk environments,

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