During the first couple of months of the pandemic, people went to great lengths to keep their homes sterile. Before entering, they removed their shoes and coats and sterilized their groceries and delivery packages. Now that we understand more about COVID019, we can forego this painful process and put our priorities where they matter: using a mask that’s in good shape and washing our hands often. But what about our winter coats?

Coats are usually worn actively for about four months out of the year, and then discarded once spring has sprung. Their cleanliness is up to whoever wears them, ranging from a dry cleaning session at the start of the season, to the very diligent and expensive decision to have them cleaned once or twice a week.

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Photo by Frederica Diamanta via Unsplash

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has explained how the virus is transmitted, claiming that it’s unlikely for you to catch it when having contact with contaminated surfaces, like your coat. The most straightforward way of catching the virus is through the nose and mouth, so unless you normally deeply sniff your coat or lick the sleeves, you should be fine. Even if you did lick and sniff your coat, for it to be sufficiently contaminated, it would have to have been in direct contact with an infected person, who was sneezing or drooling all over it. You get the picture, it’s unlikely.

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Still, it pays to be careful with this virus, especially now that there’s new variants to account for. When going out on essential trips, say to the grocery store or to the doctor, you can leave your coat away from your clothes in a hanger, and let it sit there for a couple of days. Wash your hands after interacting with them.

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This precaution doesn’t ask much in terms of changing your behavior, but it allows you to be extra safe and for the passage of time to get rid of the bacteria that could be sitting there. By keeping your coat isolated, you’ll ensure that your other clothes stay clean and that the majority of your home remains decontaminated.

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