You’ll be relieved to hear that, to date, there have been no documented cases of transmission of COVID19 via clothing or shoes. Most household laundry detergents are sufficient to kill any traces of the virus when doing the washing. So, you won’t land in the soup!
Here’s what the publicly available information tells us about COVID and preloved clothing. Clothing is low risk. As an airborne virus, it is known that droplets, where evident, can land on all sorts of surfaces. And, depending on the surface, experts estimate that the virus can survive for a few hours to a few days. We all know that hard surfaces like metal and plastic can provide a haven for the virus for up to 2-3 days, but the good news is that clothing, which is more mesh-like, is not considered a material conducive to its survival.
What about shoes? By their very nature, shoes tend to be dirtier than clothing. In ordinary circumstances, shoes are more likely to carry bacteria and contaminants around. Nonetheless, experts agree that shoes are an unlikely source of transmission of the virus. What we do with our shoes is already protective…we already manage them as dirty objects and they aren’t high touch areas when being worn.
When shopping secondhand wearables it’s likely that the clothing – depending on where you shop – has been laundered and aired. Personalised marketplaces, where the owner of the clothing and shoe collection is right in front of you, can give you the opportunity to ask the questions you need about their collections to ensure you feel safe. You can take comfort in the knowledge that their pieces aren’t an unknown quantity. At these kinds of markets, experience tells us that stallholders generally take pride in displaying quality, clean and well-looked after pieces.
The bottom line. We all know that direct transmission from person to person is still believed to be the primary form of exposure, and there’s minimal chance of the virus surviving on clothing or shoes and being transmitted to others.