Can You Get COVID-19 From Your Clothing?

In our series "What's the Risk?", experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 07, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Laleh Rezaie asks: 

“Can coronavirus get on my clothes? What's the risk?”

We asked the experts: Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, an infectious disease physician and chief medical officer for Northwestern Medicine's northwest region; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine.

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from clothing is low-risk. 

"In general, though, I would say the risk is very low, especially if you're just out in the community and walking around. Very low," Cary said. 

"It's possible if somebody coughed or sneezed onto your clothing that the virus could persist there for a minute. And if that is the case, then change those clothes, because they're dirty. But if you were just walking around it, the risk of you developing coronavirus just walking in the community is low," Marcelin said. 

"The one circumstance is if you're taking care of somebody, a loved one in the same house, and they are actively having coronavirus. ... That, you know, in those situations taking care of their linens and their laundry has a higher burden of germs on it," Hafiz said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to You can see answers to other questions here