Home Cleaning & Maintenance Research Proves Tendency for Virus to Cling to Bed Linens

Research Proves Tendency for Virus to Cling to Bed Linens


When cleaning your guestrooms after a guest has left pay special attention to the linens. In case you missed it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month released the results of some Chinese researchers indicating significant spread of the Coronavirus on sheets and pillow cases by presymptomatic travelers—a very good reason not to used shake linens upon removal from a bed.

The researchers studied two travelers who had been transferred to a hotel for a 14-day quarantine. They stayed at the hotel for just one night before being transferred to a hospital after symptoms began to appear.

Approximately three hours after the two patients were identified as positive for the Coronavirus, researchers sampled the environmental surfaces of the two rooms in the centralized quarantine hotel in which they had stayed.

Swabbing Methodology

Researchers used a sterile polyester-tipped applicator, premoistened in viral transport medium, to sample the surfaces of the door handle, light switch, faucet handle, thermometer, television remote, pillow cover, duvet cover, sheet, towel, bathroom door handle, and toilet seat and flushing button. They also collected control swab samples from one unoccupied room. They collected each sample by swabbing each individual surface.

Researchers collected a total of 22 samples from the two rooms of the quarantine hotel. Eight (36%) samples were positive. Six (55%) of 11 samples collected from the room of patient A were positive. Surface samples collected from the sheet, duvet cover, pillow cover, and towel tested positive, and surface samples collected from the pillow cover and sheet had a high viral load. One surface sample from the faucet in patient B’s room was positive. Again, they detected Coronavirus from the surface samples of the pillow cover. All control swab samples were negative.

In their conclusions, the researchers emphasize that it did not take long for contamination to spread—less than 24 by presymptomatic travelers. Also, the researchers found more virus on the linens than they did anything else in the guestroom. I guess that would make sense given each guest spent hours in their respective beds.

Click here to read the findings from the study.