How to Wash Clothing With Shingles

The virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. According to the VZV Research Foundation, "Shingles cannot be caught from a shingles sufferer 2. Nor can a person catch shingles if exposed to someone with chickenpox. However, a person who has never had chickenpox can come down with chickenpox if he or she is exposed to the shingles rash." Contaminated clothing rarely spreads the infection, but should be carefully cleaned. Regular washing and drying can kill the shingles virus.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Load the washing machine

Wear rubber gloves and load the infected clothing into the washing machine. Throw the gloves away after completing the task.

Choose the hot temperature setting and add the recommended amount of laundry detergent and disinfectant to the wash load. Some clothing should not be bleached so use liquid Lysol or Pine-Sol instead of diluted chlorine bleach. Start the washing machine.

When the wash load is done, place the wet laundry in the dryer and run on high heat for at least 20 minutes.


Chlorine bleach may damage clothes. Always read the clothing labels before adding bleach to a wash load.