Question: Is it possible to get an STD from using the same laundry dryer?

Anon: I used a public dryer and saw that there were homeless people using it too just curious should I just not wear the clothes or should I be fine??

iSeeGP: If clothes were washed already and drying together – no chance.

Anon: But what if they just threw their clothes in without washing them cuz it was raining all night could someone get an std.

iSeeGP: This will depend on the temperature that was set in the dryer. For example, microorganisms similar to Chlamydia die at 121°C for at least 15 min and with low-temperature sterilization, it takes longer to die. Bacteria causing Gonorrhea dies at 55°C for 5 minutes.

Viruses (HIV, Herpes, Hep C) live even shorter as the viruses have no cellular membrane.

Sorry for being a bit scientific but I passed microbiology at med school rather well.

Anon: Can it spread then? I heard that these STDs don’t last long outside of the body how long till it’s no more infectious? I also put my clothes on highest temp for about 15 mins or around there

iSeeGP: Correct. STDs are not living long outside the body. It is safe to assume that you are fine.

Syphilis can be transmitted via bongs and glasses but with pretty much immediate use. I have put together a little free resource to make it easy to understand what STDs can be transmitted and how. It is here.

Anon: Thanks I appreciate it.

Notes by iSeeGP.

This is the second time we have been asked this question in a week. Obviously, using the community laundry causes some anxiety for some persons. There is simple advice. If you must use the community laundry:

  1. Check if the barrel of the dryer is empty and visibly clean.
  2. Use high-temperature drying.
  3. If some of the clothes are not completely dry after one cycle – repeat the cycle.