Rent the Runway emailed customers about how it cleans its worn clothing as coronavirus fears spread across the US

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  • Rent the Runway has joined a growing number of retailers sharing coronavirus prevention plans and updates.
  • On Wednesday afternoon, it sent an email to customers to “proactively provide details and additional transparency” around garment cleaning.
  • “While scientific information is still developing, we have no reason to believe that our processes are ineffective against COVID-19,” the email states.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rent the Runway has become the latest in a series of retailers speaking out about their coronavirus prevention plans.

In an email sent to customers on Wednesday, the rental company stated its plan to “proactively provide details and additional transparency” around its cleaning processes. The email points to growing worries among consumers using rental services, which unlike traditional retailers include worn clothing being transferred among multiple parties.

Though the email cites a Harvard Health study that shows there is no evidence the coronavirus can be transmitted from soft surfaces like fabric or carpet, it still outlines the various techniques Rent the Runway uses to clean its items. One such method includes a steaming process at a temperature of between 248°F and 302°F, well above the 167°F necessary to kill flu strains as delineated by the CDC.

Rent the Runway also wrote that it is continuing to thoroughly clean its garment bags and accessories using alcohol and disinfectant.

“Our cleaning agents and practices are designed to kill viruses such as the common cold and flu,” the email reads. “While scientific information is still developing, we have no reason to believe that our processes are ineffective against COVID-19.”

The email did not mention possible shipment delays in the email, though it did link to additional details about its cleaning processes on its website. The email comes as several retailers in the US have begun speaking out about enhanced health and safety plans, contingency strategies for employees, and the possibility of negative impact to business.

“Our customers have always been our number one priority,” the email reads. “We will continue to monitor the data and recommendations from the CDC and WHO and update our practices as needed.”

Read the full email Rent the Runway sent to customers:

Dear RTR Customers –

In light of developments regarding COVID-19, we want to proactively provide details and additional transparency around our cleaning processes.

First, according to Harvard Health, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from soft surfaces like fabric or carpet to humans. In addition, our cleaning agents and practices are designed to kill viruses such as the common cold and flu. While scientific information is still developing, we have no reason to believe that our processes are ineffective against COVID-19.

The teams in our fulfillment centers will continue to use a variety of techniques to ensure that each garment is thoroughly cleaned, steamed and pressed, inspected for quality, and carefully packaged so that it arrives ready to wear. All garments go through a wet or dry cleaning process. They also go through an additional steaming process which heats items to between 248°F and 302°F with the exception of faux fur, select outerwear, leather and faux leather garments, which still go through our standard cleaning processes. According to the CDC, flu viruses are killed by heat above 167°F. Every garment is then enclosed in plastic for protection and cleanliness, which we ask customers to return for recycling.

In addition, all of our reusable garment bags and accessories are thoroughly cleaned after every use. Sunglasses and jewelry are cleaned with alcohol, and handbags and accessories packaging are cleaned with disinfectant after they are returned to us.

Our customers have always been our number one priority. We will continue to monitor the data and recommendations from the CDC and WHO and update our practices as needed. Please visit our FAQs for any additional questions.

Thank you, Team RTR