There’s been a ton of speculation on how COVID-19 spreads and if it lives on surfaces. Consequently, many have resorted to more in-depth cleaning regimen to minimize the life of the virus if it enters their home.
Wondering if you’re properly tidying up your home to keep the germs away?
Here are some coronavirus cleaning tips that will help keep you and your family safe and healthy.
General Household Cleaning Tips
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you implement these cleaning tips amid the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily.
Think doorknobs, light switches, cabinet pulls, toilet handles, faucet handles, countertops, tables and chairs. What’s the easiest way to get the job done? Apply soap and water to the dirty surface, followed by a household disinfectant. Consider wearing disposable gloves to shield your hands from direct exposure to dirt and germs. Also, read the instructions on the cleaning product label and comply with the suggestions when applying the disinfectant to the surface.
Unable to use household disinfectant because you don’t have it handy? Bleach and alcohol solutions are both a viable alternative. You can create a bleach solution by combining:
- 5 tablespoons of bleach with a gallon of water, or
- 4 tablespoons of bleach with a quart of water
Prefer to use alcohol and water to clean? If the solution you create contains at least 70% alcohol, you should be good to go.
Important!! Never mix alcohol and bleach together. Rubbing alcohol contains ethanol and isopropyl, which when mixed with bleach creates chloroform, a toxic compound that emits toxic and corrosive fumes. The CDC warns that inhaling chloroform can cause serious harm to your body. And always make sure you’re cleaning in a well ventilated area. Open the window!
2. Remove the germs from electronics.
It’s also a good idea to disinfect phones, tablets, and TV remotes daily, as they tend to frequently pass through the hands of multiple family members on a given day. Don’t forget about keyboards if you’re working from home, or if your children are engaging in distance learning. Disinfectant wipes or a paper towel lightly sprayed with cleaner works well for cleaning these items.
3. Disinfect floors and carpets regularly.
Household disinfectants that are registered with the EPA will suffice for cleaning rugs, carpet, and floors. Otherwise, you can use soap and water to clean and disinfect these soft and hard surfaces.
If you need to clean and disinfect drapes or curtains, consider washing them in the machine with hot water and drying on high heat.
4. Use warm water when doing laundry.
Wash clothes after each wear using warm water. Be sure to dry the items thoroughly before putting them away, as this helps kill off nasty germs. Once the laundry is complete, if you want to be extra germ-free, you can clean and disinfect the laundry hampers using a homemade disinfecting solution described above or a household spray.
How to Clean When Someone Is Sick
1. Clean and disinfect the area on an as-needed basis.
You want to limit contact with the infected individual as much as possible. If a person in a household is sick, they should try to stay in their room and minimize how much they touch around the house. To keep yourself safe, only clean areas around someone in quarantine isolation when it is absolutely necessary and be sure to wear a mask and disposable gloves.
2. Designate a trash can for the infected individual.
Line the trash can with an empty bag for an added layer of protection. If the infected individual is unable to take out the trash when it’s full, put on disposable gloves so you will not have direct contact with the bag.
3. Wash dishes in hot water.
Whether you use the dishwasher or hand wash the dishes, soap and hot water is a must. Consider using disposable dishes for your family member in quarantine.
Should You Clean Packages and Groceries?
Now for the million-dollar question: Should you disinfect your packages and grocery deliveries?
Buying Your Own Groceries, Grocery Delivery, and Produce
It’s your call if you want to spend hours wiping down each item you purchased from the grocery store, but it’s not a must according to many health experts. However, you should wash your hands after placing your groceries where they belong, toss the bags, and disinfect the surface where you unpacked the items.
The same applies when receiving groceries. You want to avoid contact with the individual dropping your items off, tip electronically, and follow the same hand-washing regimen.
Worried about produce being contaminated? Wash the items in cold water to eradicate the germs. If you want to give them a little scrub, consider using a vegetable brush.
Takeout food is often largely viewed as safe when it’s picked up or dropped off while keeping at least 6 feet of distance. Some folks feel safer by emptying their takeout into their own dishes at home and heating the food up to kill any germs. Whatever you do, wash your hands before you eat or touch the food!
Mail and Packages
How about mail and packages? According to the CDC, the risk of getting COVID-19 from mail or delivery packages is low. But it’s best to wash or sanitize your hands for 20 seconds or more immediately after checking the mail or handling the package just to be safe.
An Important Note
Cleaning your home is equally as important as practicing proper hand hygiene when attempting to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Anytime you finish cleaning and remove gloves, you should immediately clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The same rule applies if you’re in contact with a sick individual.
No soap and water on hand? You can use hand sanitizer as a viable substitute if at least 70% of the solution is comprised of alcohol.