The best source on how to effectively clean and disinfect your home during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve gathered essential information to fight coronavirus pandemic. Please read the information below for details
Keeping your home clean by regularly sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces is necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones from the coronavirus and to prevent you from spreading the virus to someone else. While transmission from person-to-person poses a much greater risk compared to transmission via surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that we clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in our homes at least once every day, especially if you or a member of your household has gone outside or had contact with someone from outside your home.
Cleaning and Disinfecting – Is There a Difference?
In order to effectively keep your home safe from this deadly virus, you will need to understand that cleaning and disinfecting it are two different tasks and both of these are essential. Cleaning refers to removing germs and dirt from surfaces. This process does not kill germs, but it removes or reduces the number of germs and thereby lowers the risk of infection. Disinfecting, on the other hand, involves the use of chemicals to kill germs. Aside from frequently cleaning and disinfecting your home, the CDC also recommends the use of EPA-registered disinfectants to effectively get rid of pathogens, specifically the coronavirus.
Start with High-Touch Surfaces in Your Home
According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the new coronavirus can survive for several hours in air particles and for days on surfaces. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UCLA, and Princeton University found that the coronavirus can survive in aerosols (solid or liquid particles that are suspended in the air, such as fog, dust, and gas commonly used in medical procedures like ventilation and nebulizers) for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.
Given these recent findings to combat coronavirus pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces is a step we all need to take. Even if you have been staying home and getting your goods delivered instead, there is some possibility of exposure. So, what are high-touch surfaces around the house that you need to clean and disinfect daily? In general, these would be:
- Light switches
- Tabletops (dining table, work desk)
- Chairs (seat, back, and arms)
- Kitchen counters
- Bathroom counters
- Toilet seats and handles
- TV remote controls
- Game controllers
How to Safely and Effectively Clean and Disinfect Your Home
Always wear reusable or disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting your home. Use soap and water when cleaning surfaces, followed by a disinfectant. Make sure to clean frequently touched surfaces, such as the ones mentioned above at least once a day.
When disinfecting areas in your home, use EPA-registered household disinfectants and be sure to read and follow the instructions on the label. Always wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards. Make sure that there is adequate ventilation. Never mix chemical products, as this might result to toxic gases. Once you’re done, store these out of the reach of children and pets.
In case the household disinfectants recommended by the CDC are not available, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used. You can also prepare a bleach solution and use this for disinfecting hard surfaces. Before you prepare the bleach solution, check the label and see if your bleach is intended for disinfection and has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5% to 6%. You will also need to check if your bleach is not past its expiration date. Once you have checked that your bleach may be used for disinfecting, you can prepare the bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons or 1/3rd cup of bleach with a gallon of room temperature water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach with one quart of room temperature water. Your bleach solution will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours. Check the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and ventilation. Leave the bleach solution on the surface for at least one minute. Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
How to Clean and Disinfect Soft (Porous) Surfaces at Home
When cleaning soft (porous) surfaces at home, such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, first remove any visible dirt and clean with appropriate cleaners. After cleaning, wash the items following the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, use the warmest appropriate water setting for these items and let them dry completely.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Clothes, Towels, Linens and Other Similar Items
Washing your clothes, towels, and linens with the usual detergents that you normally use can effectively disinfect these. Always wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions, use the warmest appropriate water setting, and dry these completely.
To ensure your safety and to prevent spreading contaminants within your laundry area, there are a few things you will need to take note of and practice. For one, you will need to wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick. There’s no need to wash dirty laundry from a person who is sick separately, these can be washed with other people’s laundry. Transfer dirty laundry carefully from the hamper to the washing machine. Refrain from shaking dirty laundry to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Clean and disinfect clothes hampers using the appropriate cleaning and disinfecting agents, then remove your gloves and wash your hands right away.
The process of how to disinfect your home may seem to be such an overwhelming task, especially since we are advised to do these on a daily basis. However, if this would mean being protected from the deadly coronavirus, then the additional time and effort to do these chores would definitely be worth it. Remember, cleaning and disinfecting your home would involve two separate processes and both are essential in preventing you and your loved ones from getting ill, so be sure to do these religiously.