How to Clean and Disinfect your Homes to Avoid Getting Coronavirus
Based on what we currently know about coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19), spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, but disease transmission via infectious aerosols is currently uncertain.
Current evidence suggests that the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.
It is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious. Facilities will need to consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system design (including flowrate [air changes per hour] and location of supply and exhaust vents) when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection.
Taking measures to improve ventilation in an area or room where someone was ill or suspected to be ill with COVID-19 will help shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be removed from the air.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the following recommendations for routine cleaning and disinfection of households.
Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics (see below for special electronics cleaning and disinfection instructions)) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectant that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
For electronics follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics. If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
How to clean and disinfect
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 and that are suitable for porous surfaces.
For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
Hand hygiene and other preventive measures
Household members should clean hands often by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Additional key times to clean hands include:
After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
After using the restroom
Before eating or preparing food
After contact with animals or pets
Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html
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