COVID-19 Home Cleaning Tips

Covid-19 tips: How to clean your home

The house cleaning plan largely follows guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coronavirus can live on different surfaces, some for upwards of 3 days or even longer (Source: NIH and New England Journal of Medicine).

The coronavirus can live on surfaces for several days. Here’s how to clean and disinfect your home properly to stay safe. The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily.

Things like doorknobs, light switches, phones, remotes, keyboards, kids’ toys, faucets, sinks and toilets.

To help keep the virus out of your home, follow these guidelines:

#1 Clean surfaces

Use a detergent or soap and water

#2 Disinfect to kill any pathogens

Using chemicals like Clorox actually kills germs on surfaces, not just removes debris

Make sure to use an EPA approved disinfectant, since not all products kill this coronavirus

Can’t find disinfectant wipes or cleaning solutions?

Bleach:

A homemade mixture of bleach and water can be used if appropriate for the surface.

Bleach can be diluted with cold water to make an effective disinfectant against bacteria, fungi and many viruses including coronaviruses. You can typically use ¼ cup of bleach per 1 gallon of cold water – but be sure to follow the directions on the label of your bleach. Make dilute bleach solution as needed and use it within 24 hours, as its disinfecting ability fades with time.

Non-porous items like plastic toys can be immersed in bleach for 30 seconds. Household surfaces that won’t be damaged by bleach should get 10 or more minutes of exposure.

Bleach solutions are very hard on the skin, and should not be used as a substitute for handwashing and/or hand sanitizer.

Alcohol:

Alcohol in many forms, including rubbing alcohol, can be effective for killing many pathogens. You can dilute alcohol with water (or aloe vera to make hand sanitizer) but be sure to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% to kill coronaviruses. Many hand sanitizers have a concentration of about 60% alcohol, and Lysol contains about 80%; these are all effective against coronaviruses.

Solutions of 70% alcohol should be left on surfaces for 30 seconds (including cellphones – but check the advice of the phone manufacturer to make sure you don’t void the warranty) to ensure they will kill viruses. Pure (100%) alcohol evaporates too quickly for this purpose.

Containers of 70% alcohol should be sealed to prevent evaporation. But unlike bleach solutions, they will remain potent as long as they are sealed between uses.

A 70% alcohol solution with water will be very harsh on your hands and should not be used as a substitute for handwashing and/or hand sanitizer.

Hydrogen peroxide:

Hydrogen peroxide is typically sold in concentrations of about 3%. It can be used as is, or diluted to 0.5% concentration for effective use against coronaviruses on surfaces. It should be left on surfaces for one minute before wiping.

Natural chemicals (vinegar or tea tree oil):

Vinegar, tea tree oil and other natural products are not recommended for fighting coronaviruses. A study on influenza virus found that cleaning with a 10% solution of malt vinegar was effective, but few other studies have found vinegar to be able to kill a significant fraction of viruses or other microbes. While tea tree oil may help control the virus that causes cold sores, there is no evidence that it can kill coronaviruses.

If you don’t’ have gloves handy, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds afterwards.

Whatever cleaning solution you use, let it remain in contact with the surface long enough to kill viruses and other pathogens. The time needed will depend on the chemical.

#3 Wash clothing

For laundry use the warmest water setting and dry items completely.

Don’t forget to clean and disinfect your hamper/or wash the bag dirty clothes are kept in.

Or, CDC recommends lining your hamper with plastic, disposable bags

#4 Disinfect Packages

While there is no evidence that Covid-19 is being spread by the mail, the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours.

#5 Wash your Hands

And lastly, you guessed it, wash your hands!

Very important that anyone returning from out-of-town travel should wash all of their clothes as soon as he or she gets home.

Remove shoes when walking inside from outdoors. Anyone stopping by the house needs to immediately take their shoes off upon entering and proceed directly to washing their hands.

If someone in your home is sick with flu-like symptoms, consider regularly disinfecting objects in your home since SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to survive for 16 hours on plastics.

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. The study information was widely shared during the past two weeks after the researchers placed the contents on a preprint server to quickly share their data with colleagues.

The findings affirm the guidance from public health professionals to use precautions similar to those for influenza and other respiratory viruses to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2:

 “Dr. David Price on how to prevent COVID-19 from spreading: Clean hands and do ‘not touch your face, period’”

Price offered two practical tips to keep you, your family and your friends from getting the coronavirus.

“Become a hand Nazi. Everything you know about your hands, just keep it clean and you will not get this disease,” Price said. “The second thing is you have to start psychologically working on the connection between your hands and your face.”

“The ways that you get this is the transmission of the virus almost exclusively from your hands to your face, from your hands to your face and inside your eyes, into your nose or into your mouth,” Price explained. “So there’s a lot of talk about contact or getting it through contacts, hands to face.”

Additional Precaution:

–          Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

–          Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

–          Stay home when you are sick.

–          Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

–          Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. The doctor also addressed the idea that the virus is transmitted by “long sustained contact” or through the air. “There’s also a small thought that it can be aerosolized, that it can kind of exist a little bit in the air,” Price said. “The thought at this point is that you actually have to have very long sustained contact with someone. And I’m talking about over 15 to 30 minutes in an unprotected environment, meaning you’re in a very closed room without any type of mask for you to get it that way.”

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