The world is starting to feel surreal now that all places deemed ‘non-essential’ are closed and we are all being asked to social distance and self-quarantine due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Though you cannot control everything that is going on outside to keep you and your loved ones healthy, there is one place you can control – the home. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that we all take steps to deep clean and sanitize the high traffic areas of our homes. Keeping your home and yourself sanitized helps everyone. We researched the best in-depth practices to keep yourself and everything else clean and virus free. Here are 10 ways to deep clean your home during the COVID-19 quarantine.
*NOTE: For all cleaning, the CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves. Be sure to wash your hands as soon as you remove the gloves.
- High Touch Surfaces: Surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, toilets, and even phones are considered high touch surfaces. For any surfaces, the CDC states that it is best to FIRST clean using soap and water THEN disinfect. It has been proven that soap is able to clean better than sanitizer alone. After cleaning with soap and water, use a household disinfectant. If using an alcohol solution, make sure it contains at least 70% alcohol. The EPA has a list of preferred disinfectants.
- Follow the instructions on the label for best results. You may use diluted household bleach solutions if it is appropriate for the surface, make sure to leave it on the surface for at least one minute.
- Want to make your own bleach solution? Just ad ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.
- Soft Surface: Carpet, rugs, and drapes are soft surfaces. You can either use soap and water or an appropriate cleaner designated for the item being cleaned. If possible, launder the items using the warmest appropriate water setting and then dry them completely. You can also use an appropriate EPA-registered household disinfectant.
- Electronics: Tablets, keyboards, remote controls, and touchscreens are known to hold 10 times more germs than a toilet seat! To protect yourself from unnecessary contact with germs, consider putting a wipeable cover on your electronics. Clean them regularly bu following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. If you cannot find any instructions, the CDC recommends using alcohol-based wipes or sprays that contain at least 70% alcohol and then dry the surface thoroughly.
- Laundry: Whether it is clothes, towels, or linens, you should still wear disposable gloves. Do not shake the dirty laundry as it releases dirt and grime into the air and onto other surfaces. When laundering the items, use the warmest appropriate water setting according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After washing, be sure to completely dry the items before using them again. It is also important to clean (soap and water) and the disinfect (household disinfectant) laundry hampers. For an extra precaution, launder items worn to the store or other public place as soon as you get home.
NOTE: You can wash dirty laundry from a sick person with other people’s items.
IF SOMEONE IS SICK
- Trash: Have a dedicated, lined trash bin for the sick person. Use gloves when removing, handling, and disposing of the trash. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
- Dishes: Wash all dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water or in a dishwasher. Clean your hands after handling disposable or non-disposable food service items.
- Bathroom: Clean all surfaces (sink, counter, toilet, faucet, etc) with soap and water, and then use a household disinfectant after each use of the sick person. If it is not possible to clean directly after each use, the CDC recommends waiting as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.
- Keep Shoes Outside: It has been proven that the coronavirus (COVID-19) can live up to 9 hours on asphalt and can live on shoes for up to 5 days. In order to reduce risk and the spread of the virus (and other germs) in your home, designate a place outside the front door to leave your shoes. If you cannot leave your shoes outside, have a box or storage bin by the door where everyone can take off their shoes before wandering through the home.
- Clean Hands Often: Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Make sure to always wash your hands immediately after removing gloves or after being in contact with a sick person.
- Key Times to Clean Hands Include:
- After sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
- After using the restroom
- Before eating or preparing food
- After contact with animals or pets
- Before and after providing care for another person
- Key Times to Clean Hands Include:
- Mail and packages: Packages and mail are low-risk for transmitting the coronavirus, but it is recommended to lightly disinfect them. Researchers have found that the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours, if you can, leave mail in a garage or designated space for a couple of days.