There’s something deeply unsettling about stepping out of the home-from-work boredom of self-isolation into the tense, ambient panic of grocery shopping during a pandemic. Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces in your home can help lower the chances you or a loved one will contract Covid-19 and lower the chances you might spread it to someone else. Keeping your home (and self) sanitized helps everyone.
What You Need To Know
- cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people
- if an area can be kept closed and secure for 72 hours, wait until this time has passed for cleaning as the amount of virus living on surfaces will have reduced significantly by 72 hours
- wherever possible, wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double-bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished
- using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles
- if an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), consider using protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron
- wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning
To Keep Yourself Virus-Free
You’ve heard it a million times by now, and you’ll hear it a million more, but the best way to lower your risk of contracting Covid-19 (or pass it on to someone else) is to wash your hands after you cough, sneeze, touch your face, use the restroom, or are about to leave one place for another. You should wash your hands when you leave and return from the grocery store, for instance.
If you can find any, hand sanitizer is a fast cleaning method that works wonders. Hand sanitizer is no substitute for washing your hands with soap and water, though. Using soap and water can also be a little easier on your hands. It won’t necessarily kill all pathogens, but if you wash your hands properly, it’ll wash them away. The World Health Organization has detailed instructions (which we’ve all seen in meme form) on how to properly perform the 20-second hand wash.
Even if you’re not sick, just stay home if you can. Being in large crowds or going out to restaurants pose unnecessary risks not just to yourself but to the people around you. The more you’re in public, the more chances the novel coronavirus has to hitch a ride on your hands, clothes, or person. Millions of people are very vulnerable to this virus. Putting yourself at risk also puts them at risk.
Important Rules to Stay Safe:
- Stay home as much as possible. Avoid large gatherings, going out to bars, restaurants, etc.
- Stay at least six feet away from other people in public.
- Again, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer).
- If you’re coughing or sneezing, wear a protective mask.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment(PPE)
- Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse.
- When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of face mask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Sanitize Your Hands Regularly
Each of us can help stop the spread of COVID-19 disease by washing our hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds – especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that consumers use alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol.
The alcohol in hand sanitizer works best when you rub hand sanitizer all over your hands, making sure to get between your fingers and on the back of your hands. Do not wipe or rinse off the hand sanitizer before it is dry. Do not use hand sanitizer if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy; wash your hands with soap and water instead.
To Keep Your Home Virus-Fee
Clean and Disinfect
The first thing you’ll want to know is that cleaning and disinfecting are two very different things. The CDC recommends we all do a bit of both, even if nobody in your home is sick.
- Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface.
- Disinfecting is about killing pathogens.
- Do both daily if anything or anyone has entered or exited your home.
Transmission from person-to-person is a much greater risk than transmission via surfaces, but the CDC recommends we clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in our homes at least once daily just to be safe, assuming we have had contact with the outside world in some way, either a person leaving and returning or goods coming in.
Target Your Home’s High-Touch Surfaces
Researchers have found that the novel coronavirus is capable of living on surfaces such as cardboard for 24 hours, but up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. So cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces is a step we should all take.
High-Touch Surfaces to Clean and Disinfect Daily:
- Table surfaces
- Hard dining chairs (seat, back, and arms)
- Kitchen counters
- Bathroom counters
- Faucets and faucet knobs
- Toilets (seat and handle)
- Light switches
- TV remote controls
- Game controllers
Everyone’s home is a little different, so just think about the surfaces you interact with most. For me, that includes the above, plus desk surfaces and mouse-pads (we’ll get to gadgets in a bit). Now that you know what you’re cleaning, here’s how you should do it.
First Clean, Then Disinfect:
- First, clean the surfaces, removing any contaminants, dust, or debris. You can do this by wiping them with soapy water (or a cleaning spray) and a hand towel.
- Then apply a surface-appropriate disinfectant. The quickest and easiest way to do this is with disinfecting wipes or disinfectant spray.
That’s it. Just adding these to your daily routine can help lower the risk of infection for you and anyone else in your household. If you aren’t able to obtain disinfectants at this time, just do a thorough job with the soap or cleaning agents you do have.
The EPA has a full list of disinfectants that will kill the novel coronavirus, but here are a few essentials to keep an eye out for. You can find most of these disinfectants online at Imagine Care Shop if your local grocery store is out of stock. Most disinfectants should have a label that lists the viruses they’re effective against, and that’s what you’ll want to look out for more than any particular active ingredient.
If a disinfectant product has an indication for killing influenza, RSB, SARS virus, or other coronaviruses, then it should work against this one also.
- Disinfecting wipes (Clorox, Lysol, or store brand will do)
- Disinfection sprays (Ultraxide, Kupacide, Bio Safe, Norocleanse and Kerol, all make sprays that will work)
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
Disinfection of Your Computer
Laptop displays aren’t always made of glass (matte displays are plastic) so avoid using a disinfecting wipe on the screen, just in case. The display should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol (70 percent) solution and a soft towel. Make sure you wipe down the keyboard, the track-pad, the exterior, and where your wrists rest on the laptop.
Most desktop computers are already in sore need for a cleaning. The best way to do that is with a disinfecting wipe or isopropyl alcohol solution and a soft towel. Again, avoid disinfecting wipes on the monitor, just in case—stick to isopropyl alcohol there. But otherwise, just make sure you wipe down the mouse (top, sides, and bottom), the keys on your keyboard, the exterior of the keyboard, and any mouse-pad you might have.
Disinfection of Your Phone or Tablet
If you have them, disinfect an iPhone or Android phone with a disinfecting wipe or alcohol solution (at least 70 percent). Make sure you pay special attention to the screen, the buttons, and anywhere dust and pocket lint tend to get trapped. Also make sure you remove any case that’s on your phone or tablet, clean underneath, put it back on, and clean the outside. Following the CDC recommendations for other high-touch surfaces in the home, a once-daily disinfecting isn’t going to hurt your devices.
Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.
Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimizes the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.
Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths and tissues):
- Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.
- The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.
- It should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage until the individual’s test results are known.
Waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.
- if the individual tests negative, this can be put in with the normal waste
- if the individual tests positive, then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste
If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste either by your local waste collection authority if they currently collect your waste or otherwise by a specialist clinical waste contractor. They will supply you with orange clinical waste bags for you to place your bags into so the waste can be sent for appropriate treatment.
There’s a lot going on right now. It’s stressful. It’s scary. It can be hard to know what you should do or what’s going on. If you have more questions, or need disinfection services, contact +254737898884, +254759292158, +254789231328, +254742448334, or drop an email to .