Keep Safe from COVID-19 with Careful Home Cleaning and Disinfecting Strategies

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With all of the news about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be worried about how to keep your home safe from the virus.

There is still much we don’t know about how the virus is transmitted, or how long it remains infectious on surfaces or in the air. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of cleaning tips for limiting the virus’s survival in your immediate surroundings.

To clean and disinfect most effectively, you need to use a two-step cleaning process when you’re dealing with a virus like COVID-19.

Clean

Step one is to remove germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Clean in your usual manner, using soap and water on highly touched surfaces. Wear disposable gloves during the cleaning process. Discard the gloves after cleaning.

The surfaces to clean include:

  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Phones
  • Computer keyboards
  • Toilets
  • Faucets
  • Sinks

Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but it can remove some of them. This can lower their numbers and make them less likely to spread infection.

Disinfect

 Step two is to kill germs using a disinfectant. Effective disinfectants include:

  • A diluted bleach solution. Do not use bleach without diluting it first. Add 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) of bleach to one gallon of water. (If you want a smaller amount of solution, add 4 teaspoons of bleach to one quart of water.)
  • Alcohol solutions that contain at least 70% alcohol.
  • Products labeled as “EPA-registered household disinfectants”

Be sure the product is appropriate for the surface you’re cleaning, and that it’s not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach is effective against the coronavirus when properly diluted, says the CDC.

Wear disposable gloves during the disinfecting process. Throw them out when you are done.

Follow label instructions to make sure you’re using the product properly. Do not mix cleaners and disinfectants unless the labels indicate it is safe to do so. Make sure to open windows to ventilate the room as much as possible to avoid fumes.

 

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