Updated: Jun 9, 2020
For some, making our homes extra clean has been one of many ways to keep busy. For others, the rise of Coronavirus has kicked us into a cleaning frenzy. Whichever you might fall under, it is important to note the different between cleaning, which means removing traces of dirt, and disinfecting, which involves killing germs with chemicals.
Cleaning and disinfecting your home regularly is a good start. According to Philip Tierno, Ph.D. clinical professor in the department of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, regularly means at least once a week during all times, not just now.
The CDC highly recommends daily disinfecting “high-touch areas” such as the surfaces of your home and places you touch often. A few high-touch areas you want to give extra attention to are door knobs, remotes, light switches, toilets, sinks and chairs. Hard and soft surfaces require different methods.
The CDC recommends using regular soap and water when cleaning hard surfaces. To disinfect, bleach works best. A variety of products have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Don’t panic if you cant get your hands on products from your local store or online distributors. You can easily 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 Surfaces For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean appropriately. If these items can be washed, wash them in the warmest possible water setting (with the manufacturers instructions) and dry items completely. If you’re coming from outside, shake off your clothing, but consciously - you don’t want to spread possible germs through the air. Then follow the same guide as you would to wash rugs and drapes. Be sure to disinfect hampers and laundry baskets you may have used in the process. As for bedding, Tierno suggests we pay close attention to our sheets as this is where germs can collect - washing your sheets once a week is recommended.
Business Insider reported that a new study from the National Institutes of Health found that the coronavirus could last up to three days on plastic and steel, and 24 hours on cardboard. According to the CDC, there is low risk of spread through packages and “currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods”, which is good news for us. If you still feel uneasy about packages, simply wipe them down as they come in with disinfectant wipes.
And of course, always wash your hands thoroughly and wear gloves to protect yourself from any possible exposure while cleaning and disinfecting your home.