Coronavirus: cleaning and disinfecting your home


Coronavirus: cleaning and disinfecting your home

Regular housecleaning and disinfection are important weapons in the battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In addition to practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing and other protective measures, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says routinely cleaning high-touch surfaces throughout your home can provide another layer of protection against the disease.
“Wiping down and disinfecting frequently touched areas in your home is important,” says Angela Harris, infection control manager for Tidelands Health. “Although the virus is thought to spread primarily through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing, studies have shown it can live for hours or days on certain surfaces, such as handles, keyboards, doorknobs and tabletops.”

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Coming into contact with contaminated surfaces can cause an infection when people subsequently touch their mouth, eyes or nose, Harris says.
“That’s why handwashing and not touching your face are so critical to preventing transmission,” Harris says.


When cleaning and disinfecting your home, she says, make sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines. If an item is visibly soiled, clean it first with soap and water, then use an EPA-registered disinfectant, diluted household bleach or alcohol solution. And while some products are currently sold out in stores, they may be available online. What to clean:

  • Tabletops
  • Counters
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Toilet handles
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Cabinet pulls
  • Refrigerator, microwave and stove handles

How to clean:

  • Wear disposable gloves, and always wash your hands thoroughly after removing them.
  • With a paper towel or cleaning cloth, use soap and water to first remove dirt and grime from surfaces, if necessary.
  • Disinfect using an EPA-registered disinfectant cleaner, an alcohol solution with at least 70 percent alcohol or diluted, unexpired household bleach. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. To properly dilute bleach, use 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons for every quart of water. Allow the bleach solution to remain on the surface for at least one minute.
  • Clean knobs, handles, and other nooks and crannies thoroughly. Spray the surface well and wipe firmly with a cloth or a disinfectant wipe.


Soft surfaces

For soft surfaces such as carpeted floors, rugs and drapes:

  • Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on the surfaces.
  • Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.


  • Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectants meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19

“Practicing good hand hygiene and regularly cleaning and disinfecting your home are excellent ways to help reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection,” Harris says. “Even after the threat of this virus diminishes, make these measures part of your routine.”

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