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Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home Everyday- Steps and Extra Steps When Someone Is Sick

Submitted by CCPH on August 26, 2020 at 8:35am.
Get Healthy Heights Columbia Community Partnership for Health
What you need to know
  • Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection.
  • Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
  • Clean or launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • If someone is sick, keep a separate bedroom and bathroom for the person who is sick (if possible).

How to clean and disinfect

Clean

Wearing gloves outside of these instances (for example, when using a shopping cart or using an ATM) will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs. The best way to protect yourself from germs when running errands and after going out is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection.
  • Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
  • Cleaning with soap and water reduces number of germsdirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
  • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. High touch surfaces include:
    • Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
Disinfect
    • Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label)
    • Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product

Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.

  • Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
  • Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
  • Avoid mixing chemical products
  • Label diluted cleaning solutions
  • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets

You should never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products or any other products that are not approved for animal use.

See EPA’s 6 steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Useexternal icon

Special considerations should be made for people with asthma and they should not be present when cleaning and disinfecting is happening as this can trigger asthma exacerbations. Learn more about reducing asthma triggers.

 

Cleaning with spray detergent, rubber gloves and dish cloth on work surface

Wear gloves and make sure you have good ventilation when using the disinfectant

  • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
    • Use bleach containing 5.25–8.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use a bleach product if the percentage is not in this range or is not specified.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions for the surface, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute.
    • Ensure proper ventilation during and after application.
    • Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.
    • Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in.
  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) of 5.25–8.25% bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
    • 4 teaspoons of 5.25–8.25% bleach per quart of room temperature water
  • Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.
Soft Surfaces
Beautiful woman cleaning

For carpet, clean and disinfect affected area, vacuum as usual

For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes.

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

    OR

Electronics
man splashes on smartphone a sanitizer to disinfect and prevent viral diseases. Antibacterial antimicrobial agent for killing microbes. Cleaning agent for cleaning..

Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning electronics

For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls.

  • Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
    • If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.
Laundry

For clothing, towels, linens and other items.

  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
  • Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.
  • Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
Clean hands often
Someone washing their hands

Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds

  • Key times to clean hands
    • Immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After using the restroom
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • After contact with animals or pets
    • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.

  • Keep hand sanitizers away from fire or flame
  • For children under six years of age, hand sanitizer should be used with adult supervision
  • Always store hand sanitizer out of reach of children and pets

See FDA’s Tips for Safe Sanitizer Useexternal icon and CDC's Hand Sanitizer Use Considerations

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

When someone is sick

Bedroom and bathroom
Young sick man in bed cleaning snotty nose

Keep a separate bedroom and bathroom for a person who is sick

Keep separate bedroom and bathroom for a person who is sick (if possible).

  • The person who is sick should stay separated from other people in the home (as much as possible).
  • If you have a separate bedroom and bathroom: Wear disposable gloves and only clean the area around the person who is sick when needed, such as when the area is soiled. This will help limit your contact with the person who is sick.
    • Caregivers can provide personal cleaning supplies to the person who is sick (if appropriate). Supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners, and EPA-registered disinfectantsexternal icon. If they feel up to it, the person who is sick can clean their own space.
  • If shared bathroom: The person who is sick should clean and disinfect after each use. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.
  • See precautions for household members and caregivers for more information.
Food
  • Stay separated: The person who is sick should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
  • Wash dishes and utensils using disposable gloves and hot water: Handle any used dishes, cups/glasses, or silverware with gloves. Wash them with soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.
  • Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.
Trash
  • Dedicated, lined trash can: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the person who is sick. Use disposable gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.

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healthcare education