The emergence of the coronavirus in the United States has wreaked havoc on daily life, and each day something new comes to light. In recent days, details on how long the COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces has come out, along with the information that 42% of us are not cleaning them properly. Here’s some things you need to know to keep your home virus-free during this pandemic.
The COVID-19 virus reportedly can last 24 hours on cardboard and 48-72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. Duration depends on temperature and whether the surface holds moisture. There are certain measures you should be taking in your home to help keep bacteria at bay.
Leave the germs at the door. Unwanted pathogens are coming in to your home the same way you are – through the front door. Take some precautions at the entranceway to keep them from spreading throughout the house. Wipe down packages, kick off dirty shoes and add a trash bin by the door to dispose of packaging that may have been exposed.
Remove dirty clothes immediately. The coronavirus lives on fabrics and porous surfaces. Put clothes directly into the hamper when you arrive home, or even better yet, put straight into the washing machine in the warmest water possible. Avoid shaking any clothing prior to washing.
Create a disinfection station at the door with hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol and lotion. Every time you come home, disinfect hands with sanitizer and phones with alcohol wipes before going one step further. This will help surfaces remain germ-free in the event you touch them along the way.
Trap particles before they spread. This can be done through rugs and doormats in high traffic areas. Rugs trap particles, which can then be vacuumed up. Make sure to vacuum these areas frequently.
Clean high-touch surfaces often. Some high-touch areas includ doorknobs, light switches, cabinet pulls, faucets, railings and remote controls. Keeping these clean will help stop the transmission to other areas of your home.
Use the right cleaning products. In order to clean properly, look for products that contain a disinfectant. Some key words for disinfecting products include ethanol, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide and citric acid. If you’re not sure what to use, check out this list from the EPA.
Disinfect areas properly. Pre-clean prior to disinfecting and make sure to disinfect the right way. To do this, you need to wipe or spray surfaces and let them sit anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes before wiping. Times can vary so check product labels for maximum effectiveness.
Set up a cleaning schedule. This will depend on the comings and goings of family members. Those working in the medical field will need more aggressive schedules. Disinfect cell phones several times a day and make sure to vacuum and do laundry several times a week. Surfaces should be wiped and cleaned every six to eight hours, maybe even more depending on lifestyle and the number of people living in a household!
Stay safe and be well!