How to clean and disinfect after someone in your household had COVID-19?
How do I clean and disinfect my home after someone in my house had COVID-19 – is a question that comes up often. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in huge amount of uncertainty over the last few months. We don’t want you to be uncertain when it comes to your health risk in your own home. Which is why we are doing our best to provide you with cleaning information, tips and tricks related to COVID-19. The goal of this article is to teach you how to clean and disinfect your home after someone in your home had COVID-19.
As mentioned in our previous article – Hygiene habits that should stay – even in lockdown level 1 – “Since microbes/ viruses are invisible, it is essential to understand that a visibly clean surface is not necessarily hygienically clean. To ensure hands, surfaces and fabrics (clothes and cleaning utensils) are hygienically clean, they must be treated in the prescribed manner.” This brings us to the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the process of physically removing germs, dirt and other impurities from surfaces. It usually involves water and soap. Cleaning only lowers the number of germs on the surfaces. Disinfecting is the process of killing the germs on surfaces. The CDC recommends first cleaning all surfaces and then disinfecting all surfaces.
According to the CDC the Coronavirus can remain viable for hours up to several days on various surfaces. This is why our first recommendation to you would be to close off the room or area used by the infected person for up to 7 days. The reasoning behind this is that although the virus might be on a surface or object it can’t grow or replicate and therefore will die after a period of time. We do realize that closing of a room or area of your home is not always possible and therefore have the following recommendations for you as given by the CDC.
It is important to try and contain the infected person to an area of the house as to reduce infection of others in the house and to reduce areas you need to clean and disinfect. We would say if possible, the infected person should have a dedicated bedroom and bathroom that should not be used by anyone else. While the person is sick and if able ask them to clean their area otherwise wait as long as possible before a caregiver has to clean and disinfect. If a caregiver decides to clean the rooms, they should wear a mask and gloves.
Areas, objects and surfaces that are important:
Hard Surfaces: Counters, tables, doorknobs, bed frames etc. – These surfaces should be cleaned with a household detergent/ soap and warm water. After cleaning theses surfaces should be disinfected with a bleach containing cleanser.
Soft Surfaces: Carpets, linen, drapes, clothes etc. – Clean these surfaces as usual. If possible, wash them in the washing machine on the warmest setting.
Electronics: Phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards etc. – Clean by removing any visible dirt or contaminants first and then disinfect by manufacturers guidelines or using alcohol-based wipes or sprays. Make sure to dry surfaces thoroughly.
When cleaning and disinfecting be sure to following the cleaning supply manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of how long to leave the product on the surface and any other necessary conditions, to ensure effectiveness. The most important thing is to pay attention in terms of cleaning and disinfecting to the things the infected person touched often. You can also read our article: Disinfecting your home and workplace to find out more about disinfecting.
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