Covid-19 has changed our lives forever, or at least for the last couple of years, and it doesn't seem to go away any time soon. By now, we have learned that droplets from an infected person when sneezing or coughing can spread the Coronavirus causing Covid-19. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention highlights that touching something contaminated and afterwards touching the nose, mouth, or eyes could cause an infection as well. As long as you're vigilant with hand hygiene, the risk for that to happen is relatively low.
Kids in preschool and almost every soul on this planet know that wearing a mask and keeping a safe physical distance from others is essential to reduce the risk of spreading viruses. But how cautious do you have to be at home? Should you clean and disinfect your home more often than the previous pandemic? To these questions and others, we'll answer right down below! If you don't want to do the cleaning yourself, you can always call professional cleaners and have them do it for you.
The basic facts we know about Covid-19 and the virus causing it
Apart from how the virus spreads (droplets, contaminated surfaces), we also know that the Covid-19 virus can live for several days on common surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel. Humidity, sunlight, and temperature can impact the lifespan of the virus in the environment. Thankfully, we also know that we can destroy the virus through cleaning with a neutral detergent and a disinfectant.
Regardless of what you heard through the grapevine, you don't need to rush and buy a super disinfectant—a household detergent and water will be enough. Wash the dirty surfaces with water and detergent and disinfect them afterwards. Also, when using a wipe and a spray, let it air dry to kill the germ.
Is it possible to spread COVID-19 through surfaces?
Even if Coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours or days, the answer about whether it can make people sick or not is “no”. According to studies so far, there’s not much evidence of people getting COVID-19 from surfaces.
As a result, it’s time and nerve consuming to obsessively wipe down every single thing you bring into your home or touch when outside. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t clean high-touch surfaces on a regular basis. Unless someone in your home/space has been sick with Covid-19, there is no reason for you to wash surfaces with something other than water and soap (detergent). Do it once a day to make sure that you’re removing any virus on surfaces.
If someone in your household is sick, you should improve the cleaning and disinfecting process, especially high-touch surfaces such as handles, countertops, doorknobs, and light switches.
When are additional cleaning and disinfecting necessary?
Here are the situations when you should spend more time when cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces in your home:
- Not many people around you don’t wear masks
- There’s a high rate of Covid-19 cases in your local area
- Your family members aren’t meticulous about hand hygiene
- If a family member is at high risk for Covid-19 infection group
What should you do if someone in your home gets ill?
One other thing we know about Covid-19 is that, no matter how meticulous you are about cleaning and disinfecting, you still might get it somehow. The pandemic is also challenging because most people who become sick with Covid-19 have only mild symptoms resembling the flu and don't require medical attention.
Should someone in your family develop symptoms of Covid-19, the CDC recommends some cleaning guidelines to follow. Keep reading for the details:
- Avoid contact with the sick person as much as you can. Take care of the other family members as regularly.
- Try to arrange a separate bedroom for the sick person. Ideally, the bedroom should have a bathroom.
- If the ill family member can do it, he should clean their own space. Help them with minor contact by providing them with tissues, cleaners, paper towels, and disinfectants.
- Give the sick person their lined trash can. Remember to wear gloves when handling the trash and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- Use hot water and soap to wash the sick person’s dishes. Put on gloves or wash the dishes in the dishwasher.
Which cleaning supplies do you use?
You cannot clean or disinfect without the proper supplies, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's best to stick to disposable wipes and cloths. Even though it’s not as cheap as using the same sponges and mops several times, disposable supplies are safer than traditional supplies.
If you reuse cloths and sponges, you should wash them in hot water and dry them on the hottest setting after every use. Rinse mop heads in hot water after every use until water runs clean. Let them air dry completely before using them.
As for the disinfectants, always read the instructions before using them. Some of the cleaning fluids may require sitting wet on surfaces for several minutes to be efficient.
Do you clean packages delivered to your doorstep?
It has been stated several times that shopping online is safer than shopping in person. It’s simply because there is no person-to-person contact, which is the most common cause for spreading COVID-19.
Even if some studies discovered that the Coronavirus could live for up to 24 hours on cardboard boxes, there's no real risk for the virus to spread from packaging shipped through the mail for several days. As a result, it's safe to touch packages that come through the mail. Should you be concerned, you can always open up the card box, wash your hands, take out your items, get rid of the box and wash your hands once again.
Can guests bring the virus into your home?
They can bring it in—person-to-person transmission is the primary way the virus spreads. Anytime you have a guest (whether it's a neighbour, friend, etc.), the risk for them to bring the virus is present.
When someone gets sick with the virus, it can take several days to develop symptoms and realise they're infected. Some people don't even feel ill but still spread the virus without even knowing it.
This is why it's crucial to reduce in-person get-togethers with people outside your household. If you still want to have people coming in or go to someone else’s house, you should follow guidelines to keep it safe for everyone.
Even if it’s not the most comfortable way, you should let everyone involved about the rules and expectations before you meet. Here are some tips to remember:
- Decide how many people will participate in the gathering
- Make sure that everyone is ok about wearing a mask
- Set up the space so that you all keep a safe physical distance from others
- Don’t share utensils and use disposable plates and glasses, if possible
Hand hygiene and managing food and food containers
The CDC highlights that the risk of the virus spreading via food or food packaging is relatively low. You still want to stay on the safe side, so sharing food and eating utensils with people outside your household is off-limits.
There is no evidence that food and food packaging are related to Covid-19 illness. Whether you go grocery shopping, prepare food or order takeout, you should keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Use hand sanitiser after leaving the grocery store. Once you get home, wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Order online and avoid as much as possible in-person contact. You can use a curbside pickup or ask that your deliveries are placed outside your home
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before cooking or eating food. Follow the food safety guidelines when preparing food.
- You don’t have to wipe down packages such as cereal boxes. You should use your energy on washing your hands after managing the containers.
- After you bring home takeout food or receive deliveries, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use a hand sanitiser if you don't have water and soap.
Is it possible for the virus to stay on your skin?
We know that germs can live on various parts of your body, but hands represent the main concern when it comes to Covid-19. Your hands have the highest risk to come in contact with contaminated areas. Additionally, you will touch your face without even realising it, and that's how the virus will get into your mouth, nose, or eyes.
All in all, you don’t have to scrub down the entire body every time you go out, but you shouldn’t skip showering either. However, it would help if you washed your hands more frequently than before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Establish routine for disinfecting your household
Covid-19 or not, we all know that having a routine for cleaning the house keeps up healthy and safe. Nowadays, we recommend you step up your game when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. Here are our recommendations:
Daily disinfecting practices
The kitchen and bathrooms need our special attention during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Spray the flush handle and toilet with disinfectant
- Clean and disinfect tap and handles
- Empty the bin daily
- Reduce the risk of microbial growth by washing the bath towel
- Replace dishcloth and kitchen towel every day
- Clean the spots and accidental spills right away
- Disinfect the cutting and chopping boards, the countertops, cabinet pulls, switches, and electronic kitchen appliances
- Empty the dustbin and spray it with the disinfectant
Weekly Disinfecting Practices
- Wash the soap dispense, toothbrush holders and toothbrushes
- Clean the bathtub, washbasin, shower curtains, doors, cabinets, and handles
- Wash the sink strainers
- Clean and disinfect the kitchen sink
- Clean all the range knobs and wash appliances such as oven and fridge
Cleaning the other rooms in your home
- Wash the mattresses in warm water
- Change the bedsheet once a week
- Use a solution with water and cleaner-disinfectant to mop the floors
- Vacuum the carpets especially if you have pets
- Don't shake the bedsheet and blankets before washing them because you only spread dust and germs across the room.
What about the soft surfaces?
To clean soft surfaces, such as rugs, carpets, and drapes, you should follow the specific directions for the particular materials. If applicable, wash them in the laundry with the warmest water temperature allowed for the item.
Linens, clothing- do you wash them more often?
Linens, clothing, and delicate items that you typically clean in the laundry don't require unique cleaning methods. As usual, you shouldn't shake dirty laundry because you only spread the active Coronavirus (dust and germs, too) through the air.
Always check out the laundry guidelines for the items, using the warmest water possible. Use a regular detergent, and don’t forget to clean and disinfect clothes hampers as you would other similar surfaces.
Clean the electronics as well!
One thing we use almost all the time is the phone, which can become an infected surface. We carry our phones all day long, and the risk to pick up germs and viruses along is significant. It's so natural for us to use phones that we don't even realise that we also need to clean and disinfect them.
Use an alcohol wipe or some water and soap (carefully, though) to clean the phone's surfaces. When cleaning inside the house, disinfect the shared electronics in the home as well. We're talking about remote controls, landline phones, computer keyboards and mice, especially if you have a sick person in your home.
How do you handle waste during the Covid-19 pandemic?
If someone in your family is sick with COVID-19, how you handle the waste poses a risk for spreading the Covid-19 transmission. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Personal waste, such as packaging and masks, used tissues, should be placed inside disposable rubbish bags in the room where the sick person has been isolated.
- Avoid touching the inside of the bag when managing the waste.
- Seek that the rubbish bag isn't full so that the contents don't overflow
- Should the contents be wet, use two bags to avoid leaking.
- You can put the waste together with general garbage for regular waste pickup
- Clean and disinfect the waste bins inside the house as often as possible
- Use a bin liner for pedal bins and plastic buckets. Bin liners will ease out the cleaning and sanitising of the container and prevent the bin from getting dirty.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and throw away any personal protective equipment after managing the waste.
One last piece of advice
The main takeaway for preventing Coronavirus from spreading in your home is to clean first and disinfect after. Also, you should wash your hands as often as possible and try to continue living your life as you did before the Covid-19 pandemic. Just have a hand sanitiser on you at all times!