Spring cleaning this year takes on a whole different meaning with the COVID-19 virus creating a world wide lockdown and social distancing. We all know we should be washing our hands frequently, coughing into our elbows and stop touching our faces. Now we are at home and everyone in your household is touching everything all the time. So what is the best way to clean your house to reduce the risk of infection?
Deciding to clean your entire house out of boredom or if you are really worried someone has brought COVID-19 inside; here are some tips to make sure your place is squeaky clean.
Cleaning gets rid of dirt and impurities like germs from surfaces but it doesn’t kill them (not all germs are harmful and can help us strengthen our immune systems). Disinfecting on the other hand uses chemicals to kill the germs.
So where do we start? Clean first, then disinfect. Start with the objects you touch all the time like cellphones, computer keyboards, door and cabinet handles, keys, taps remotes, toilets, light switches etc. These should be cleaned regularly. According to microbiologist Francesca Tomasi, “Cellphones are sort of like extensions of our hands. We pick them up, put them down on random surfaces, pass them to other people, and press them against our ears. Dare I say we sometimes cough or sneeze on them too? We don’t wash our hands every time we pick up our phone or put it down, and studies have shown – long before this pandemic – that our phones are anything but sterile.”
Even if no one in your household is sick, it’s a good idea to make a habit of cleaning your home throughly. If someone is sick and you must share a bathroom, you should disinfect it after each use.
Shoes see a lot of stuff; therefore, keep them outside or in a designated area.
What should I clean with? An all purpose cleaner is a good place to start or just good old fashioned soap and water. You could also use a antimicrobial product but remember these kill bacteria - and not all - but they don’t kill viruses.
If you want to disinfect then you need to use products that include bleach or alcohol. Usually with at least 70% alcohol. You can find a list of disinfectants and their effectiveness from the CDC’s website (https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html).
Your hands touching something contaminated and then touching your face it the vector for spread as the virus needs a way in.
Happy Spring Cleaning and Disinfecting we are all in this together! Stay safe and be healthy.