While cleaning for the coronavirus is not that different from disinfecting for other viruses, like those that cause the flu or a common cold, people are tailoring the cleaning in keeping with what makes sense for them. Public health officials suggest a few common steps can be used by both businesses and individual households: increasing the frequency of cleanings, using disinfectant products that federal officials say are effective, cleaning “high-touch” spots and making hand sanitizer readily available.
Start with a clean, coronavirus-free house. Wipe down and disinfect all surfaces including door handles, light switches, counters and faucets.
Next, take care not to bring the virus in by creating a coming-home routine that everyone follows. Have everyone come in through the same door, preferably one close to a sink. Put a sign on the door reminding those entering to remove shoes — which have been on surfaces where people could have coughed, sneezed or spit — and wash their hands. Stock the sink area with soap and paper, not cloth, towels. While there, clean items you touch and carry, such as your keys, cellphone, wallet and purse handle.
If you’re coming home after being in a high-risk environment, like a doctor’s office or emergency room, remove your clothes and put them straight into the washing machine. Bypass the hamper. Wash them with regular detergent, and take a shower.
Cleaning and disinfecting aren’t the same. Soap cleans, and is the first choice for hands. It works by allowing dirt and germs to detach from the skin and get rinsed off. Wash your hands for 20 seconds (using) warm water. That allows time for dirt to detach; warm water heats the soap and expands its cleaning action.
Disinfecting is the first choice for surfaces. Agents like Clorox, alcohol and household cleaners kill bacteria and viruses. When disinfecting a counter, spray it, then let the agent sit for at least a minute.