COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfecting in the Home

by asha
COVID-19_ Cleaning and disinfecting in the home

Research indicates that coronaviruses, including the COVID-19 virus, can potentially persist on surfaces for a few hours to several days. However, effective cleaning and disinfection can eliminate coronaviruses from surfaces. It’s crucial to note that the risk of transmission from contaminated surfaces is significantly lower than the risk associated with close contact with a COVID-19 case.

Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces Regularly

Clean these surfaces regularly using a household detergent and then a disinfectant. Alternatively, utilize detergent/disinfectant wipes, ensuring thorough scrubbing for effectiveness:

  1. Doorknobs
  2. Handles
  3. Light switches
  4. Phones
  5. Tablets
  6. Touch screens
  7. Tables
  8. Hard-backed chairs
  9. Remote controls
  10. Keyboards
  11. Desks
  12. Toilets
  13. Sinks/basins
  14. Car steering wheel
  15. Car seats

Cleaning less touched surfaces

For general surfaces, employing a household detergent solution or wipes is sufficient. This includes:

  • Floors (preferably using a damp mop rather than dry mopping hard floors)
  • Walls (clean when visibly dusty or soiled)
  • Ceilings
  • Window blinds (clean when visibly dusty or soiled)
  • Curtains (change regularly and clean when soiled).

What sets detergent and disinfectant apart?

Detergents aid in eliminating germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces, reducing their numbers and the risk of infection spread by their removal.

Disinfectants, chemical solutions designed to ‘kill’ viruses and bacteria, do not remove germs or clean surfaces. However, by killing germs after cleaning, they further minimize the risk of infection spread.

What’s an alternative to disinfectant?

For hard, non-porous surfaces, a diluted household bleach solution is effective (four teaspoons of bleach per liter of water). It’s crucial to avoid mixing household bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. Check for expiration dates to ensure effectiveness, and maintain good ventilation during and after application.

Returning home after being outside:

Remember to:

  • Wash your hands immediately upon arrival, especially after handling groceries or items, and before eating.
  • Regularly clean frequently used items like your phone and keys.

Hygiene advice for residents in shared buildings:

  • Clean hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces like doorknobs, handles, or communal appliances.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, either with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Steer clear of close contact with individuals showing cold or flu symptoms.
  • Refrain from touching your face and avoid handshakes.
  • Maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from others, especially in shared spaces like elevators, stairwells, or hallways within your apartment block.

Cleaning guidance for NSW strata managers and body corporates:

  • Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces in shared areas using a two-step process: detergent followed by disinfectant, or detergent/disinfectant wipes.
  • Consider providing ample alcohol-based hand rub (sanitizer) for residents to use.

Personal hygiene to prevent COVID-19 spread:

  • Clean hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand rub/sanitizer.
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or elbow, not hands.
  • Avoid close contact with those displaying cold or flu-like symptoms; stay home if you have these symptoms.
  • Refrain from touching your face and avoid handshakes.
  • Maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from others and avoid crowded places.

Remember, effective handwashing requires water and a detergent (surfactant), like soap or body wash, for at least 20 seconds; it doesn’t need to be expensive or ‘antibacterial.’

Discover various ways to enhance your overall health and well-being with practical strategies and lifestyle changes. From adopting a nutritious diet and engaging in regular physical activity to managing stress and getting sufficient sleep, our guide covers a range of effective approaches. Explore these key methods to improve your overall health and cultivate a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

Hand sanitizer safety and children

Safety tips regarding alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially for children:

  • Store hand sanitizers safely, out of reach of children.
  • Supervise any use by young children.
  • Be cautious of imported products that may lack clear labels and could contain more toxic alcohols like methanol.
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is a safe and effective alternative.
  • Avoid exposing hand sanitizers to temperatures above 40°C for extended periods, keeping them out of the sun and not leaving them in hot cars.
  • If you suspect your child has ingested hand sanitizer, regardless of the amount, call the 24-hour Poisons Information Centre at 13 11 26 for first aid and monitoring advice, and have the container of the ingested product with you.

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