COVID-19

What can kill the coronavirus (COVID-19) on my hands and in my home?

April 14, 2020

It is important to disinfect surfaces in your home daily, especially if they may have come into contact with the virus.

One of the most important things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,  making sure you wash all surfaces and between your fingers. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. After applying hand sanitizer, rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands, allowing to air-dry.

Additionally, it is important to disinfect surfaces daily, especially if they may have come into contact with the virus. Surfaces you should clean and disinfect often include high touch areas  such as door knobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, and electronics. A good rule of thumb is, if surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use this link for appropriate household cleaners and follow the label instructions.

When cleaning and disinfecting, you can create a good household disinfectant by diluting household bleach. To make a  bleach solution, you can dilute 5 tablespoons (or 1/3rd cup) of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and allow for at least 1 minute of contact with the surface before wiping or drying. Be careful to avoid any contact or splashes of the bleach disinfectant into your eyes.  Also, never mix household cleansers as this could create harmful fumes.

Surfaces should be cleaned of dirt and debris with soap and water prior to disinfection.  For soft or porous surfaces (carpets, rugs, drapes, etc.), remove visible contamination and clean with cleaners approved for that surface.  If possible, launder the items following manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest water recommended and dry the items completely.

For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls and keyboards, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.  Consider using wipeable covers for electronics.  If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids. Also consider frequently wiping down credit cards and wallets or others items frequently handled or that come into contact with surfaces.

You should also wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including after using the bathroom, before eating, and after touching anything that may be contaminated with the coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes after grocery shopping, after pumping gasoline, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or after any other activity that puts you in contact with surfaces that others may have touched by others.  You should also wash your hands after contact with animals or pets, and before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g.a child).