It can be frightening to live through a global pandemic such as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, but there are steps you can do to take control and protect yourself and your family.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily cleaning and disinfecting of regularly touched surfaces is a vital part of preventing the virus from spreading — especially if you or anyone in your home is sick. Clean surfaces every day to wash away the virus, then destroy any leftover traces by adding an EPA-approved disinfectant solution.
Wash the laundry thoroughly and frequently, particularly if a sick person has been in touch with it. And don't forget that washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others!
1. Clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces every day in your home or office. When anyone in your home is sick or may have been exposed to the coronavirus, it is especially important that you clean and disinfects surfaces that they sometimes come into regular contact with. Disinfecting high-touch surfaces in areas that are used by the general public are also important. Including:
- Light switches
- Counters and tabletops
- Sinks and faucets
- Remote controls
- Phones and tablets
- Computer keyboards
2. Pull-on rubber gloves for disposal. Gloves will protect you against both the infection and any harmful cleaning agents or disinfectants you may use. Using gloves that you can throw away when you're finished to avoid cross-contamination where possible.
When you are wearing reusable gloves, do use them when cleaning surfaces that have been exposed to COVID-19 (such as bathroom surfaces used by a sick family member). Otherwise, the virus can spread to uncontaminated surfaces.
3. Wash with soap and water over the surface to remove dirt and grime. If a surface is clearly dirty, then you will have to clean it before you disinfect it. Use a household cleaning product, such as a soap and water dish or a cleaner for all purposes, and wipe the surface with a cloth or sponge. Rinse with clear, clean water the cleaner away.
- Until surface cleaning, vacuum or sweep up big, loose particles of dirt.
- Check the cleanser label to make sure it's safe and suitable for the type of surface you're cleaning, and follow carefully any instructions to use.
- When you have an electronic device, unplug it and shut it down first. Take care not to get water inside any of the internal electronic components or cleaning solution.
Be aware: Cleaning up a surface does not destroy bacteria and viruses but will wash away many of them. Cleaning the surface first will make it easier to disinfect any lingering germs.
4. Wipe the surface with dilute bleach, alcohol, or any other disinfectant approved by EPA. Using a clean towel, pad, rag or pre-moistened disinfectant wipe for rubbing the entire surface with a disinfectant solution until the surface is clean. Make sure you use a sufficient amount because the surface needs to be clearly damp for several minutes to work with most disinfectants. Keep your area of work well ventilated, and follow any directions on the disinfectant bottle.
- Using 5 tablespoons (74 mL) of bleach for each 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water to form a bleach solution. Always mix the bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners, as this can create poisonous fumes.
- Any alcohol solution that contains at least 70% of alcohol isopropyl is also effective in destroying coronavirus.
- A full list of all EPA licensed disinfectants for use against coronavirus can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
5. Allow the disinfectant to stay on the surface as long as indicated. To order to destroy germs, most disinfectants have to stay on the surface for several minutes. Let the disinfectant stay for 3-5 minutes, or the prescribed period of time on the bottle, before cleaning or rinsing it clean.
- Some of the disinfectants take longer than others to operate. Read the label, and follow closely the instructions.
- Many disinfectants, such as isopropyl alcohol, can evaporate and need to be rinsed or washed clean.
6. Take away your gloves, and wash your hands with water and soap. Remove your gloves when you're done, and throw them away. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands will help you get rid of the disinfectant's chemical residue and any viruses left over.
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