Safe Surface Disinfection Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jillian Berndtson

| 2 min read

Gloved hand wiping down door handle
The spread of COVID-19 has many people washing and disinfecting surfaces daily. It’s not necessary to clean a surface any time someone in your home touches it, but regular cleaning and disinfecting is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is theoretically possible to transmit the virus by touching a contaminated surface. However, the spread of COVID-19 is most commonly attributed to the release of contaminated respiratory droplets, such as a cough or sneeze. When a person inhales the contaminated droplets, the virus enters their body. The infographic below shows how long coronavirus can live on surfaces:
You should continue to regularly clean frequently touched areas around your home to prevent illnesses. While you clean, make sure you’re following these guidelines from the CDC:
  • First, clean the area. Cleaning means removing any dirt or impurities from the surface with soap and water. It is not the same as disinfecting, which kills the bacteria that may be living on the surface. Once the surface has been cleaned, you can move on to the disinfection process.
  • To disinfect, you’ll need a product with EPA-registered chemicals. Follow the instructions on the product’s label to make sure you’re using it correctly. Even the best cleaning and disinfection processes don’t guarantee a perfectly germ-free surface but taking these precautions can certainly minimize exposure to bacteria.
If someone in your home is sick with COVID-19, you’ll want to take additional steps to keep your home clean. The CDC recommends keeping a separate bedroom and bathroom for the sick person, and only cleaning it when necessary. If you must share a bathroom with a sick person, clean and disinfect the bathroom after each use. You can also take precautions with surfaces you encounter when you leave your house to grocery shop or pick up takeout. Find those tips here. People who are immunocompromised or with chronic health conditions also might want to take additional precautions to keep themselves safe. One of the best ways to prevent getting sick is frequent and effective handwashing. Follow these steps in our video below. Related:
Photo credit: ZeynepOzy
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