A lot of people are becoming hyper-aware because of the current pandemic, which is understandable. We want to assure our safety; it is better to be safe than sorry. Most of us are practicing quarantine and stay in our own home. Even if you spend most of your time indoors, sanitizing methods should still be practiced.
The novel coronavirus, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), may spread from person-to-person within close contact (about 6 feet) via respiratory droplets. Current studies find that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. By learning how to disinfect home surfaces and other things within your house, you are reducing the risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses from spreading.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
If you want to minimize any possible traces of virus within your home, it is essential to both clean and disinfect everything indoors. Many might not be aware that cleaning and disinfecting are different.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines cleaning as “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces.” It does not kill germs, though by removing them, it lowers the risk of spreading infection.
On the other hand, disinfecting refers to “using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces.” It does not clean the surface or remove germs, so it is usually done after the cleaning process. Disinfecting kills the germs that might have remained after cleaning, further lowering the risk of spreading infection.
Here are some of the sanitizing methods on how to disinfect your home against coronavirus.
How to disinfect your hands?
You might have heard this a million times, but washing your hands is the best way to prevent the infection of COVID-19. Our hands are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body to be in contact with the virus. Thoroughly wash your hands after:
- coughing or sneezing
- touching your face
- using the restroom
- using gloves
- touching any surface
- about to leave or coming back from one place (ex. grocery store)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has detailed instructions on how to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This is the same length of singing “Happy Birthday” twice or singing the chorus of your favorite song.
If you don’t have access to soap or water, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, with at least 60% alcohol, can be used. However, wash your hands with soap and warm as soon as possible.
Keeping your hands moisturized can also lower the risk of virus infection. Dry, cracked skin is more prone to infection. So, after washing, apply a little lotion or moisturizer to your hands. Most moisturizers have the same ingredients, like water and glycerin, so purchasing specific products do not matter.
How to disinfect home surfaces?
Research shows that the novel coronavirus can remain on surfaces such as cardboard for 24 hours and up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. Cleaning home surfaces is not enough; make sure you are thoroughly disinfecting them. Disinfect the following surfaces daily:
- table surfaces
- dining chairs
- kitchen counters
- bathroom counters
- faucets and faucet knobs
- light switches
When cleaning and disinfecting, wear disposable gloves and discard them after use. If you use reusable gloves, only use them for sanitizing and not for other purposes. After removing the gloves, wash your hands immediately.
For dirty surfaces, clean them with detergent or soap and water before proceeding to disinfection. For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions and alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol can be used. Make sure the solution is not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach can also be useful if you properly dilute them. To do the bleach solution, mix 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
How to disinfect electronic devices?
Most sanitizing methods that you will find on the internet will focus on home surfaces. Most of us are working from our home or check the latest news through our phones and computers. So, it is essential to disinfect the surfaces of our electronic devices as well.
For phones or tablets, you can disinfect them with a disinfecting wipe or alcohol solution (at least 70 percent). Clean areas such as the screen, the buttons, or anywhere dust may be trapped in, thoroughly. Remove them from their cases and clean the inside and outside of the case as well. Disinfecting them once a day will not cause damage to the device.
For laptops, clean them with isopropyl alcohol (70 percent) solution and a soft towel. Not all laptop displays are made with glass- some are made from plastic- so avoid using a disinfecting wipe on the screen. Just like your phone, clean areas like the keyboard, the trackpad, the exterior, and other places where the germs can inhabit.
Finally, disinfecting desktop computers will be similar to the process with laptops. You can use a disinfecting wipe or isopropyl alcohol solution and a soft towel in cleaning the whole unit. Still, avoid disinfecting wipes on the monitor, and use isopropyl alcohol instead. Wipe down all sides of the mouse, the keyboard, and any mousepad you might have.
How to disinfect clothes?
Asides from learning how to disinfect home surfaces and devices, you also need to disinfect your clothes as it’s in direct contact with your body. Again, use disposable gloves and throw them afterward; or use reusable gloves but only for laundry purposes. If you have no gloves, you can still wash your clothes with bare hands, just make sure to wash them after.
When washing clothes, using regular laundry soap is enough to disinfect them. Just make sure to dry them at a slightly higher temperature than usual to kill any remaining germs. Do not shake the laundry to avoid the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air. Also, clean and disinfect the hamper where the laundry was placed.
Disinfecting may be a tedious task, but it is another way of making sure of your safety within your home. By following these following sanitizing methods, you are lowering the risk of infection of novel coronavirus among you and your family. Stay safe and be vigilant with the latest updates about COVID-19.