In light of the developing coronavirus situation across the globe, people should take this year’s spring cleaning with extreme urgency. Dusting, washing, and disinfecting every nook and cranny of homes and offices are critical in ensuring there would be no room for coronavirus and other pathogens to thrive.
While it’s known that the mode of transmission of coronavirus is through mucus or saliva droplets from one person to another, evidence suggests that it can also be transmitted by touching infected objects and surfaces. Examples of these are doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, and phones. A recent study also revealed that the virus may linger on plastic and steel surfaces for days.
For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly recommends thorough cleaning and disinfecting of dirty surfaces as preventive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in household and community settings.
Cleaning and Disinfection Definitions
This 2-step preventive measure is recommended for all establishments, especially homes in which persons under investigation (PUI) or individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 reside. Cleaning and disinfection are essential in limiting the survival rate of the virus in any environment.
- Cleaning – This pertains to the removal of dirt, germs, and impurities from various surfaces. While cleaning doesn’t kill germs, it removes them from surfaces to minimize the risk of infection.
- Disinfection – This refers to the use of chemicals to kill harmful germs, reducing the chances of spreading infection.
It is encouraged to observe routine cleaning particularly on surfaces that people frequently touch. These surfaces include tables, desks, chairs, doorknobs, hands, faucets, toilets, and sinks. Choose cleaners and disinfectants that are appropriate for use on the surface. Read and follow label instructions.
How to Find out if a Disinfectant Product Meets COVID-19 Requirements
According to Health Canada, coronaviruses are enveloped viruses. This means they can be killed easily using the appropriate disinfectant and by following label directions.
When choosing the right disinfectant product, make sure that the product meets Health Canada’s set requirements for COVID-19. To do this, look for the Drug Identification Number (DIN) found on the label of the product, then search for that number on the Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) list.
Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
Always put on disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves need to be discarded and properly disposed of after cleaning. If you use reusable gloves, dedicate them strictly for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces possibly contaminated by the new coronavirus.
The gloves should not be reused for other purposes. When using disinfection products, read first the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Wash your hands right away after having your gloves removed.
- For visibly dirty surfaces, clean them with soap/detergent and water before proceeding to disinfection.
- Use EPA-approved household disinfectants, alcohol solutions consisting of 70% alcohol, and diluted household bleach solutions for disinfection purposes.
- You can use diluted bleach solutions for home disinfection if it’s appropriate for the surface. Just see the manufacturer’s instructions to know proper application and ventilation.
- Make sure the product isn’t past the indicated expiration date. When properly diluted, household bleach is effective for use against coronavirus.
- Avoid mixing household bleach with ammonia and other cleansers. Doing so can produce noxious fumes that can be harmful to your health.
- Make a bleach solution by combining 5 tablespoons or ⅓ cup of bleach for every gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach for every quart of water.
- EPA-registered products are believed to be effective in fighting off COVID-19 and other stubborn viruses. Again, follow the instructions specified by the manufacturer when using cleaning and disinfection products. These include instructions on the right concentration levels, method of application, and contact time.
- When cleaning soft surfaces like rugs, carpeted floors, and window drapes, eliminate visible contamination using the cleaning products intended for use on porous surfaces. Wash the items right after cleaning in hot water, then dry them completely.
Clothing, Linens, and Towels
Wear disposable gloves in case you’re handling dirty clothes worn by an ill person. Throw the gloves after every use. Dedicate reusable gloves strictly for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces possibly contaminated by COVID-19. Clean your hands thoroughly after removing the gloves.
- If you’re not using gloves when doing dirty laundry, make sure to wash your hands and disinfect afterwards.
- As much as possible, avoid shaking dirty laundry to prevent the possibility of dispersing pathogens through the air.
- Wash clothes, towels, and linens according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, wash them in hot water then dry them completely (dirty laundry from a sick person can be washed with other people’s clothes).
- Following the cleaning guidelines for surfaces, clean and disinfect your clothes hamper. Consider placing a disposable or washable bag liner in the hamper.
Personal Hygiene Reminders to Prevent Coronavirus Spread
All members of the household must practice cleaning and disinfecting their hands frequently (even after removing gloves) after getting in contact with an infected person. Wash your hands using soap and warm water for about 20 seconds. If your hands aren’t visibly dirty and you can’t wash with soap and water, clean your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol).
Encourage the entire family to observe proper hygiene and preventive measures against COVID-19 even while at work. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.
Hand washing is especially important during these times:
- After using the restroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, and sneezing
- Before and after food preparation and eating
- After playing with pets
- Before and after giving routine care for infants and the elderly
Other sanitation considerations when living with infected persons:
- The sick person should eat or be fed inside their room. Wear gloves when handling used plates and utensils and wash them with hot water. Clean your hands immediately afterwards.
- Have the patient wear a facemask at all times, especially when they’re around other people. In case the patient isn’t able to use a facemask due to breathing difficulties, the caregiver and other people in the household should wear a mask.
- Never share household items with the sick person. These include dishes, cups, drinking glasses, utensils, bedding, towels, and other items.
- Dedicate a separate trash bin for the ill person. Use gloves when removing and disposing of garbage bags and bins. Disinfect properly after doing so.
- Consult with your local health office to know the guidelines on waste disposal.
Waste materials should not be left unsupervised. It should only be collected by government-authorized parties or licensed waste contractors. When awaiting collection, waste should be placed in secure containers. Waste from suspected COVID-19 cases like gloves, masks, and tissues should be stored in a plastic bag and tied securely. Sort waste materials accordingly and segregate used personal protective equipment (PPE) from other household wastes (even those recyclable items).
For guidance on how to properly sort your wastes and how to dispose of them, contact BaleForce Recycling Equipment. Call us at (416) 235-1900 or send us a message.