Deep House Cleaning During COVID-19: How to Properly Disinfect

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deep house cleaning

COVID-19 virus: it may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on the material the surface is made from.

When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks those droplets containing the virus go into the air and rest on surfaces. You can become infected by touching a surface exposed to the novel coronavirus and then touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Why wouldn't you want to do deep house cleaning?

But COVID-19 is also very contagious and it is essential to use safe and effective cleaning methods in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Here are six secrets of the most commonly infected areas in your home and how to deep clean your house to help prevent the spread of the virus.

1. Metals and Ceramics

When disinfecting any surface it is very important to wear protective gear such as disposable gloves and a face mask.

The human coronavirus can survive up to five days on metal surfaces. Some metal surfaces in your home include:

  • Doorknobs
  • Dishware
  • Silverware

The CDC recommends you clean and disinfect.

Soap and water to clean frequently touched surfaces. Soap and water help to remove germs and dirt from the surface. This method of cleaning does not kill the germs.

After you clean a disinfectant should be used. Disinfecting has to do with using chemicals to kill germs.

For all surfaces in your home be sure to follow the label directions on disinfectants for the safest and effective use. It is especially important to keep the disinfectant on the surface for the recommended amount of time to ensure the virus is destroyed. This is called the contact time.

Each disinfectant's contact time is unique. For example, the contact time for Lysol and Clorox is ten minutes but the contact time for a germicidal spray is three minutes.

Follow the EPA's list of approved products to use against COVID-19 for the best results. It lists the disinfectant's active ingredients, product name, company, and contact time. It is important to check the expiration date of all cleaning products you use to ensure the disinfectant can still be effectively used.

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Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds after disinfecting all surfaces. If you are caring for a person with COVID-19, limit the amount of time you spend in their designated bedroom/bathroom when cleaning.

For surfaces that may be challenging to disinfect or larger areas that require additional assistance, look into house cleaning services in your area.

Electronics are a must to clean as well. Consider using disinfectant wipes or a spray alcohol solution (with at least 70% alcohol) to clean:

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Touch screens

Make sure to dry the surface entirely.

2. Wood

A must to add to your deep cleaning house list is wood surfaces such as:

  • Hard-back chairs
  • Tables
  • Cabinets

COVID-19 can survive for up to four days on wood surfaces. Wood surfaces often have items on top of the surface. Be sure to clear away everything on top of tables or on furniture before you begin cleaning and to disinfect those items too.

Though a warm rag and vinegar has been proven to kill some viruses and bacteria on wood surfaces, it hasn't been proven to work on COVID-19. Instead, use disposable tissues or paper towels and the EPA's approved products linked above.

Be careful to make sure the disinfectant you choose will not damage your wood. Consult a professional or manufacturer with specific questions.

3. Plastic

Deep cleaning houses also means disinfecting plastics. The coronavirus can survive two to three days on plastic surfaces. This includes many items you may bring home from the grocery store such as:

  • Milk containers
  • Detergent bottles
  • Food packaging

It is important to wipe down your groceries with disinfectant wipes or a spray alcohol solution before placing them around other items and surfaces in your home. Other common plastic surfaces in your home include:

  • Light switches
  • Keyboards
  • Seats

A great choice for cleaning plastics surfaces is a diluted household bleach solution. To create a bleach solution combine:

  • 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water

Be sure to leave it on the surface for at least one minute.

4. Stainless Steel

COVID-19 may linger on stainless steel for two to three days. Look to disinfect surfaces like:

  • Refrigerators
  • Pots and pans
  • Sinks
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Remove all the foods and beverages from the refrigerator and freezer before cleaning. Often forgotten are the refrigerator's coils and vents. Use a vacuum hose extension or brush to remove all the collected dirt and dust from the fridge.

Pay close attention to door handles and frequently touched surfaces.

Always use hot water when washing pots and pans with soap. Use your dishwasher highest mode. Remember to always dry items completely.

Wipe down all countertops with disinfectant wipes or a spray alcohol solution frequently.

5. Glass

It is also important to clean glass surfaces in your home such as:

  • Drinking glasses
  • Measuring cups
  • Mirrors
  • Windows

The coronavirus can survive up to five days on glass surfaces. On surfaces you do not eat or drink from, use approved glass cleaners to disinfect such as Peroxide Disinfectant and Glass Cleaner.

6. Soft Surfaces

Last but not least don't forget about soft surfaces like:

  • Rugs
  • Carpets
  • Drapes

Use soap and water to wash these surfaces and utilize a laundry machine when possible. Remember to always use the warmest water setting still safe for your items and allow the items dry all the way.

Deep House Cleaning

Deep house cleaning can be stressful and a big task for anyone, let alone during a pandemic.

From everyday surfaces to household items that get used frequently, please keep these deep house cleaning tips in mind to help protect yourself and those around you from contracting the novel coronavirus.

Stay tuned with new CDC and EPA announcements for the most up to date information on how to deep clean your house during COVID-19.

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