Every home should take measures in response to the Corona outbreak. In line with the theme of our site, health and science, we’d like to give out a few tips on how to clean your home to prevent viruses from spreading and maintain a good and healthy household.
How to clean your home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other infections
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, now is a good time to understand how cleaning can help prevent the spread of disease and what you can do to reduce the risk of infection in your home or office.
Coronavirus is mainly transmitted from person to person through small bodily fluids like saliva that could be present in the air after coughing or sneezing. Contaminated objects and surfaces can also be important in disease transmission. However, it makes sense that if something infected with the virus can be passed on.
So if someone is at risk of having the virus at your home or work, cleaning to reduce the amount of contamination on surfaces can reduce your risk of further transmission of coronavirus. (It also reduces the risk of transmission from other pathogens.)
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
There is a useful distinction between cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning means the physical removal of organic material like dirt and germs from direct (or even indirect) surfaces. Disinfection can refer to using various chemical compounds to eliminate germs on many surfaces. Cleaning is very important because organic material can inhibit or reduce the disinfectant’s ability to kill germs.
What could be infected in my house?
It is difficult to say exactly. After a person sneezes or just coughs without covering their mouth and nose, it could be probably that surfaces at close range are contaminated. Often, hands are responsible for the transmission of pathogens, so items that people often touch are most at risk of becoming infected.
Common items can be TV remotes, refrigerator doors, kitchen cabinets, kitchen surfaces, faucets, and door handles. And of course, there are devices like phones and iPads, but they may not be shared or touched often by others.
What should I use to clean and how?
The coronavirus is a delicate structure and is vulnerable in the environment. Heat as well as detergents like soap can prevent them from spreading.
- Cleaning the suspected contaminated surfaces with a regular household disinfectant will kill the virus. Remember to wash your hands after cleaning (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
- How you clean is important. You do not want to “re-contaminate” surfaces during cleaning. It helps to work from one side of a surface to the other, with an “S” shape to clean.
- If you reuse a cloth, don’t forget to wash it and let it dry. Washing clothes in the washing machine with normal washing liquid are also likely to kill the virus, especially with a warm wash.
Crockery and cutlery
- Washing with hot water and detergent is fine for crockery and cutlery. A dishwasher (https://vaatwasser-info.nl/) is even better because it can use hotter water than your hands can tolerate.
Clothes and linen
- Use the hottest setting possible to wash soiled laundry and allow it to dry completely. You may not want to ruin clothing or other materials, so always look at the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Laundry from someone who is sick can be washed with other people’s items. When handling contaminated items such as towel or sheets, do not shake them before washing to reduce the risk of contamination from other surfaces.
- And don’t forget to wash your hands immediately after touching contaminated laundry.
Prevention is best
Surfaces are vulnerable to transmitting pathogens, so preventing them from getting contaminated in the first place is just as important as cleaning. There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of surface contamination in your home:
- cover your cough and sneeze, ideally with a tissue but differently in your elbow, and wash your hands immediately
- wash your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating.