Cleaning Tips to Help Prevent Virus Infections

Fighting infection where you live is a frontline defense in slowing the spread of coronavirus to others, but along with staying at home and social distancing when you must go out, effective disinfecting is one way to fight the virus. Here’s how experts say we should clean.

First wash your hands

Keeping your hands as clean as possible is very helpful in controlling infection. Washing your hands well can dramatically reduce transmission.

Wash hands before and after you clean your house, touch the garbage and care for a pet. Warm water is best, and you should make sure to lather up soap vigorously. Then scrub everywhere, including wrists, thumbs and fingernails. Dry with a paper towel instead of shaking your hands to air dry them. Turn off the faucet handle with the same towel after you’ve finished so you don’t re-contaminate your hands.

Give high-touch areas a daily wipe down.

Infectious disease specialists recommend adding a daily extra to your regular cleaning. Focus each day on spots that you and the family touch frequently. Think doorknobs and handles of all kinds: refrigerator and microwave handles, cabinet and drawer pulls, faucet handles and toilet flushers. Don’t forget light switches and television remotes.

Should you disinfect food packaging?

The CDC currently does not recommend wiping down each grocery product you bring into the house, but health experts are divided on how to handle those grocery sacks and food containers. Some say you should just wipe down high-contact surfaces such as counters where you deposit food packages, while others suggest setting up a sanitation station on the porch or in the mudroom where you can remove food from sacks before bringing groceries into the house. Then you should wipe down containers before putting food away. Those health experts point out that the coronavirus lives on plastic and metal containers that are handled at the supermarkets by other people.

To clean or not to clean your phone?

There have been studies that show germs on your hands and your face find their way to your phone, so you may choose to clean your phone, and now is certainly a good time for phone hygiene practices.

Avoid sharing your phone with others or germs on their face could be transmitted to your face. Put your phone on speaker and hold it away from your face. Use a headset. Some health care workers are sealing their phones into plastic baggies while they’re on the job. If you decide to disinfect your phone, don’t use bleach or other agents on your phone. Wipe your phone with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

You don’t need hospital-grade cleaners.

Don’t worry if your store can’t keep in stock the disinfectant cleaners and bleaches that promise to kill 99.9 percent of germs. Scientists say regular household cleaners or soap and water should get rid of coronavirus on surfaces. Home cleaning supplies often contain many of the same ingredients as hospital cleaners.

Don’t spray disinfectant on people, pets or food.

Lysol spray is a disinfectant that’s designed for use on surfaces. It should not be sprayed on the human body or pets. It’s not meant to be sprayed on food. If you decide to wash fruits or vegetables, use soap and water and rinse thoroughly.

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