According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), evidence suggests that the coronavirus (COVID-19) may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.
Therefore, cleaning high-traffic surfaces in your home — including tables, kitchen countertops, doorknobs, hard-back chairs, remotes, light switches, toilets, faucets — followed by disinfection is a best practice measure to prevent the spread of the virus.
Here are CDC Guidelines:
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
Consumer Reports has released a very good article to help those who cannot find antibacterial hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes at their local stores. There are lots of common cleaning supplies you probably already have at home and can still find at stores that are effective in keeping your family safe.
Soap and Water
Just the friction from scrubbing with soap and water can break the coronavirus’s protective envelope, so be sure to wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
The CDC recommends a diluted bleach solution (⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water) for virus disinfection. You should always wear gloves while using bleach, and never mix it with ammonia or anything except water. (The only exception is when doing laundry with detergent.)
Apply the bleach solution and let it sit on the surface for at least 10 minutes before wiping it off.
Important Note: Bleach can corrode metal over time, so you should not get into the habit of cleaning faucets and stainless steel products with it. And, because bleach is harsh for many countertops, always rinse surfaces with water after disinfecting to prevent discoloration or damage to the surface.
Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus on hard surfaces. Begin by cleaning the surface with water and detergent. Once you have cleaned the surface, apply the alcohol solution (do not dilute it) and let it sit on the surface for at least 30 seconds to disinfect.
Important Note: Alcohol is generally safe for all surfaces but can discolor some plastics.
According to the CDC, household hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) is effective in deactivating rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Rhinovirus is more difficult to destroy than coronaviruses, so hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in less time. Pour it undiluted into a spray bottle. Spray it on the surface and allow it to sit for at least 1 minute.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used effectively to disinfect hard-to-reach crevices because you can pour it on the area without having to wipe it off since it essentially decomposes into oxygen and water.
Important Note: Although hydrogen peroxide is not corrosive to metal surfaces, similar to bleach, it can discolor fabrics if you accidentally get it on your clothes.
Products that are not effective in deactivating the coronavirus are vodka and distilled white vinegar. Disinfection recommendations using vinegar are popular online, but there is no evidence that they are effective against coronavirus.
To read the full article from Consumer Reports, click here.
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