The outbreak and global spread of COVID-19 have caused us to rethink many of our habits and significantly alter our lifestyles. Physical distancing and hand hygiene have been two of our biggest weapons in stopping the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, and we’ve learned many things along the way (including how often we all touch our faces).
To paraphrase Australian Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, this virus has one move and that is the person-to-person transmission. In order to spread, droplets need to get from one person to another, sometimes via a surface. This means that even if you are following physical distancing and hand hygiene, the virus could potentially come into your home via a delivery or an essential worker who you live with.
A thorough cleaning can help you minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially if its only potential presence in your home is on surfaces. Read the rest of this guide to explore exactly what we know about cleaning and the coronavirus.
Here’s how to become clever cleaners in the time of COVID-19.
COVID-19 On Surfaces – How Long Can It Last?
COVID-19 can survive on surfaces but it can’t live forever. Current research suggests that it can survive on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for around three days. Exactly how long the virus can survive will depend largely on the amount of contaminated fluid present on the inanimate surface.
The good news is that cleaning with disinfectants can deactivate the virus and leave it harmless to you. This makes regular house cleaning more important than ever.
Think About Those High-Contact Areas in Your Home
There are some parts of your home you would never touch unless you are specifically cleaning them, like the underside of your fridge. To get into the mindset of a coronavirus cleaner, think about all those surfaces you touch every day, such as
- Doorknobs and handles
- Tables, chairs, and benchtops
- Light switches
- Bed rails
Each of these surfaces should be mechanically cleaned on a regular basis, especially if you are living with someone who is unwell. Mechanical cleaning simply refers to cleaning using an item such as disinfectant wipes or a sponge, rather than just using your hands.
What About Those Low-Touch Areas?
There are some areas of your home that aren’t touched as often, like walls, blinds, floors, or ceilings. Surfaces like window blinds and walls should be cleaned when they become visibly dusty or soiled, as should window curtains (curtains can also be changed and cleaned on a semi-regular basis).
For floors, weekly damp mopping is recommended, while sinks and basins should also be cleaned regularly.
Each of these surfaces can be cleaned less regularly than high-contact areas, but they will still require attention periodically or whenever they are soiled or dusty.
A Guide to Disinfecting Surfaces in Your Home
- Wear disposable gloves
- Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soapy water before disinfecting
- To disinfect, you can use detergent solutions (follow manufacturer instructions), disinfectant wipes, or a 70% or higher alcohol-based solution
- Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area when disinfecting surfaces
- When using cleaning products, always follow the instructions listed
- Remove and dispose of gloves when you are finished cleaning
- Wash your hands thoroughly at the conclusion of the process
Food Safety and COVID-19: Do I Have to Worry?
COVID-19 is not foodborne, but rather it is a respiratory illness. The risk of spreading the virus via food or food packaging is very low.
However, you should still be following certain rules, like properly storing and preparing your food, including washing fresh fruit and vegetables. You should always wash your hands before preparing food, eating food or putting it away, and clean utensils should always be used.
When it comes to food delivery, the people preparing and delivering your food should be following strict food safety and personal hygiene rules.
Online Shopping and COVID-19: Is the Packaging a Risk?
While cardboard surfaces can carry coronavirus for up to or greater than 24 hours, your package is unlikely to be infected by the time it completes transit and hits your front door. If you want to be extra safe, you can always handle packages with disposable gloves and quarantine the package for 24 hours before opening it.
Should I Hire Professional Cleaners to Assist with Cleaning My Home?
Affordable, professional, high-quality cleaners are available to assist you home, in the office, or in rental properties or apartment buildings. If you are concerned about COVID-19, you could treat it like spring cleaning. The professionals can come in and clean your home, and you can maintain the benchmark they set through daily cleaning. It’s best to find cleaners who will complete one-off jobs, rather than being locked into an ongoing contract. You also want them to be insured, police checked, and highly rated and recommended.
Whatever option you choose, we hope this guide has helped you understand what you should be cleaning, when you should be cleaning it, and how often it should be cleaned. As always, be sure to supplement this guide with official health advice from your State or Territory. Stay safe, stay healthy, and good luck with your cleaning!