Coronavirus has swept the world, and over 95,000 have now been confirmed with COVID-19. The current best practice from Public Health England is simply to wash our hands more often and more thoroughly, and to avoid touching our faces or sneezing into our hands. That’s all very well and good, but when your hands are then touching dirty surfaces on your home, it pretty much defeats the object. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.
But what’s the best practice for keeping your home clean and safe during the coronavirus outbreak?
Clean then disinfect
In terms of disease prevention, cleaning and disinfection are considered different things, but it’s important to do both. Cleaning is the removal of germs, and disinfectant is killing them. So cleaning first helps reduce the risk of germs spreading, and using a disinfectant after this helps to go one better.
Use effective disinfectants
With the cleaning craze – championed by the likes of Mrs Hinch – taking hold in a big way we’ve probably all got a bottle of Zoflora in our cupboard. The CDCP has identified a list of disinfectants suitable for killing coronavirus on hard surfaces, including brands like Lysol and Clorox. However, most of these are brands from the US. For the most part, anything that calls itself a disinfectant will do the trick to kill the bacteria. Yep, that means even your trusty Zoflora or Dettol.
And use them liberally
Read the instructions on the back of your disinfectant (or disinfectant wipes) and you’ll usually see that you might not have used enough product in the past. Disinfectants normally need to wet the surface and stay wet for a few minutes to work. Keep pets and children away from recently disinfected surfaces until they’re dry, but after that, they’re safe to touch and are considered clean.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated recently that, ‘studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.’ Basically, it’s not enough to do a deep clean every few days, and you should make a habit of cleaning then disinfecting your surfaces at least once a day, but more often if they’re in heavy use.
Soak and wash sponges and cloths
The NHS advises that ‘reusable cloths should be disinfected or washed at 60C (140F) after each use.’ You can also copy Mrs Hinch, and leave your cloths and sponges in overnight in boiling water with diluted disinfectant. The bonus of this is that it makes the house – and your utensils – smell amazing, and your items are ready to use in the morning.
Use disposable when possible
No, this doesn’t mean going out and buying only plastic plates and forks and to hell with the consequences. It does mean, though, that in cases where you’re cleaning something that might be contaminated or, for example, has been sneezed on or touched by someone ill, it’s a good idea to stick to paper towels and kitchen roll rather than reusable cloths. Even the most forthright eco-warriors can understand the reasoning behind wanting to ensure that diseases are prevented.