Having been in the residential and commercial cleaning industry for many years, it has become more important than ever for our company to understand how to continue to provide healthy homes and healthy work environments for our clients.
We have been closely following the recommendations of the provincial and federal authorities as well as recognized leading authorities in the commercial cleaning and restoration sector, we are supported with the absolute best and safest products and information in the industry.
In times like these there is a lot of misinformation that circulates around. We created this resource to help our customers and the public have solid, timely and up to date information compiled from the most credible sources on how to care for the surfaces inside your home that can be prone to spread germs, viruses and diseases, in an easy and effective way.
General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfecting In And Around Your Household
While it is always good practice to keep your home clean and common surfaces disinfected on a regular basis to prevent potentially harmful germs, bacteria and viruses from spreading; during flu season we tend to get a bit more hyper aware and certainly see the hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes get brought out a bit more.
The most important surfaces to clean regularly are the ones you touch most often, this will reduce the likelihood of the virus transferring from a surface to your hands and potentially into your face where it can get into your system through your mouth, nose and eyes
The current Coronavirus outbreak has heightened the awareness for effective cleaning and disinfecting around the home. Being in the residential and commercial cleaning industry for over 25 years, we have an understanding of how to provide healthy homes and healthy work environments for our clients – and wanted to share some tips and best practices that you and your family can use in and around your home to help.
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas.
At the moment it’s still unclear how long the virus can survive outside the body, but studies on other coronaviruses, including Sars and Mers, found they can survive on metal, glass and plastic for as long as nine days, unless they are properly disinfected. (5)
That is why the CDC, the World Health Organization and other health authorities, have emphasized that both washing one’s hands PLUS cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily are key in preventing Covid-19’s spread. (2)
A) High Touch Surfaces to Disinfect Around Your Home
Establishing a hygiene routine with some simple, everyday preventative steps can help avoid the spread of respiratory viruses. Wiping down high traffic areas properly (see below) will reduce the spread of viruses in areas which come into contact with various people throughout the day.
So what are the area and items you should be paying attention to?
Here’s a list of the most common “touch points” to get you thinking about areas in your home that you should focus your attention on most:
- Keyboards & Mice
- Gaming Consoles
- Door handles
- Entrance doors
- Light switches
- Remote controls
- Counter tops
- Hard-Backed Chairs
- Sinks & faucets
B) Wash Items That Can Go In The Laundry
- Any item that can be safely laundered should be. In addition, clothing, include scatter matts, bedding, towel and pillows.
- Wash items in the warmest water setting stated on your items labels and dry thoroughly
C) Flooring, Furniture and Fixed Items
Shoes don’t just carry dirt into our homes – they also have the potential to introduce germs. For this reason, it’s best to make your home a ‘shoes-free’ zone and to clean both your hard and soft floors regularly. For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, area rugs, upholstered items and drapery and hard (non porous) flooring surfaces etc, it is recommended to:
- Remove visible dust, debris and contamination (2)
- A HEPA filtered vacuum or central vac units that are ducted outside are preferred to keep dust and particles from redistributing back into your air
- Mop your hard floors with a warm solution of disinfectant cleaner appropriate for your type of flooring
- The CDC suggests cleaning with a diluted solution of household bleach and water on hardy tile and ceramic floors and to leave surfaces wet for 10 minutes before mopping it up to allow for effective disinfecting. (2)
- Do NOT apply bleach to hardwood or sensitive floors as it can damage them
- Take care not to over-wet laminate flooring as this could cause them to warp
- Consider calling a professional for a thorough deep cleaning of carpets, upholstery, area rugs, tile, and other larger and more difficult to self-clean surfaces in your home
Tips for cleaning and disinfecting
It’s worth a short science lesson about Coronaviruses to understand their vulnerability (note since Covid 19 is a new virus, definitive research has not been released but the experts state that there is no reason to assume that COVID-19 is any different than any other Coronaviruses, such as those that caused SARS and MERS).
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a protective fat layer. Soaps and disinfectants tear apart that fat layer and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive. (4)
So while cleaning can eliminate germs and viruses. It takes more than a simple wipe with a wet cloth.
Use Proper Techniques:
- If a surface is visibly dirty, first wipe clean the dirt with soap and water before applying an EPA-Registered household disinfectant
- Use an effective disinfecting solution (see below)
- When applying disinfectants, leave the surface wet for 10 minutes or as is listed on the bottle before wiping away (this is a commonly missed step is key in allowing the solution to work)
- After the appropriate dwell time, wipe the treated surfaces with a clean cloth
Effective Disinfecting Solutions
Here is list of common disinfecting solutions as suggested by the US CDC (2):
- Diluting your household bleach.
- To make, mix: 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water (3)
- Alcohol solutions.
- Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol. (3)
- Common EPA-registered household disinfectants: which include Clorox brand cleaners with Bleach, Lysol’s multi-surface cleaners and similar brands (1)
The ability of the virus to linger for so long only underlines the importance of hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces. I hope you have found this resource helpful and reassuring.
If there anything we can do to assist you, your family at this unique time – please Contact Us
(1) The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of disinfectants that have shown to be effective in fighting coronaviruses. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
(2) US Center for Disease Control: Interim Recommendations for US Households with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html
(3) Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Reference – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
(4) Article “Does disinfecting surfaces really prevent the spread of coronavirus?”- https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/does-disinfecting-surfaces-really-prevent-spread-coronavirus
(5) Journal Of Hospital Infection -Article: “Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents” – https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30046-3/fulltext