Tips for Keeping Your Home Germ-Free
As we all hunker down at home to stay safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19, our house becomes more than our haven. It’s our office, our school, our gym and our restaurant… and keeping our ‘haven’ clean has never been more important.
While you are already limiting non-essential outings and practicing great house hygiene, other essential services carry on, from mail and pizza deliveries to plumbing and air conditioning repairs. If you’re worried about the invisible intruders these essential visitors may bring, these cleaning tips can help stop the virus from inviting itself into your home.
Start with a Clean Slate
We know coronavirus can live for three days or more on some surfaces. Step one? Focusing on the surfaces you use daily throughout your home. Wipe down and disinfect everything from door handles, light switches, counters and faucets, to fridge doors and touchscreens. While soap is the first choice for cleaning hands, a disinfectant is the first choice for surfaces. Agents like Clorox, alcohol and household cleaners kill bacteria and viruses. When disinfecting a counter, spray it, then let the agent sit for at least a minute before wiping clean.
Create a Clean Home Routine
Next, plan out and put in place a coming-home routine that everyone follows. Make sure all family members come in through the same door, preferably one close to a sink. Put a sign on the door reminding those entering to remove shoes—which have been on surfaces where people could have coughed, sneezed or spit—and wash their hands for 20 seconds with warm water.
Stock the sink area with soap and paper towels, not cloth towels. While still in your ‘Clean Home’ transition area, clean items you touch and carry, such as your keys, cellphone, wallet and purse handle. If you’re coming home after being in a high-risk environment, like a doctor’s office or hospital, remove your clothes and put them straight into the washing machine with regular detergent and take a shower.
Give Groceries Extra Care
While you won’t get infected by touching the virus—infection most often occurs when the virus is transferred to your eyes, nose or mouth—people likely carrying the virus have almost certainly touched the same surfaces (and squeezed the same avocados) that you have while at the grocery store.
When out, it’s important to try not to touch your face until you’ve used hand sanitizer or washed your hands. Keep your car clean by wiping your steering wheel, dashboard and door handles with disinfectant, and put your grocery bags in your trunk, not inside the car.
Once you get home, put groceries in the ‘Clean Home’ transition zone you created. After you wash your hands, unload groceries, and wipe down cartons and cans as you put them away. Put empty bags outside, directly into the recycle bin, and clean the counter.
Ask Visitors to Follow Your Rules
For most of us, no matter how cautious we try to be, life marches on, and that could mean necessary visitors or special exemptions for family and friends. It may not be possible to ban everyone from your home, but it’s important to know that each guest could be carrying the virus. So, it’s important to make sure they follow your house rules. Ask all visitors to remove shoes and wash hands, then be sure to keep a distance of six feet between you and the visitor(s) at all times.