Disinfecting Your Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Whether you clean your home daily or less frequently, during a raging pandemic like the COVID-19 outbreak, disinfecting your house is not a choice, but a precautionary measure of critical importance! One of the reasons for doing this (sanitising your home) is because the coronavirus can live on various types of surfaces for a number of hours or even days, thus infecting a person that touches the contamination and proceeds to touch their face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
Yes, the coronavirus is highly contagious and continues to spread quickly around the globe, taking thousands of lives in the process. The scariest part in the spread of the virus, perhaps, is that healthy persons can contract it from asymptomatic carriers who only start to show signs of being infected after the transmission. This is the reason why self-quarantine, social distancing, and staying home is so important during this outbreak. With fears mounting over which state in your country, or which neighbourhood in your city is going to be affected next, taking extreme precautions to avoid this virus is understandable, and recommended!
Although most of us are doing our bit by staying home or restricting our outdoor activity to merely stepping out onto the balcony or front porch, one or more members of every household is forced to go out at some point to buy groceries or medicines. Even if you are making use of home delivery services, there is always the worry of packaging being contaminated or the delivery executive being a carrier; yes, this level of paranoia is the new normal!
With that said, it all comes back to your quarantine quarters and the level of disinfecting required to keep them free of viruses during COVID-19. Remember, you and your family are (and have been) staying within the walls of your house for days on end, making cleaning and killing germs in the home a must. So then, let’s get right to our guide on COVID-19 disinfection of your home.
Things You Need to Disinfect Your Home
When you are attempting to sanitise your home to fight a virus of this nature, not leaving anything to chance is what the experts advise. This means using only anti-bacterial or EPA-approved cleaning products to effectively disinfect your home while wearing appropriate protective gear to avoid infection (assuming that you are treating your home as if a potential virus is prevalent).
Here is what you will need to disinfect your home during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- EPA-approved cleaning products for floors, bathrooms, kitchen surfaces, furniture, and glass surfaces
- Disposable disinfectant wipes
- Paper towels
- Multiple clean or sterilised cleaning cloths to use daily and on various surfaces
- Cleaning brushes
- Medical mask
- Rubber gloves
WARNING: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends to avoid touching your face when cleaning and disinfecting your home during a virus outbreak. Take off the gloves and wash your hands properly before you touch anything else including your face.
COVID-19 Disinfecting: Where to Start
Assuming that you have had a household member go out (for whatever reason) in the last 48 hours, the first thing you should disinfect is the doorknob on your front door and/or other doors used to enter the house. This is the first thing a person touches when they come home and therefore, will carry germs regardless of whether there is a virus outbreak or not. Use paper towels and a disinfectant spray to sanitise the doorknob/handle before moving on to other high-touch surfaces.
List of High-Touch Surfaces and Objects
To understand what can be classified as high-touch surfaces/items, take a pen and notepad and write down objects and surfaces that are frequently touched in every room of your house. As overwhelming as it may be to think about disinfecting a large number of things every day, remember that they are harbouring germs or worse, a potential virus.
Although every home and family is unique and hence, high-touch areas differ, here is a list of common objects and surfaces that are frequently touched in homes:
- Furniture pieces – tables, chair backs, shelving, cabinets, etc
- Gaming controls
- Mobile phones/telephones
- Kitchen appliances
- Toilet seat and flush pull/button
- Desktop keyboard and mouse
- Sofa/couch armrest
- Stair railings
How to Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces/Objects
- Using a clean cloth, wipe the surface or item to remove dirt or dust that may be clinging to it.
- For non-electricals, spray the surface with a generous amount of the disinfectant and wipe thoroughly using paper towels or a sterilised cloth.
- For electricals, use a disinfectant wipe or a clean cloth dampened with the anti-bacterial solution.
NOTE: Use a fresh side of your cleaning cloth as you move on to another item/surface/area; replace the cloth when all sides have been used up.
Step-by-Step Bathroom Disinfecting
With or without a virus in the air, bathroom germs are inevitable. The difference now is that there is a fear of contracting a virus which means disinfecting the bathroom is imperative. Everything from faucets and other fittings, to the toilet, sink, and shower area; germs are all over your bathroom which is why professional cleaners and health experts agree that bathroom cleaning should be a daily task.
Of course, during a pandemic like COVID-19, you need to take further measures to not only clean but disinfect your bathroom.
Here is a quick step-by-step guide to disinfecting your bathroom in a systematic way:
- Wipe down and disinfect handheld hotspots first because they carry a lot of bacteria. This includes the doorknob, faucets, taps, and medicine cabinet door.
- Clean the sink interior and exterior or surrounding vanity area with a surface cleaner and a clean scrubber or cloth.
- Soak up some of the water on the surface with paper towels before spraying over it with your disinfectant. Use fresh paper towels to wipe down the sink and adjacent areas immediately after.
- Use separate disinfectant wipes to sterilise the lid and toilet seat. Alternatively, you can spray these items with your sanitising solution and wipe them down with paper towels. This initial step will remove upto 90% of germs.
- After disinfecting the lid and seat, clean with an EPA-approved product for complete sterilisation.
- Clean the toilet bowl with your regular cleaning product and toilet brush.
- Clean the bowl exteriors with a separate brush/scrubber, and disinfect it in the same manner as your bathroom sink interiors.
- Dampen the walls with warm or hot water (this helps to kill bacteria and loosen grime.
- Apply an EPA-approved cleaning solution and scrub the walls; pay more attention to areas around the sink and shower as they are generally infested with germs.
- Rinse off the cleaner thoroughly.
- For a bathtub, fill it with hot water and add 1 cup of an EPA-approved tub cleaner. This will not sanitise the tub completely, however, it will help kill germs and loosen soap scum.
- Drain the tub and clean inside and outside with a soapy scrubber.
- Rinse off the cleaner thoroughly and wipe the surface with a towel or absorbent cloth.
- Spray on the disinfectant and wipe with paper towels.
- Bathroom floor tiles can be cleaned and sanitised as per your normal routine using an EPA-approved product.
- Use a dry mop to soak up water and leave the door and window open to air out the bathroom as damp and humid bathroom conditions promote mould growth.
Wash/Disinfect Your Linen/Upholstery
Yes, viruses can also survive on fabric like bedsheets and upholstered furniture. Therefore, disinfecting your home during COVID-19 means regularly changing bed sheets, pillowcases, and cushion cover while disinfecting upholstery every week. Where laundering your linen to sanitise it is concerned, this will be no different than the usual process. It is, however, helpful to use hotter water (if suitable for the material) as this kills bacteria more effectively.
Deep cleaning upholstered furniture can be rather difficult and time-consuming but the steps and tips below can quickly and easily sanitise your upholstery:
- Vacuum upholstery thoroughly using an appropriate head attachment. Focus more attention on headrests and armrests.
- In a bowl, mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts water and pour the solution into a spray bottle; make as much of this disinfectant as you need for your household upholstery.
- Spray upholstery generously or dampen a clean cloth and wipe over the material before you go to sleep – this includes sofas, couches and upholstered chairs.
- Leave it overnight for the disinfectant to fight germs. Keep ceiling fans running to dry the material faster.
- Vacuum the upholstery one more time after it is dry.
Vacuum and Sterilise Floor
A lot of germs get dragged into your home when you go out and come back in. During a time like this when most of us are staying home and practising social distancing, your home flooring is less likely to be contaminated with a virus. With that said, it will still need to be cleaned and sterilised daily as a precaution, particularly if you have young kids who spend a lot of time playing and rolling around on the floor.
For non-carpeted flooring, vacuuming is the most effective way to pick up dirt and allergens that are otherwise easily transferred to other areas of your home. It is advisable to take a little more time when vacuuming flooring for a thorough clean and, as mentioned earlier, your regular floor cleaner should be replaced by an EPA-approved product or anti-bacterial cleaner.
To clean and disinfect carpets and rugs, steam cleaning is definitely a quicker and more effective way to go, followed by shampooing with a germ-fighting solution. The other option is to deep clean carpeting which is best left to a professional carpet cleaning service to ensure that it is properly sterilised in a safe manner.
What to Disinfect in the Bedroom
We’ve already covered linen, upholstery, flooring, and high-touch surfaces/objects that need to be disinfected in your home during COVID-19. Many of these are found in bedrooms, along with other things that need attention where disinfection is concerned. Again, it should be pointed out that every bedroom and how it is used by an individual differs; therefore, the manner in which you go about disinfecting your bedroom must be tweaked according to your requirements.
Here is a general idea of what you need to sterilise in your bedroom:
- Bedknobs and bed frame
- End tables
- Closet doors and handles
- Drawer fronts and handles
- Personal items
NOTE: Bedroom cleaning and disinfection is advised daily during a pandemic such as COVID-19.
Hire a Cleaning Service for Top to Bottom Home Disinfection
A lot of homeowners are wary of continuing to use a maid service during this virus outbreak and rightfully so. Considering the fact that every home is occupied by family members who are quarantining together, allowing someone to enter your home can be disconcerting. With that said, numerous home and commercial cleaning services are being hired to sterilise various buildings such as schools, government offices, clinics, and hospitals in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus. Rest assured that each member of these cleaning teams is fully equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ensuring that both parties are protected from contracting a virus of any kind.
When looking to hire a cleaning service to disinfect your home, choosing a reputable company experienced in sterilising homes is imperative. Understandably, you will want the reassurance of hiring professional cleaners that follow strict protocol when disinfecting your home from top to bottom and that is exactly what trusted home cleaning services like Maid For You offer!
In conclusion, the words “prevention is better than cure” could not be truer as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Along with following protocol to help flatten the curve and win the war against coronavirus, every household has a responsibility of maintaining a sterilised home for them and their families to self-quarantine in.
Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.