Unless you’ve been stranded on an island the past couple months, you’d undoubtedly know that interest in coronavirus has surged in the last two weeks, spanning national coverage from television outlets to newspapers and plenty of posts in social feeds, leading to what can feel like a pandemonium of unbalanced commentary on the health risks associated with COVID-19.
While people are being told to avoid even small gatherings, they also should remain vigilant and engage in safe practices at home. That includes deep cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and taking extra steps when handling laundry and shoes.
What is Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that causes the disease COVID-19. It is believed to have originated in China and has quickly spread throughout Asia and into European countries like Italy, as of the 17th March, there are more than 182,000 confirmed cases worldwide as well as over 7000 deaths. In Australia, we currently have 440 confirmed cases and 5 deaths but the Australian Department of Health expects this number to rise rapidly within the coming weeks as we enter the cooler months of Autumn and Winter.
A recent study published on Medrxiv reported earlier this week that the coronavirus can stay alive on surfaces such as plastic or metal for up to 72hrs. The finding seems to have prompted the World Health Organisation to update the literature on their official website as they had previously advised that the coronavirus was only able to survive on surfaces for a few hours.
It has been well documented in a number of studies that cleaning and disinfection plays a key role in controlling outbreaks such as COV-19 and it has prompted the EPA to release a list of disinfectants to advise the public of disinfectants which can be used to assist in the fight against the virus. The Australian Department of Health has also released cleaning and disinfecting protocols in response to the COV-19
Deep Cleaning Tips for the Home During a Virus Outbreak
As the owner of a commercial cleaning company we’ve seen a dramatic surge in the amount of businesses requesting our disinfection services and this can be directly attributed to the concerns over coronavirus.
While keeping safe in the workplace is important, we believe that protecting yourself against COVID-19 begins at home.
You can implement a cleaning regimen at home to reduce the likelihood of causing a coronavirus outbreak in your own household by following 2 crucial steps –
STEP 1: CLEANING
Although it doesn’t kill the virus, cleaning will help remove dust and dirt which helps harbour them hence reducing the risk of spreading the infection.
Step 2: Disinfection
Spray disinfectant using a solution on all hard surfaces with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol or hospital grade bleach solution as recommended by the Australian Department of Health (bleach is not suitable for electrical devices). Although this won’t necessary kill all traces of a virus, numerous studies have proven disinfection significantly lowers the number of viruses and bacteria present thereby reducing the likelihood of spreading.
Note: At the point of writing, many chemical manufacturers are currently running low on disinfectant due to increased demand and overseas supply issues due to the coronavirus. If you have problems purchasing disinfectant, you can also make your own by mixing 5 tablespoons or 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.
Hard and Soft Surfaces
- Use EPA registered or hospital grade disinfectants and make sure to follow label instructions.
- Make sure you wear disposable gloves when cleaning and replace then after every clean
- Clean and disinfect high touch hard surfaces such as door handles, light switches, tables, chairs, toilets etc
- Remove visible signs of contamination for soft surfaces such as carpets, rugs, curtains etc and then launder them if possible
Clothing & Laundry Items
- Wear Gloves if you are handling the laundry of an infected person and wash hands immediately after removing gloves
- Avoid shaking dirty laundry to prevent the virus being dispersed in the air
- When washing clothes, follow the manufacturers instructions, use the warmest setting possible and dry thoroughly
- Disinfect clothes baskets using a disinfectant or bleach solution
- Don’t wear your shoes inside your home and leave them at the outside or at the front door to prevent the virus from being brought inside the home