General Tips: Safety and Efficiency
Wear gloves and face protection while cleaning. During this time it is easy to over use chemicals and accidentally expose oneself or a family member. Less is more. A huge misconception is that adding more chemicals to an area will disinfect it better. This is dangerous and wasteful. read the label. If the product calls for X to be applied, then apply X. People need to keep in mind we still need to live and thrive after this is done. Many chemicals have side effects and were never intended for such aggressive use.
Pre-cleaning: The right protocol!
If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. As a professional I can not stress this enough. There is much discussion in professional cleaning and restoration circles now regarding disinfection methods and protocols. The number one topic is the need to pre-clean surfaces prior to applying disinfectants. Many companies and products are advertising a once and done miracle spray. This is as far from the truth as it gets. We will be publishing a separate article about pre-cleaning, deceptive advertising, and proper protocols for consumers to get a grasp on the best methods. In short always follow the label instructions. EPA registered products will always tell you to clean first then apply a disinfectant.
A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available EPA Registered Products List. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
Disinfecting & Cleaning: Hard Non-Porous surfaces
Pre-clean the surface using a household cleaner or soap and water. Apply the selected product for disinfection and make sure to follow labeling instructions. Specifically ,make sure the product is made to be used on hard non-porous surfaces. Make sure to check the dwell time ( the amount of time needed for the product to be effective) on the label along with any other instructions.
According to the CDC website , diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used to disinfect hard surfaces. Generally, Bleach ( sodium hypochlorites) is not effective on porous surfaces. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application instructions. Specifically pay attention to instructions for safety precautions, dwell time, and intended application areas and mixing ratios. The CDC recommends a dwell time of a minimum of at least 1 minute for effectiveness. Always allow proper ventilation during and after application.
The CDC website provides mixing ratios and instructions for household bleach. You can access this and other important information by visiting the CDC website here.
Disinfecting & Cleaning: Soft (Porous) Surfaces
For soft (porous) surfaces such as rugs, carpets, drapes, furniture, mattresses, etc always pre-clean and remove debris and visible contaminants.
TIP: Your vacuums and mops are a vector for germs and disease. Always make sure to clean and disinfect them after each use. Vacuum cleaners should be cleaned out regularly. Always clean out the vacuum canister in an area where cross-contamination will be avoided. Clean the canister and apply hard surface disinfectant to the vacuum canister.
Launder items in accordance with their label and if needed use products designated by the EPA as suitable for Covid-19. We recommend using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
Disinfecting & Cleaning :Electronics, Keys, Cell phones, and Laptops.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics. Alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect surfaces. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
TIP: These items are one of the highest vectors for disease and are a huge hygiene threat. One recommendation is to have a plastic container near doorways. Upon entry place all items – wallets, keys, cell phones, etc into this container to avoid contaminating other surfaces. This will provide a safe place to store these items until you are able to clean and disinfect them.
Wash Your Hands
Warm water with soap is our best friend in the fight to stop the spread of diseases. We wash our hands every chance we have. I want to stress the importance of having a plan for coming home and leaving the house. Often times we throw our bags and keys and then wash our hands only to return to these items later. This is human nature and also a huge threat. Every household should have a plan and protocol on how they enter and leave the house. Preparedness and planning will help flatten the curve and minimize the chance of your or your loved ones getting sick.
Shoes and Jackets: Clean them and keep them separated.
Shoes are one of the most dirty items of clothing that we bring into our homes. Recent studies have shown Sars-Cov-2 RNA (the virus which causes Covid-19) on shoe covers of doctors near patients. This means that their shoes were vectors for the virus. Now imagine where you went and who was there before you. What protocols did they fail to follow?