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How To Prevent Spreading Coronavirus

Cleaning Tips From The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

The novel coronavirus has been making its way around the world at a blistering pace, and it is leaving businesses and families with questions on the best steps to take to prevent the spread of the virus to the best of their abilities. The team here at Commerce Cleaning has constructed this article in hopes of helping those out who plan to mitigate their chance at contracting the virus by doing their due diligence when it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and protecting their family, business, and home.

What is COVID-19?

It is important to know that coronaviruses have been around for a long time, and previous strains are responsible for causing sicknesses such as SARS and MERS. Due to this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some solid recommendations on preventing the spread of the virus that can be taken from preventing the spread of previous strains. Before we get to the ways to prevent the virus, it is important to know what it is, and how it spreads. COVID-19 is a lower respiratory tract infection, which translates to most of the symptoms being felt in the chest and lung area. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets which are expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The expelled droplets can enter the mouths or noses of people nearby (usually within about 6 feet), and can even be inhaled through the lungs. Infected droplets can also land on surfaces, remain there, and transfer the virus if those surfaces are touched. As of what we currently know, people are assumed to be the most contagious when they are displaying symptoms, but it is important to note that the spread of the virus is possible before symptoms show. Due to the possibility of the virus spreading from surface to human, the cleaner the surface, the less likely your chance of your spreading or contracting COVID-19.

CDC Cleaning Recommendations

At times like this, listening to the experts can be the difference between contracting and spreading the virus, or staying clear altogether. The Center for Disease and Prevention has released a set of guidelines that are the standard for persons under investigation (PUI), otherwise known as people who are confirmed carriers of COVID-19, or people who are in self-isolation due to possibly contracting COVID-19. The CDC’s guidelines take place through a two-step process, and that process is broken down into categories of cleaning and disinfecting.

Cleaning: The cleaning process includes the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting: The disinfecting process includes using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. 

It is important to note that both of these steps must be combined for maximum effectiveness when it comes to preventing the spread of the disease.

Below is a full guideline from the CDC on how to clean and disinfect your home or business to help prevent the spread and contraction of COVID-19.

Complete CDC Cleaning Guidelines

Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Cleaning and Disinfection of Households

  • Household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)

In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, following home care guidance.
The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants (examples at this linkpdf iconexternal icon).
If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.

Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.

Surfaces
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. 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.
      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
    • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claimspdf iconexternal icon are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
      Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this linkpdf iconexternal icon) that are suitable for porous surfaces.
 Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.
  • Household members should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Additional key times to clean hands include:
      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After contact with animals or pets
      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
  • The ill person should eat/be fed in their room if possible. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with hot water or in a dishwasher. Clean hands after handling used food service items.
  • If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, handling, and disposing of trash. Wash hands after handling or disposing of trash.
  • Consider consulting with your local health department about trash disposal guidance if available.
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