Staying home and minimizing your contact with the people outside your home is important to help slow and stop the spread of COVID. When the need to venture into the great wide somewhere arises, remembering to always wear a mask and social distance when possible also helps to slow the spread.
Yet, with all the precautions you take there is still a chance you or someone you live with could become exposed to or has a confirmed case of COVID. In the event that this happens we want to make sure you are prepared when it comes to cleaning your apartment after someone has had COVID.
We found an article that tells you all about how to disinfect after someone in your house has had COVID. It goes into detail about the differences between cleaning and disinfecting, what you need to clean and the supplies to use.
Viruses are, in many respects, not even alive outside of their hosts. "This means that viruses, novel coronavirus or otherwise, aren't doing much of anything on home objects except slowly falling apart," she says. "A virus may be present on an object, but objects themselves cannot actually be infected, and the virus cannot replicate or grow on any object, in your home or elsewhere."
Over time, the virus disintegrates. "Certain factors can speed up this process. Generally speaking, the longer you leave them, or the higher the temperature is, or the more light they're exposed to, the faster they will disintegrate," she says. Approved disinfectant chemicals will also do the trick.
Clean Before Disinfecting
Once the disease runs its course, the room or rooms that the sick person used, along with the objects he or she came in contact with, need to be cleaned and disinfected. According to the CDC, the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, may remain viable from hours up to several days on a variety of surfaces. Cleaning visibly dirty surfaces, followed by disinfection, is "a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings," the CDC says.
Cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing:
- Cleaning means removing germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but reduces the number of them on surfaces.
- Disinfecting means using Environmental Protection Agency-registered chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This is intended after cleaning, and it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
The easiest way to secure a room after someone in your home has COVID-19 is to close it off for a week, says Colleen McLaughlin, an associate professor of epidemiology and chair of the population health sciences department at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany, New York. "If the room is not needed, just close the door for seven days," she says. The virus will be inactive at that point. "The longer you wait, the safer it is to clean."
That's not always practical, however. If you can't wait that long, the CDC has posted its recommendations for cleaning and disinfection of households with people suspected of having or confirmed to have COVID-19.
What to Clean and What to Use
If possible, dedicate one bedroom and bathroom for the sick person to use and make sure everyone else uses others. While the person is sick, have them clean the rooms they use if they are well enough to do so. If they are not able, caregivers should wait as long as possible to clean and disinfect the rooms.
Items to Frequently Clean
Whether someone in your apartment has been exposed to or has had a confirmed case of COVID it’s a good idea to regularly clean and disinfect these popular surfaces around your home.
- Cellphones / Tablets
- Remotes / Gaming Consoles
- Toilet handles
- Light switches
- Countertops / Hard surfaces
For ways to clean each of these click here.
The CDC summarizes it by saying, “Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection. Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant. Clean or launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.”
Remember that the more you adhere to the guidelines of the CDC and stay home unless for essential reasons, you're continuing to help slow and stop the spread of COVID. For that we thank you!