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Cleaning And Disinfecting Procedures

Cleaning And Disinfecting Procedures

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Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, including your workplace, school, or business, will require a three-step plan:

  1. Develop your plan
  2. Implement your plan
  3. Maintain and revise your plan

Reducing the risk of exposure to illnesses by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning. Everyone has been called upon to slow the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, through social distancing and prevention hygiene, such as frequently washing your hands and wearing face coverings.

The EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against viruses, including COVID-19. The list includes ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes.

This course provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. The framework is based on doing the following:

1) Routine Cleaning

  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.

2) Disinfecting

3) Alternative Disinfectants

When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.

Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. Always take safety precautions and wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when using disinfectants.

Cleaning with a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent reduces the number of germs on surfaces and decreases the risk of infection from surfaces. In most situations, cleaning alone removes most virus particles on surfaces. Disinfection to reduce transmission of COVID-19 at home is likely not needed unless someone in your home is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours.

When and how to clean surfaces in your home

  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly (for example, daily) and after you have visitors in your home.
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops.
  • Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed. Clean them more frequently if people in your household are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. You might also choose to disinfect.
  • Clean surfaces using a product suitable for each surface, following instructions on the product label.
Cleaning And Disinfecting Procedures

Reduce contamination of surfaces

Take steps in your home to limit contamination of surfaces from airborne particles or from touching surfaces with contaminated hands.

  • Ask visitors who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks.
  • Follow guidance for people who are fully vaccinated before inviting visitors to your home.
  • Isolate people who are sick with COVID-19.
  • Have everyone in your household wash hands often, especially when returning from outside activities.

Clean and Disinfect Specific Types of Surfaces

Surfaces such as carpet, rugs, and drapes

  • Clean the surface using a product containing soap, detergent, or other type of cleaner appropriate for use on these surfaces.
  • Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • If you need to disinfect, use a product from EPA List Nexternal icon  approved for use on soft surfaces.
  • Vacuum as usual.

Laundries such as clothing, towels, and linens

  • Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • It is safe to wash dirty laundry from a person who is sick with other people’s items.
  • If handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick, wear gloves and a mask.
  • Clean clothes hampers or laundry baskets according to guidance for surfaces.
  • Wash hands after handling dirty laundry.

Electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines

  • Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics, which makes cleaning and disinfecting easier.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning the electronic device.
  • For electronic surfaces that need to be disinfected, use a product on EPA List Nexternal icon that meets manufacturer’s recommendations. Many of the products for electronics contain alcohol because it dries quickly.

Outdoor areas

  • Spraying cleaning products or disinfectants in outdoor areas – such as on sidewalks, roads, or groundcover – is not necessary, effective, or recommended.
  • High-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars, play structures, and railings, should be cleaned regularly.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (such as wood play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (such as mulch and sand) is not recommended.

Clean and Disinfect Specific Types of Surfaces

Soft surfaces such as carpet, rugs, and drapes

  • Clean the surface using a product containing soap, detergent, or other type of cleaner appropriate for use on these surfaces.
  • Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • If you need to disinfect, use a product from EPA List Nexternal icon  approved for use on soft surfaces.
  • Vacuum as usual.

Laundries such as clothing, towels, and linens

  • Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • It is safe to wash dirty laundry from a person who is sick with other people’s items.
  • If handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick, wear gloves and a mask.
  • Clean clothes hampers or laundry baskets according to guidance for surfaces.
  • Wash hands after handling dirty laundry.

Electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines

  • Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics, which makes cleaning and disinfecting easier.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning the electronic device.
  • For electronic surfaces that need to be disinfected, use a product on EPA List Nexternal icon that meets manufacturer’s recommendations. Many of the products for electronics contain alcohol because it dries quickly.

Outdoor areas

  • Spraying cleaning products or disinfectants in outdoor areas – such as on sidewalks, roads, or groundcover – is not necessary, effective, or recommended.
  • High-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars, play structures, and railings, should be cleaned regularly.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (such as wood play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (such as mulch and sand) is not recommended.
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