Spring cleaning in the time of COVID-19: Here’s how to sanitize your home

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In time for spring cleaning season and quarantine, here’s a guide to help keep your home and surroundings safe and virus-free.

General cleaning

With all of us spending more time indoors, it’s the best time to schedule a general cleaning. This can be a big task depending on the size of your house. Also, clutter may have piled up during winter. Here are a few tips to make it manageable for you and your cleaning crew:

  1. Make it a family activity

    Set a weekend to have a family cleaning day. Make it more fun by:

    • turning on some upbeat music
    • having yummy food and drinks for breaks
    • creating silly games like a contest for the cleanest room or a scavenger hunt
    • taking family photos which you can post on social media as a way to show family and friends how you’re coping with the pandemic.

    Make sure to equip family members with proper protection and safe cleaning implements. You may need gloves and masks especially if there are family members who have allergies. Remind them not to touch their faces and to wash their hands often especially after cleaning and before eating.

  2. Organization is key

    Prioritize on clearing out junk and having proper places for things. It will be easier to maintain order when you have shelves, cabinets or bins to hold items. For example, have baskets for kids’ toys or dirty clothes, and assign areas in their room for books and other school stuff. It will be easier to clean and sanitize without clutter.

  3. Take charge of common areas

    This will include the kitchen, living room and bathrooms. These areas need deep cleaning as they are frequently used and can be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. The first step is to dispose of old containers, expired products, bills, flyers and other junk. Clean your pantry to make room for supplies (it’s advised that we shop for one to two weeks). Use a damp rag rather than a feather duster when cleaning to prevent releasing dust and viruses into the air. Follow the tips below to sanitize using disinfectants.


What cleaning supplies will help combat COVID-19? UC San Diego Health. For Health Canada-approved products for fighting COVID-19, go to: Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19)

Special treatment for often used surfaces

There’s no definitive study yet on how long the virus causing COVID-19 lives but evidence suggests that it can live on hard surfaces from 24 hours to three days. These include frequently touched objects such as doorknobs, handrails, light switches, cabinet handles, tables, countertops and electronics. Here’s how to clean and sanitize them:

  1. Use safe products – Use only approved hard-surface disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number. This is an eight-digit number assigned by Health Canada that confirms that the product is approved and safe for use in Canada.
  2. Read and follow product directions – Some products need enough contact time to kill germs and viruses for them to work. This is why it is important to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use. Apply products like sprays and bleach in a well-ventilated area and use gloves to apply cleaning and disinfecting products.
  3. Prefer damp cleaning methods – Use a damp rag or mop when cleaning. Sweeping or dusting can distribute virus droplets in the air.
  4. Dispose of contaminated cleaning items properly – Put mop heads and cloths in a lined trash bin before throwing away with regular waste. Reusable cleaning items should be washed with laundry soap and hot water.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly after – Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after removing and throwing away your gloves.
  6. Clean and disinfect often – Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected more often. Consider providing disinfecting wipes to family members for use on their electronics, doorknobs, tables and on other frequently touched surfaces in their room.

Enjoy spring cleaning and stay healthy and safe everyone!
 
Sources: Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces (COVID-19), Government of Canada; Cleaning and disinfection for households, CDC; and Coronavirus can last on surfaces for days – experts say cleaning is the key, Arti Patel, Global News. Accessed March 31, 2020.

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Community Resources

Know more about hard surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for COVID-19 from the Health Canada page.

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