St. Stephen – A lot of people are thinking since they are stuck at home self-isolating, it’s a great time to get the spring cleaning done. But, spring cleaning is going to be a bit different this year. One can’t just give their home the illusion of clean. There are very specific steps to take in order to be able to protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19.
Here are some tips and recommendations from the CDC and Public Health Agency of Canada on how everyone should be cleaning and disinfecting their homes during the pandemic. And now New Brunswick is in Phase 3 – the Yellow phase of recovery, many of these apply to businesses as well.
Start by washing your hands
The first step in the process is to wash your hands. Yes, this may sound like a broken record, but it can’t be stressed enough just how important this is. Everyone should be washing their hands as much as possible, with soap and hot water for at least 20 to 30 seconds. While this is a very dangerous virus, it is also a wimp, and soap and water will kill it and help stop the spread. If you can’t always use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 70 per cent alcohol.
Make sure you do not touch your face, especially after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, or coughing or sneezing on your hands (get into the habit of coughing and sneezing into your sleeve if you don’t have any tissues handy). Also, you should wash your hands before and after preparing meals, after contact with your pets, and before and after contact with people who may be sick.
Clean surfaces that are touched the most
There are some things we touch several times throughout the day, such as doorknobs, handles, faucets, light switches, phones, keys, remote controls, and more. It is important to clean and disinfect these items frequently to help reduce the spread of germs that cause COVID-19 and other viruses. The COVID-19 virus can live on many different types of surfaces for several hours to several days. Frequent cleaning will kill those germs and help stop the spread.
Old cleaning supplies: when in doubt, toss them out
If you have older cleaning supplies, it’s time to get rid of them and buy new ones. This is particularly true of bathroom cleaning supplies. Toss out old toilet brushes and even tooth brushes, and replace them with brand new ones. This is especially important if you have been ill, because the germs can expose other people in the household. Make sure toothbrushes are stored so they are not touching one another.
Don’t be a cleaning supplies hoarder
There really is no need to run out and buy special cleaning products for your home. Use what you already have before depleting store shelves and preventing others from getting the cleaning supplies they need. Many household cleaning products are quite effective at killing germs, even COVID-19 germs. Just about any type of soap will work, especially if it is a foaming soap. When mixed with hot water, it will break down viral particles and remove them so they will simply slip down the drain and be gone. Other items recommended for cleaning your home include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol (not vodka or other distilled spirits). Avoid cleaning with vinegar, as there are no studies that show it is effective at killing the coronavirus germs.
Use proper cleaning techniques
Your cleaning technique is just as important as the cleaning supplies you are using. A quick swipe over surfaces is not going to do the trick. Make sure you scrub all surfaces thoroughly, and don’t dry it off with a towel or paper towel. Instead, let the cleaner dry naturally.
This is going to ensure that it has had time to do its job and actually work. It is a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning surfaces with soap and water, and then disinfecting them.
Always wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting around the house. Discard the gloves immediately after using them. If you don’t have disposable gloves, you can use reusable rubber gloves. But, you will either have to throw them away or clean them with hot, soapy water when you are finished using them. Keep rooms well-ventilated while cleaning, and keep children and pets out of the rooms that are being cleaned, as some products can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma attacks.
Wash all fabrics
Don’t forget to clean carpets, rugs, drapes, furniture coverings, and clothing. With the exception of your delicate items, all laundry should be washed with the hottest water possible, even though it saves money to do laundry in cold water. Change bedding regularly, and make sure that you are using an antibacterial fabric spray on carpets, sofas, chairs, and mattresses. This is also a great time to treat yourself to some new items if you can afford them, even if it is just new towels, facecloths, and bed linens.
Don’t forget the big stuff
Finally, it’s time to take on the bigger jobs, which include washing the windows, and cleaning underneath furniture and appliances. These are jobs no one really wants to do, but if you are going to clean your home from top to bottom, you might as well be thorough in your job. Again, make sure that you are using products that both clean and disinfect.
You have time on your hands, so take advantage of that time and get your house looking ship-shape and keep it free of germs that cause any number of viruses and illnesses.