And products to disinfect them with
Note: The information contained in the article below is sourced from provincial, federal and international health authorities such as the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), Health Canada, and the World Health Organization. These bodies are the best sources for health information and should be consulted regularly.
By now you should know by heart how to properly wash your hands. Proper hand hygiene is one of several important measures in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus, along with social distancing and staying home as much as possible.
Since you’re spending more time at home, it’s important to understand how best to clean and disinfect high-traffic surfaces like kitchen counters, fridge doors and cabinets. We’ve laid out some tips on what to clean, how to clean, and what to clean with in the article below.
Surfaces to pay extra cleaning attention to
We know that the coronavirus is spread when droplets from an infected person are expelled by coughing, sneezing or exhaling. When the droplets come into contact with another person’s eyes, nose or mouth, that person is at risk of contracting the virus.
But the coronavirus can also be expelled onto surfaces, and when someone touches these surfaces and subsequently touches their eyes, nose or mouth, the virus can spread. That’s why surfaces in your home that are frequented often need to be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Here are a few to pay attention to:
- Kitchen counters
- Cutting boards
- Door knobs and handles (kitchen door especially)
- Light switches
What to clean them with
The words “good news” and “coronavirus” are seldom used in conjunction. But the good news about the coronavirus is that it is an “enveloped virus”, which, according to Health Canada means that it is one of the easiest viruses to kill when the right disinfectant is properly used. An easy way to find out if a product meets Health Canada’s standards is to look for a DIN (Drug Disinfectant Number) on the label. Once you’ve found it, consult this list to see if the product is considered likely effective against COVID-19. Here are some well-known products contained on Health Canada’s list.
- Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Lysol Disinfectant Spray
- Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant
- Purell Professional Multi-Surface Sanitizer & Disinfectant
- Swish Miracle Disinfectant Spray ‘N Wipe
- Ultra Wipes
- 3M Surface Disinfectant Cleaner
Some of these products are hard to come by these days at your local store. If you can’t get your hands on them, diluted bleach is also effective in disinfecting surfaces. If the concentration of bleach is 5.25%, you’ll need 1 part bleach to 99 parts water, or 10mL bleach to 990mL water. You’ll need to further dilute the bleach if you’re looking to sanitize food prep surfaces (like cutting boards and countertops). In that case, the ratio is 1 part bleach to 499 parts water (2mL bleach to 998mL water).
If that math is giving you a headache, check out this handy calculator on the BC Food Safe website.
How to clean them?
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises people to wear disposable gloves when cleaning or disinfecting hard surfaces (like countertops). Before engaging in disinfection, read the label of whichever product you’re looking to use—they will have the best advice for how to clean. If you’re using diluted bleach, ensure contact time of at least 1 minute and allow for proper ventilation during and after application.
For electronics like cell phones, remote controls, tablets, keyboards, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In the absence of manufacturer instructions, look for alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol.
Wash both types (hard and soft) of surfaces more than once per day if possible.
Now more than ever
You’d be forgiven if you thought to yourself: shouldn’t I be washing my hands like this all the time? The answer is yes. And thorough hand washing and disinfecting serves to limit the spread of viruses and bacteria over and above the newest version of the coronavirus. But in the face of a disease that has infected and could potentially kill millions of people around the world, now is the time more than ever for us to be diligent cleaners and disinfectants.