How To Clean Your Home Right Now, According To The CDC

With the Coronavirus spreading globally I am definitely taking a much closer look at the hygiene of my home, as I am sure you are too. Here’s a look at How To Clean Your Home Right Now, According To The CDC.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a clean freak. People often comment on how clean my home is. And I must admit it is! I’ve always loved cleaning and sometimes have found solace in the actual act of cleaning my home.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have published expert-vetted recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities—hand washing is at the top of the list, but prevention at home is key as well.

You can read the full report here, but I have complied a condensed version with their recommendations for how we should be cleaning our homes right now. 


1. Put good personal hygiene practices in place, basically WASH YOUR HANDS. 

According to the CDC the coronavirus spreads person-to-person through close contact, transmitting via respiratory droplets. So your top priority should be washing your hands often “especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food” or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) if soap and water aren’t available.


2. Clean and Disinfect common and frequently used surfaces 

According to the CDC, the coronavirus can remain active on a surface for “hours to days” on “a variety of materials.” The CDC’s examples of “frequently touched surfaces” includes tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, hard-backed chairs, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, and sinks, just to name a few. If you are not sure you can always make a list of all the things you touch in the home, some examples of what that looks like for me: my hairbrush and blow dryer, my toothbrush, my keyboard, the remotes for the TV, my car keys, my glasses, pens, my iPhone, its charger and so much more. It’s a lot, but its important to be vigilant at this time and to remember that an item only remains disinfected until you touch it again.


3. Clean THEN disinfect 

The CDC’s official recommendation is to use a detergent and water prior to disinfection “if surfaces are dirty.” 

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.


Health Canada says that frequently touched areas such as toilets, bedside tables, light switches and door handles should be first cleaned (to physically remove dirt) and disinfected daily with water and regular household cleaning products or a diluted bleach solution (0.5% sodium hypochlorite). If they can withstand the use of liquids for disinfection, frequently touched electronics such as phones, computers and other devices may be disinfected with 70% alcohol (e.g. alcohol prep wipes). All used disposable contaminated items should be placed in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste.

How To Clean Your Home Right Now, According To The CDC

The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) has compiled a list of products that have been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against emerging enveloped viral pathogens and can be used during the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This product list is not exhaustive but can be used by business owners, health professionals, and the public to identify products suitable for use during the COVID-19. The information in this document is being provided as a public service. 

The CDC is also reminding people to read the label, saying “labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.”


4. Bleach and Alchol are okay, if used properly 

The CDC recommends using one of these two ratios for diluting bleach for disinfecting: Mix 5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

If you’re using alcohol: Make sure your disinfecting solution contains at least 70 percent alcohol (like rubbing alcohol, not vodka). Keep in mind that rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol you buy off the shelf is already diluted with water in a ratio indicated on the label (usually 70 or 90-91 percent alcohol).


5. How to deal with fabrics 

For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

  • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
    Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this linkpdf iconexternal icon) that are suitable for porous surfaces.


6. How to deal with Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.


I hope this article was helpful, please let me know if you have any questions at all.


Candice Batista

Candice Batista is an award winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences including Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Weather Network, CityTV, Rogers Television, The Pet Network, iChannel, and CTV, where she is currently the National Eco Expert for the stations number 1 daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show.
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