How To Clean And Disinfect An Area After COVID-19 Exposure

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Last December 2019 a virus that came from Wuhan, China struck the world. Months later, it was CoronaVirus Disease of 2019, the outbreak was so contagious that the world suffered from a global pandemic. Until today, the virus is still spreading fast.  Some countries are able to contain it but most of the world failed to do so. Given that the virus can easily be picked up through water droplets, more people are being infected. Number of confirmed cases is continuously rising. As of August 18, 2020, there are already 778,522 fatalities, while recoveries are around 14.8 million. Yes, that may seem a lot of recovered patients, but transparency is still an issue in most countries.

As long as swabbing is being conducted, expect that many will be identified as positive, therefore the number of COVID-19 cases will just continue to increase. If someone living from your house has been quarantined for testing positive, you have to disinfect and sanitize the area where he/she has stayed. It could be a personal room, or a spare isolation room in a facility.

Follow these steps to reduce the risk of virus spread:

 

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEANING AND DISINFECTING

So, most of us think that cleaning and disinfecting are just the same. Well, their goal is to both eliminate germs, bacteria and viruses. They go hand in hand, meaning after you clean you should also disinfect. Before we proceed to the actual steps let us identify the difference of these two.

  • CLEANING– When you clean, you are removing the dirt, germs and impurities of an object or surface. Once they are removed, the risk of unwanted germ spread decreases. But you are not totally killing the bacteria, viruses and germs.
  • DISINFECTING– This is when you kill and eliminate the viruses and germs. You should disinfect after cleaning. This process involves chemical use. When you disinfect, that is when something is sanitized, because it further lowers the risk of virus spread.

 

BLOCK OFF AREA

The area or room where the patient has stayed must be strictly off-limits. Unless you are cleaning it, then that is the only time where you should access the place. The area should be blocked from other people, and you should wait for a minimum of 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. This minimizes and reduces the potential exposure to respiratory droplets.  But the longer you wait, the better because it only gets safer.

  • Doors and windows must be open for better air circulation.

 

PREPARE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO USE

Preparing what you need is very important, you must also use products approved by the FDA. If you are making your own solution, strictly follow the measurements to avoid contamination or any harmful chemical reactions.

  • Gloves, brushes, scrubs, pales or any items that will be needed must only be used for this purpose. Disinfect them after use as well.
  • Water with soap should be fine for cleaning
  • Bleach solutions, alcohol-based solutions (70%) and other disinfectants do the work.
  • For bleach solution, the ratio is 5ml of bleach per 250 ml of clean water. In a liter of water, pour in 20ml of bleach that contains 5% sodium hypochlorite. You can browse the web for a more detailed tutorial about this.

 

CLEAN AND DISINFECT

Time for some action! Clean the area first, and then disinfect after.

  • For cleaning you can swipe the floor, dust off the furniture and mop.
  • Hard surfaces like, light switches, lamp shade, bed frames, chairs that had contact with the patient should be cleaned first then disinfected. Wipe them down even though there is no visible dirt.
  • For soft porous surfaces like carpets, curtains, drapes or rugs follow the manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning them then launder them appropriately. You can disinfect them once they are dry by using disinfectant sprays like Lysol.
  • Shoes, slippers, purses, wallets, bags and your washable facemask should also be cleaned according to their care instructions. Disinfect them with some disinfectant spray as well.
  • Clean and disinfect items and surfaces that are often touched, do not miss any spots!

 

WASH WHAT IS NEEDED

Fabric items that have been worn or used should be washed thoroughly. You must be extra careful in handling your laundry, the droplets might be dispersed in the air. Wear gloves that are specific for washing the laundry.

  • Wash clothes that have been worn, do not let it pile up.
  • Linens, mattress covers, blankets, pillowcases should be washed according to their instructions. The water should be on the warmest setting possible, since the virus is heat sensitive.
  • Laundry baskets, clothes hanger and clips, and any items used for laundry should be cleaned and disinfected after.

 

DO NOT FORGET THE ELECTRONICS                     

Electronic items such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, computers, laptops, remote controls, keyboards and others that are prone to infection, must not be forgotten to disinfect.

  • Use disposable wipes for cleaning the surfaces or screens, and observe proper disposal.
  • You can buy protective covers for some of your items.
  • Pocket and handy UV sterilizers are available on the market. You can buy them for your sanitizing gadgets.

 

DISPOSE PROPERLY

The use of disposables is recommended to those who are quarantined. To completely finish cleaning and sanitizing an area exposed to the virus, you must throw away non-reusable products or even items that are highly prone to have virus on them even after you cleaned them. Be careful with how you dispose, do not forget to wear your protective equipment.

  • Tissues or toilet papers that have been used must be thrown away immediately.
  • Disposable utensils must not be washed and used again. Right after it has been used, put it in the bin.
  • Worn face masks or PPE suits that were left by the patient should be disposed of, it is the most infected item of all. Gloves should go to the bin as well.

 

 

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