News sources report that the coronavirus can survive on certain surfaces for varying lengths of time. According to a recent article published in SELF, a study from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases points out that the new coronavirus can live on copper surfaces for four hours, on cardboard for 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel for up to four days.
Therefore, cleaning your home regularly is critical especially if you have several people in the house who may be coming and going. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting your home and you need to do both in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and grime from surfaces, while disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on these surfaces. The agency recommends that you should clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily. These include tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles desks, toilets and sinks.
The CDC also recommends the use of disposable gloves while cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. “Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning,” says the CDC. “If surfaces are dirty, use a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.”
For disinfecting, use a diluted household bleach solution or an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol. The proper proportions to make an effective bleach solution is diluting 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water. You can also use disinfectant products from manufacturers like Lysol, Clorox and Purell that are available in stores, according to SELF.
Philip Tierno, Ph.D., clinical professor in the department of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells SELF that he is a strong proponent of bleach and considers it “the cheapest and most effective disinfectant money can buy.”
Social distancing also applies to visitors to your home. If someone does stop by, or you may need an appliance repair person or a plumber—after buying all that toilet paper—to come over, clean those high touch areas, like doorknobs, or anything else they may have touched.
“Practice good, regular hygiene—home, personal and food—and it’ll go a long way,” Tierno tells SELF.
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