Safe Cleaning Tips and Resources During the COVID Pandemic

Early in the pandemic, there was a lot of concern about fomite (surface) transmission. However, as our knowledge about COVID has grown, concern about the risk of transmission from touching surfaces has reduced. Per the CDC: “The virus that causes COVID-19 can land on surfaces. It’s possible for people to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low.”

In May, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for when to clean and when to disinfect in non-healthcare facilities. The new guidance emphasizes that when no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in an indoor setting within the last 24 hours, cleaning once a day is enough to keep a facility healthy.

The Occupational Health Branch (OHB) of the California Department of Public Health shared a reminder that “When following this or any cleaning and disinfecting guidance it is important to know that disinfectants and cleaners often contain chemicals that can cause or trigger asthma.” They shared the following tips and resources.

Tips

  • As indicated in the guidance, disinfect only when necessary. Routine cleaning performed effectively with soap or detergent can substantially reduce virus and bacteria levels on indoor surfaces.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a list of disinfectants that work to kill coronavirus. Choose hydrogen peroxide (without peracetic acid), lactic acid, citric acid, silver, or alcohol-based products whenever possible. These are not known to cause asthma.
  • Use as much ventilation as possible. Open windows if needed.
  • Dilute products properly. Do not make them more concentrated than the labels say.
  • Follow recommendations on the label or the safety data sheet. This may include wearing gloves or goggles.
  • Choose fragrance-free cleaning products.

Resources

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