The Best Way to Keep Your Home Safe From COVID-19
The rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has sparked alarm worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and many countries including Malaysia grappling with a rise in confirmed cases.
As the world ramps up its self-protection measures against coronavirus, we have all heard the advice for washing our hands for 20 seconds, but there are also important considerations when it comes to keeping your living space free of coronavirus.
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Stopping the virus at the door
Since the COVID-19 illness is transmitted primarily by person to person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can still cling to surfaces you carry with you in your home, like your clothes, shoes, car and even your phone. Hence it is important to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home at least once a day - just to be safe - to help lower the chances of you and your ones from contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to someone else.
High-touch surfaces to disinfect daily:
- Table surfaces
- Hard dining chairs (seat, back and arms)
- Kitchen counters
- Bathroom counters
- Faucets, faucet knobs
- Toilets, (seat and handle)
- Light switches
- TV remote controls
Here are some other specific things and areas in your home to keep in mind. If you don’t have immediate access to disinfecting wipes or spray, you can make a substitute by mixing ¼ of a cup of bleach with 2 and ¼ cups of water. Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol content are also effective against coronavirus.
We recommend using disposable gloves while you disinfect your household surfaces and discard them after each cleaning. You should also wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.
The kitchen, or any area where food is prepped or consumed, is one of the best places for germs to hang around. There are so many surfaces you have to touch, often as a matter of habit, that you should disinfect daily. Some of the obvious places are the fridge and freezer doors but don’t forget about the shelves on the inside of the refrigerator and the handles of vegetable drawers.
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When handwashing dishes, wash as usual and add a final soak in a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach per one gallon of cool water for two minutes before draining the solution and allowing the dishes to air-dry. Chlorine bleach contains a high-enough concentration of sodium hypochlorite to thoroughly kill bacteria.
Damp towels may be an excellent site for coronavirus droplets to cling and stay alive longer than if they had landed on a hard surface. During this time of abundant caution, it makes sense to wash towels and bath mats more frequently and, if possible, to only use hand towels once when drying your hands.
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Besides showers, toilets and counters, don’t forget about disinfecting handles and fixtures for places like the bathroom cabinet, drawer and window latches, or other overlooked items like soap dishes. Replacing your toothbrush regularly, and especially after getting over a cold, can also help keep bacteria levels under control.
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To remove dried mucus from a sneeze or spittle after teeth are brushed, a microfiber cloth will provide the gentle abrasion needed to loosen the matter so it can be cleaned away. Use a separate microfiber cloth for the toilet or clean it last to avoid transferring germs.
This is where many items from our normal day end up, possibly contaminating each other before being used again. Wash pillowcases more frequently since that is where airborne droplets will occur the most and empty the trash can daily to eliminate places where germs can congregate.
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Don’t forget to clean and disinfect the switches for bedside lamps, handles on drawers, curtain pulls as well.
4. Electronic devices
Our phones spend the better part of the day in our hands, and each time we do, it picks up more bacteria from our hands. So it’s important to disinfect your phone at least once a day, if not more to avoid risks of catching COVID-19.
Disinfectant wipes that contain 70% isopropyl alcohol is a way to disinfect electronic device surfaces like phones without risking water damage. It evaporates quickly enough that if you wipe it on a device with a cloth or paper towel, there isn’t enough time for it to migrate into the cracks and openings of a device and cause internal damage.
Any laundry that could have coronavirus germs should be handled with disposable gloves. And, since coronavirus is transmitted through airborne droplets, take care not to shake the laundry (such as is when placing it in the washing machine). If you’re not using gloves when washing dirty laundry, make sure to wash your hands afterwards.
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Use detergent and bleach (for white loads) or peroxide or colour-safe bleach (for colours) to kill germs but be sure to read clothing labels to avoid damaging your garments. To boost the effect, use a laundry sanitiser or wash laundry in the warmest appropriate water settings to aid in killing the germs. Drying laundry on the dryer’s hot cycle for 45 minutes is also effective. If you don’t have a dryer at home, make sure your clothes are thoroughly dried before using.
Other wearables besides clothes such as watches, jewellery, gloves and shoes are all likely to come in contact with germs. Spraying your shoes with disinfectant and wiping your jewellery with a cloth that has an effective but non-abrasive cleaning solution will help prevent germs.
Establish a new routine at home
It takes only a few seconds (20 seconds to be precise!) but washing your hands regularly is the utmost important step and the best way to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.
Disinfecting high-traffic surfaces once a day can also make a difference in keeping your indoor space free from Coronavirus and other germs as possible.