In the age of COVID-19, never has deep cleaning our homes & workspaces been more important. Specializing in trauma and other speciality clean up’s, we here at Home and Life Organizers (HALO) have had the chance to help in our community. Locally here in Waterloo Region, part of our regular cleaning routine now includes disinfecting police cruiser’s, prisoner transport vehicles and additional cleanup measures in client residence’s for COVID-19.
While we never turn down work, we’ve decided it would be helpful for the community if we put together a list of eight regular cleaning practices that will help keeping the home disinfected and safe.
1. Disinfectant Wipes
These are at number one because aside from being effective, disinfectant wipes are just handy. We have them at number one because they are easy to use, and readily available for any questionable situation. They are great to have around to wipe something up in a moment’s notice. If you have a couple of containers, keep one in your car. Here is a handy tip if you keep wipes in the car; be sure to bring in the wipes in the evening so they don’t freeze overnight.
2. Hard Surfaces
According to the government of Canada, there are several high-touch surfaces that should be disinfected regularly. Here is the short list:
- Toilet handles
- Table & counter tops
- Light switches
- Laundry hamper handles
- TV remotes
- All phones and electronics, especially the ones that are shared
- refrigerator handles
- dishwasher handles
- cabinets & cabinet handles
- Any commonly used hand tools and kitchen equipment like can openers, knives, cookware or any other commonly used object that is used in the home
- Keyboard & Mouse
If the item is an electronic, or something that could possibly be damaged from the disinfectant, it is always best to use a cleaner that is recommended for that product by the manufacturer.
3. Visibly dirty area’s
Basically, if you can see dirt, dust, grime, crumbs of any kind, clean that first as the disinfectants won’t be as effective. A good idea is to clean surfaces first with soap and water, and then circle back with disinfectants. This quick two stage method is the most effective, as it removes the build up, and allows the disinfectant to work at maximum capacity.
4. Clothing & Reusable personal protective equipment
Soft surfaces like jackets, outer wear and reusable masks need to be addressed once you get home. If you’ve been out and about through the day, and are concerned you may have been exposed, change your clothes as soon as you get home. Take care to be sure to put masks and other laundry into a container with a plastic liner.
If you can, put exposed laundry directly into the washing machine. According to the Government of Canada, cleaning and disinfecting articles of clothing in the washing machine suggests being careful not to agitate the laundry and using a hot cycle
They also report it is okay to combine regular laundry with exposed laundry, provided you are following the suggestions. See the section For Your Home for more details.
With winter jackets and other outdoor clothing, it can be a challenge to wash them everyday. Consider using recommended product cleaners if there is any risk the jacket could get damaged. If you are out at the grocery store or other public spaces and the jacket is not at risk to be damaged from a cleaning product, use disinfectant wipes.
5. Soft Surfaces such as carpets, drapes, or soft materials on couches and chairs
These items are a little more difficult to disinfect hard surfaces, as some disinfectants used may ruin what you are trying to clean. It is always best to use soap and water in these situations, or any cleaner that is labeled for use with that item.
6. Your Footwear
This is one item that is often overlooked. If you are in the grocery store, any bacteria that is on the floor can be picked up on the soles of your shoes. Now this may not seem like an immediate risk, however if you then walk through the home with your shoes on to carry the groceries into the kitchen, that bacteria can be transferred to the floor.
Another concern is moisture. Bacteria requires moisture to thrive. Let’s say you’ve been tromping through the grocery store, and then you get snow on your boots in the driveway. You take your boots off, the snow melts on the mat at the front door, and now the area is at risk to be contaminated. This might be a small risk, however exercise caution when coming into the home from a public space. Take necessary steps to disinfect your footwear after travel to essential places like the hospital or grocery store.
7. Disinfecting your Vehicle
If you have reason to believe you may have been exposed, or simply want to be careful, disinfect all areas you come into contact once you’re in your car. Here is a short checklist:
- The steering wheel
- car Ignition
- inside door handles
- turn signal or windshield wipers
Anything else that you touch and don’t feel comfortable about possible exposure, give it a quick wipe.
If you are cautious, you can be sure to always keep hand sanitizer on you. I have noticed from time to time, at certain stores, that the sanitizer they use just doesn’t seem right. Keep a personal supply on you and before getting into your car, simply sanitize your hands.
8. Disposal of PPE
One thing that can be an unsightly mess, is seeing used masks and gloves in parking lots, and other public areas. It does not take long to dispose of PPE so please use available garbage cans; someone is going to have to pick up the littered PPE, and that’s not fair to them and it puts others at risk.
In the home, masks can be thrown into the garbage with a sealed lid. Masks and gloves can be mixed with regular trash. For an extra measure of precaution, be sure to seal the bag any used PPE is in.
For more information on mask safety, here is a great article from the government of Canada on How to put on, remove and Clean a mask.
All in all, diligence is the key to staying on top of a clean disinfected home. If you find you are having a hard time, or need help, we here at HALO are here for you. Because of our experience, we can effectively address your needs. We are available to do any type of cleanup, and if you are moving into a new residence, give us a call to clean and disinfect the home before your move in date.
If you find that it is too challenging to keep up with the day to day tasks and stay on top of disinfectant best practices; we are here to help. Get in touch with us today for a no obligation quote.