The right way to disinfect household surfaces

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There is much to learn about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Based on what is currently known about COVID-19, spread from person-to-person of this virus happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. On the other hand, transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented

Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. 

Disinfecting refers to using chemicals, for example, EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

How to clean and disinfect

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

•Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application.

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  • Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.

Electronics

If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Source: CDCNational Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)Division of Viral Diseases

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