During these trying times, it is important to understand how we as individuals can help in our own way.
We have had some fantastic advice from the Government, NHS and the media in what to do if we cough or sneeze with the emphasis on “Catch it, Bin it, Kill It” and the importance of washing our hands. This simple method is vital at preventing the spread of COVID-19. In fact, effective handwashing will prevent not only the spread of COVID-19 but other nasty bugs and viruses.
One additional way we help in this crisis is by maintaining a good level of hygiene within our homes. There are areas of the home that can be more susceptible and be potential breeding grounds for all sorts of nasty bugs and viruses. These high-risk areas can often be overlooked as they are in constant use and not necessarily in our day to day cleaning regime. Cleaning our bathrooms, kitchen sides, hoovering, dusting etc is second nature but how often do you consider washing handles and light switches?
HIGH-RISK AREAS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
Example of just some of the areas that have handles/switches:
- Pull Cords
- Light Switches
- Toilet and Handle
- Toothbrush Holders
- Door/Window/Cupboard handles
- Remote Controls
- Gaming Controls
- Keys and Key Fobs
- Dishwashers/Washing Machine
HOW DO WE CLEAN THESE AREAS?
The cleaning method we use is just as vital as the product/chemical we use to clean with. Simply spraying and wiping may not completely remove all viruses present. This goes for all cleaning and not just the high-risk areas, the chemicals to use include disinfectants, bleach, sanitisers, washing up liquid (creating surfactants work well with hand washing and surface cleaning).
The cloth you use is also important, disposable cloths or paper towels that can be binned after use would be ideal, however, if that isn’t practical ensure sponges are sterilised and cloths are rotated and washed at 60 degrees in between.
“Spray it, Leave it & Wipe it”
Let the chemical do the hard work for you, you should allow a minimum contact time of one minute before wiping or washing the area you are cleaning. Make sure you dry any residual liquid, as dampness could help germs to breed, however, If you have a high polished surface (marble, granite, stainless steel etc) that you usually like to buff with a microfibre cloth, DON’T as you could be undoing all the good work you have done. No one will judge you for having streaks on your cooker hood!
When cleaning high-risk areas, other potential hazards must be considered. Where electricity is present, such as a light switch, a different method of cleaning should be applied see method below:
Cleaning a Light switch:
Spray your cloth with chemical, do not spray excessively.
Wipe switch, remembering the top, bottom and sides of the lever – leave for a minimum of one minute.
Wipe clean any residual chemical with a disposable towel or cloth (where possible).
NORMAL EVERYDAY AREAS
Cleaning kitchen surfaces:
Remove loose objects from surfaces to allow for full clean.
Spray side with chemical – leave for a minimum of one minute.
Wash side with hot water and detergent or sanitising agent.
Leaving chemicals on the surface will help to remove nasty bugs and viruses while making your cleaning easier as the chemical will soak into the heavier deposits of grease and grime. We all know it’s easier to clean a pan that has been in soak than it is to scrub it when it’s dry.
Cleaning a Bathroom:
As with kitchen surface cleaning, ensure you remove all loose objects, always use new cloths (if practicable) or colour code them blue for loo, pink for sink etc, this will help prevent cross contamination especially when cleaning bathrooms. If you share the space with others, do this after every use, to reduce the risk of contaminating other household members.
Clothes and everyday wear, worn out of the house
NHS advice is that those that may have been affected by the virus should not share towels, hand towels or other materials. Further guidance from the government has recommended not “shaking” any clothing, it is reasonable to assume, that if you have been outside you may have received some form of transference via air droplets, either via individuals coughing, sneezing and/or generally breathing into the area you are in.
It may be prudent to remove any outer clothing, after arriving at your house, to be replaced by fresh clothing. Forethinking, by leaving fresh clothes inside your door will help prevent unnecessarily contaminating your home.
Ensure your outdoor shoes are kept separately, if you have a porch or a downstairs toilet, ensure you remove your shoes, without touching them and if possible leave them until your next outward journey. Remember, many shoes are plastic, or leather, the virus may last around 72 hours on these materials.
Shopping and Food
It is not thought that food items can be contaminated with Coronavirus, however, insufficient research has been carried out in this area. Therefore, it’s wise to take precautions as, even though the food itself may be harmless, the packaging and bags transporting the goods definitely ARE known to harbour the virus, in some circumstances its believed to be around 72 hours, possibly even beyond this time frame. Taking extra precautions is wise, if you have space and can do so, then leaving your bags in this area for 72 hours may be the best option. However, for many of us, this is not an option.
Removing all food from packaging (washing your hands in between) for foodstuffs going into your fridge or freezer, including transferring items to Tupperware boxes (take note of the use before date and mark on the packaging) is an excellent way of ensuring no trace virus is transferred to other items. Wiping down any products with a sanitised cloth may again reduce the possibility of harbouring the virus, including any cardboard or plastic coverings.
Please be aware, the virus is not killed by introducing cold, no matter how extreme, do not assume placing items in the freezer will automatically reduce your risk. It won’t!
Stay Safe and clean!
Your Bright Hygiene Team