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Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a nonhealthcare setting

This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of households where persons under investigation (PUI) or those with confirmed COVID-19 reside or may be in self-isolation. It is aimed at limiting the survival of the virus in the environments. These recommendations will be updated if additional information becomes available.

These guidelines are focused on household settings and are meant for the general public.

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

  • Disinfecting refers to using chemicals 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:

Surfaces
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.

  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

        • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or

        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
      Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this linkpdf iconexternal icon) that are suitable for porous surfaces.

Clothing, towels, linens and other items that go in the laundry
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.

    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.

    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.

    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Hand hygiene and other preventive measures

  • Household members should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

  • Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

    • Additional key times to clean hands include:

      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing

      • After using the restroom

      • Before eating or preparing food

      • After contact with animals or pets

      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

For more information and tips, visit the CDC's website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Paid for by CTE Mike Soter

Mike@mikesoter.com |  ‪(508) 657-4688

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