How to safely clean your home after a COVID-19 diagnosis

Advice on how to safely clean and disinfect your home after someone living in your home has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Most transmission of COVID-19 occurs through close contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It is also possible, but less likely, that infection can occur if someone touches a contaminated object or surface, then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes. 

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can survive on surfaces for a limited time, however the virus has a fragile outer membrane making it easy to kill through effective cleaning and disinfection. 

In situations when there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 indoors within the last 24 hours, the virus is more likely to be found on surfaces and therefore surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected.

General hygiene

  • Good hand hygiene is essential to minimise transmission of infectious droplets to yourself, other people and other surfaces. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitiser. 
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose or mouth) to reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus from contaminated surfaces or items. 
  • Wear a face covering and encourage household members to cover their nose and mouth when sneezing with a tissue and dispose of the tissues.

When people with COVID-19 are moved to an isolation facility or need to go to hospital 

  • Wait at least 12 hours or overnight before you clean and disinfect surfaces in the areas that the sick person used, such as the bedroom and bathroom. 
  • Wear a face covering. 
  • Open windows to ventilate room. 

Cleaning and disinfecting

  • Use general supermarket detergent/disinfectant products suitable for each surface, following the directions on the product label including the contact time of the product.
  • Clean surfaces with detergent and then use disinfectant.
  • Clean and disinfect highly touched surfaces such as door handles, light switches, computers and tabletops more frequently.
  • Clean cloths and mop heads after use. 
  • You can wear household gloves when cleaning/disinfecting to protect your hands from any cleaning chemicals. When finished, wash reusable household gloves and then wash and dry your hands. If using disposable gloves, remove after use, discard in a rubbish bin and then wash and dry your hands.
  • Carpets can be vacuumed as normal. 

Laundry and bedding

Avoid shaking bed linen and clothing. Using clothing detergent, wash items using the warmest water temperature the clothing and bed linen can withstand, then dry as usual.  

Recommended method of cleaning surfaces 

Top to bottom

Start cleaning surfaces higher up and work your way to the floor. This method ensures that any particles, dust or dirt fall to the floor which will then be cleaned last.

Clean to dirty

Start by cleaning surfaces and objects that are less frequently touched - which should therefore be cleaner - and then work your way to cleaning dirtier items that have a higher risk of being contaminated (eg, toilets).

Avoid going from an area that has not been cleaned to an area that has been cleaned. This avoids dirtying the cleaned area and will ensure you aren’t cross-contaminating items or surfaces.

Cleaning products 

General supermarket detergent/disinfectant products are suitable for cleaning your home following a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. 

Clean surfaces using a product suitable for each surface, always following the directions on the product label. The label will include safety information and instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, including: 

  • Precautions you should take when applying the product.  
  • Any specific personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to use. 
  • Dwell time (how long the cleaning product should remain wet on the surface before wiping it off).  
  • Do not mix cleaning products together.  Always store away from children and animals. 

Returning home following recovery from COVID-19 

No additional or specialist cleaning is needed after return to the home. Following the advice outlined in this guide will keep your home environment clean and safe for household members. 

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