COVID-19: General cleaning and disinfection advice

Information for cleaning and disinfecting publicly accessed indoor and outdoor areas during the COVID-19 response.

Last updated: 7 August 2020

This guidance is for general cleaning and disinfection advice for indoor and outdoor areas that are accessed by the public. The advice can also be applied to your home.

There is also cleaning information available:

Cleaning is an important measure that reduces the risk of exposure to many infections, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home if unwell, hand hygiene and physical distancing where possible and practical are equally important measures.

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can acquire the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. A key way to protect against the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of environmental surfaces.

General cleaning principles

A combination of cleaning and disinfection effectively removes the COVID-19 virus. 

Indoor and covered outdoor areas that are regularly accessed by the public must be cleaned with detergent and water at least daily to remove germs and dirt from surfaces.

For indoor areas, once cleaned, surfaces can be disinfected with hypochlorite (a bleach solution) and dried with a clean cloth after the manufacturer’s recommended dwell time.

Alternatively, use a combined detergent and disinfectant product. Keep all cleaning and disinfectant products out of the reach of children.

Gather your equipment such as cleaning and disinfecting agents, cleaning cloths and mops, and protective equipment to wear (eg, gloves) before you start cleaning.

Use a fresh damp cloth to clean surfaces and a mop for hard surface floors. Have separate cloths for general and bathroom areas. Cloths and mops can be laundered as usual with regular laundry soap and hot water (60°C to 90°C). Dispose of disinfectant wipes in a rubbish bin (do not flush down a toilet).

Always wear gloves appropriate for the products being used. Follow the product instructions from the manufacturer about the need to wear additional personal protection items (such as a mask to protect you from inhaling chemical fumes). Make sure you know how to put on and take off the equipment you wear for protection from the products you use. Perform hand hygiene after removal and disposal of protective equipment items you have worn during cleaning.

Cleaning of frequently used outdoor public spaces should focus on hard surfaces that are touched regularly, such as handrails. Rubbish bins should be emptied before they are full. Spraying disinfectants on footpaths or other outdoor areas is not an effective use of disinfectants and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

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