Here’s how to deep clean your home and keep virus and bacteria at bay.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic. While the term ‘pandemic’ may seem frightening, there’s no reason for us to panic and start bulk-shopping for toilet paper.
What everyone should do instead is keep yourself and your home clean. We already know the basics: Always wash your hands and sanitise your belongings. But as WHO has previously mentioned, the coronavirus is transmitted via droplets and can survive on hard surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. So it’s crucial to keep everything around you free from viruses and what better way to start than your home, where you spend most of your time in?
But before we dive into that, let’s understand more about COVID-19:
What is the coronavirus?
WHO describes coronavirus as a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person and it was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms include:
- Dry Cough
- Shortness of breath
Some patients reportedly experience other symptoms such as aches, pains, nasal congestion, diarrhoea, sore throat and runny nose, but these symptoms are uncommon.
Unlike influenza A and SARS, the symptoms develop gradually so you wouldn’t know if you’ve been affected until much later (around 14 days) when you develop those symptoms. The bright side is, according to WHO, 80% of the people recover from the infectious disease without needing any special treatment.
If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Who is at risk of COVID-19?
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop a serious version of this illness.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The disease can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person. These droplets can land on any objects or surfaces around. If a healthy person touches these infected areas and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth without washing their hands, they’re at risk of the disease.
You can also catch COVID-19 if you breathe in droplets of an infected person. Hence, everyone should practise social distancing and stay at least 1 metre away from an infected person.
How can I protect myself from coronavirus?
You can start by staying aware of the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak. Remember to only get information from trusted sites like WHO and the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the national papers. Most importantly, stay cautious and don’t panic.
You can also reduce your chances of getting infected with these preventive actions:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
- Stay 1 metre (or more) away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene — cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Avoid travelling to COVID-19 hotspot countries.
Here are some cleaning tips for you to deep clean your home.
1. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
It’s important to clean and disinfect “high-touch” nooks and crannies around the home like your doorknobs, light switches, countertops and tabletops. Any household detergent and water should be able to rid the surface of viruses. If you think a surface may be infested with virus, wash with water and detergent, and then disinfect it with an alcohol-based disinfectant.
2. Wear gloves when you clean
So we’ve established that hygiene is key to keeping yourself and the people around you free from coronavirus. While you’re doing the cleaning, don’t forget to wear a pair of gloves as an added precaution. That said, you should also wash your hand immediately after you remove the gloves to prevent the virus from attaching themselves to your skin.
Read more: How to use baking soda to clean your home
3. Don’t forget to clean shared devices
Tech devices like thetv remote control and telephone should be cleaned frequently as well. However, you should be cautious when cleaning these devices. To clean them, use a soft cloth or paper towel to remove the dust. Then, use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe any dirt or grime. Lastly, spritz a clean cloth with a disinfectant solution before wiping it down. For small and narrow areas like between buttons, you may use a cotton bud to clean.
4. Wash your hands after doing the laundry
The same thing when it comes to laundry, remember to wash your hand thoroughly after putting dirty clothes into the washing machine (you don’t know what the surface of your clothes have been exposed to). You should also clean the washing machine knobs and handles as a safety measure.
One thing to note: Avoid shaking your dirty laundry to prevent the possibility of dispersing the virus to other parts of your home. And always disinfect the laundry hamper after use.
5. Use clean cleaning supplies
Make sure your cleaning supplies like your sponge and your mops are clean to avoid spreading the virus by accident. Don’t reuse old, dirty items, and instead, stick to disposable wipes and cloths for the time being. For sponges and mops, wash them in hot water after use and keep them in a dry area to prevent viruses and bacteria from harbouring in them.
6. Keep your phone clean at all time
You should practise good hygiene with your phone as well, because, news flash, your phone’s dirtier than you think. Like all the other electronic devices, cleaning a phone can be a tad bit complicated because not everything works.
To effectively kill the virus on the surface of your phone, you need a disinfectant solution that contains at least 55% isopropyl alcohol. Apple used to discourage its users from using any cleaning supplies to clean the smartphone, but recently they’ve lifted the ban and said that it’s fine to use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipe on the surface of all Apple products. And this applies to other smartphones from Samsung to Huawei and Google Pixels.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to clean your phone case too! No point having a clean, disinfected phone only to put it back into a dirty case. Here’s how to clean every type of phone case:
Mix one cup of warm water and drops of dish soap in a bowl. Soak a clean toothbrush into the mixture and scrub the surface. Use a clean, damp cloth to dry it.
Rubber and silicone cases
Dampen a cloth with a solution of dish soap and water. Wipe the case, and then air dry it.
Dampen a cloth with a solution of two parts water to one part white vinegar. Wipe the case, and then air dry it.
Lightly dampen a cloth with a solution of mild hand soap and water. Dry with another clean cloth. Optional: Apply a leather conditioner to the case.
Always allow the case to thoroughly dry before you put it back on the phone. Don’t forget to wash your hands after cleaning your phone too!