Recent reports have given some insight about how long the virus can survive on common surfaces. In lab-controlled studies, the virus survived for three hours in the air, 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
It’s important to remember that lab-controlled environments are not necessarily a reflection of the real world. In other words: you don’t need to panic or clean your house out of fear. But following good practices for cleaning common areas of your home can provide some benefits, and can kill a variety of germs—COVID-19 and otherwise.
Here are some tips for cleaning common areas:
- Focus on areas where germs are more likely to accumulate. This includes rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, but also specific spots, like sink handles; toilet levers; knobs and handles on doors, cupboards, drawers, and appliances; computer keyboards; railings; light switches; phones; and remote controls.
- If you’re cleaning a flat surface, like a countertop, remove all of the items first. Then, wipe them down as you put them back.
- Look for EPA-registered cleaning products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that you can also use diluted household bleach solutions (never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning solution).
- Make sure that you are cleaning in a well-ventilated area.
- For things that can be machine washed or washed in a sink, use hot water and soap. For most other surfaces, you can spray a cleaning solution onto a cloth and then wipe the area clean. Use a disinfectant wipe for other surfaces.
- Clean areas once a week, unless someone in your home is sick. If someone is sick, clean daily.