How to clean your house when you’ve had a COVID-19 patient living with you
How to clean your house
- Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.
- Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that were touched in the room where the patient was being cared for, such as bedside tables, bedframes, and other bedroom furniture. Regular household soap or detergent should be used first for cleaning, and then, after rinsing, regular household disinfectant containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (i.e. equivalent to 1000 ppm) should be applied.
- Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.
- Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection and has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5%–6%. Ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleach, such as those designed for safe use on coloured clothing or for whitening may not be suitable for disinfection.
- Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation.
- Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.
- To make a bleach solution, mix:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per 4L of room temperature water
- OR 4 teaspoons bleach per 1L of room temperature water
- Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.
- High touch surfaces include: Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
- Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces the patient made use of. Use the same disinfectant used for the other surfaces.
- Vacuum as usual.
- Clean the patient’s clothes, bed linen, and bath and hand towels using regular laundry soap and water or machine wash at 60–90 °C (140–194 °F) with common household detergent, and dry thoroughly. Place contaminated linen into a laundry bag. Do not shake soiled laundry and avoid contaminated materials coming into contact with skin and clothes.
- Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
- Gloves and protective clothing (e.g. plastic aprons) should be used when cleaning surfaces or handling clothing or linen soiled with body fluids. Depending on the context, either utility or single-use gloves can be used. After use, utility gloves should be cleaned with soap and water and decontaminated with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution. Single-use gloves (e.g. nitrile or latex) should be discarded after each use.
- Gloves, masks, and other waste generated during home care should be placed into a waste bin with a lid in the patient’s room before disposing of it as infectious waste.
For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards and remote controls
- Consider putting a wipe able cover on electronics.
- Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
- If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.
- Dedicated, lined household waste refuse bin: If possible, dedicate a lined waste bin for the person who is sick. Use disposable gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of rubbish. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards. Avoid touching your face. Double bag the waste.
Management of contacts
A contact is a person who is involved in any of the following from 3 days before and up to 14 days after the onset of symptoms in the patient may be required to isolate themselves for a period of 8 – 14 days:
- Having face-to-face contact with a COVID-19 patient within 1 meter and for >15 minutes without wearing a mask (high risk);
- Providing direct care for patients with COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment;
- Staying in the same close environment as a COVID-19 patient (including sharing a workplace, classroom or household or being at the same gathering) for any amount of time (low or high risk);
- Travelling in close proximity with (in the same vehicle, next to the patient for more than 15 minutes) a COVID-19 patient in any kind of conveyance;
- and other situations, as indicated by local risk assessments.
If a contact develops symptoms, the following steps should be taken.
- While traveling to seek care, the contact should wear a medical mask.
- The contact should avoid taking public transportation to the facility if possible. A private vehicle with the windows open may be used; an ambulance can only be called if the person is clinically ill.
- The symptomatic contact should be advised to perform respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene and to stand or sit as far away from others as possible (at least 1 metre) when in transit and when in the health care facility.
- Any surfaces that become soiled with respiratory secretions or other body fluids during transport should be cleaned with soap or detergent and then disinfected with a regular household product containing a 0.5% diluted bleach solution.