Safer Spring Cleaning for COVID-19 and Beyond
It’s time for spring cleaning again!
Most of us know we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping our distance, and staying home when we’re sick. But, can cleaning and disinfecting also protect your family from COVID-19? The good news is that your current cleaning routine may already be enough to keep you safe!
You may remember hearing that you can get COVID-19 by touching a surface with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or face. Well, new research suggests that the risk of getting sick this way is actually pretty low with the right precautions. The best way to prevent getting COVID-19 from a surface is to wash your hands often. Cleaning and disinfecting your home is an extra step you can take to keep your family safe.
Regular cleaning is enough
Cleaning is when you use soap to remove dirt and germs from a surface or your hands. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but it washes them away and lowers your risk of getting sick. This is usually enough to keep you from catching COVID-19 from a surface. Here’s how to do it:
🧽 Use soap, water, and a tightly woven cloth. You don’t need fancy cleaners to do the job. Regular soap gets rid of germs that make you sick.
🧽 Choose plain liquid soap.
- Choose a soap without fragrances or dyes. These can harm your lungs or irritate your skin.
- Do not use “antimicrobial” soaps. They don’t add protection from COVID-19, and they’re not good for your health — or the environment.
- Look for “green” cleaners that have Green Seal or EPA Safer Choice certification. These are better for your health and the environment.
🧽 Clean surfaces that are dirty or touched often. You don’t need to deep clean your home every day, but make sure to regularly clean areas that are hot spots for germs. Focus on areas in your home that people touch often or breathe on. That means areas like counters, doorknobs, light switches, and faucets.
Disinfect when needed
Cleaning with soap is the first step to keeping germs out of your home. In most situations, it is all you need to do. But there are times when you should also disinfect. Disinfecting kills germs left on surfaces after cleaning. You should disinfect if someone in your home is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
If you disinfect, it’s important to do it safely and correctly! Chemicals in disinfectants can be bad for you and the environment. To learn more about safe disinfecting, check out this infographic or the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Wash your hands and keep up the good work!
Washing your hands is still important to prevent getting COVID-19. When you wash your hands, you get rid of the germs you picked up from touching surfaces. This reduces your risk of getting sick. To remove germs, scrub your hands with plain soap for at least 20 seconds. Always wash your hands before preparing food or eating, and after going to the bathroom, petting animals or playing outside.
Cleaning and disinfecting add extra protection against COVID-19 and other illnesses. When you do your spring cleaning this year, know that you are doing more than just refreshing your space. You’re also keeping yourself and your family from getting sick. So, clean often, scrub with soap, open those windows, and welcome the wonderful spring weather!
And remember . . . cleaning your home doesn’t replace other safety measures. You still need to wear a mask, watch your distance, stay home if you’re sick, and get vaccinated. Washingtonians have worked hard for the past year to keep our communities safe — thanks for keeping it up!
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Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.
For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org. Check the vaccine locator tool to find out if it’s your turn for the vaccine and see a list of places where you can get it. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.