Starting May 1, 2020, many states stay home orders will begin to expire. Phase one to getting Americans back to work will begin which will contribute to more contaminated public surfaces. Is there a safe way to clean and disinfect surfaces to help stop the spread of COVID-19? Are there certain disinfectants that work better than others? With all the information floating around we thought we would put something together to help keep you, employees, and family members as safe as possible during the world pandemic.
First let’s review how the COVID-19 virus is transmitted. The virus is transmitted from person-to-person through close contact and through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. Surfaces can become infected by an infected person touching the surface and leaving behind these respirator droplets for others to touch, if someone touches that surface then rubs their eyes or they touch something and put this object into their mouths. Secondly, let’s review the ways we are fighting the spread of this virus 1) adapt to the new normal of social distancing staying 6-feet apart from others 2) increase personal hygiene by washing hands properly for 20 seconds with soap and water before going into public and when returning home 3) making sure we are cleaning the high traffic surfaces daily to help control the spread of the virus not only at home but at businesses.
Is there a safe way to clean and disinfect surfaces to help stop the COVID-19 virus? According, to the CDC, cleaning refers to the removal of germs and impurities from the surface. This lowers the risk of spreading them but not disinfecting them. The CDC, refers to using the EPA’s list of approved disinfectants which are chemicals on surfaces to kill germs and viruses. On April 23, the EPA sent out a bulletin regarding the safety and guidelines when using disinfectants called: EPA provides critical information to the American public about safe disinfectant use. Let’s review their tips.
- Check their List N to make sure the disinfectant is registered on their list and find out how long the chemical should remain on the surface visibly wet (contact time) for it to be considered disinfected. For example according to List N
- Lysol® Brand All Purpose Cleaner needs to stay on the surfaces visibly wet for 2-minutes.
- Buster needs to stay on surfaces visible wet for 5-minutes.
- Never use these disinfectants on yourself or others.
- Do not ingest these disinfectants.
- Do not apply the disinfectants to food.
- In no way, mix chemicals because certain combinations can create toxic acids or gases.
- Follow all instructions on the labels. To include cleaning surfaces with soap and water first if required.
- Always wash your hands after using a disinfectant.
Due to limit knowledge about the virus how long it sticks around on surfaces is still not proven. WebMD provides a great list to check for reference points.