Coronavirus Cleaning Concerns
Although a Vaccine which makes people “immune” to catching COVID-19 does not (YET) exist, it, like any other Virus is can be cleaned and disinfected… however, care extreme MUST be taken to ensure that the cleaners do not come into direct contact with the virus and become infected themselves – with the risk of spreading the infection further.
COVID-19 Cleaning Recommendations
Once the person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 vacates a room, cleaning can commence immediately. The room and all hard surfaces in the room should be physically cleaned. All furniture, equipment, horizontal surfaces and all frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles) should be thoroughly cleaned.
When items cannot be cleaned using detergents or laundered, for example, upholstered furniture and mattresses, steam cleaning should be used.
Cleaning of hard surfaces (e.g. bench tops) should be done using either:
- a physical clean using a combined detergent and 1,000ppm bleach solution (2-in-1 clean) made up daily from a concentrated solution. Follow manufacturer’s directions for dilution.
- a physical clean using detergent and water followed by a clean with 1,000ppm bleach solution (2-step clean), for example, household bleach or hospital-grade bleach solutions that are readily available from retail stores. Follow manufacturer’s directions for use or see Table 1 below for dilution recipe.
Bleach solutions should be made fresh daily and gloves should be worn when handling and preparing bleach solutions. Protective eyewear should be worn in case of splashing.
Cleaning equipment including mop heads and cloths should be laundered using hot water and completely dried before re-use. Cleaning equipment, such as buckets, should be emptied and cleaned with a new batch of chlorine bleach solution and allowed to dry completely before re-use.
Routine environmental cleaning
Cleaning is an essential part of disinfection. Organic matter can inactivate many disinfectants. Cleaning reduces the soil load, allowing the disinfectant to work.
Removal of germs such as the virus that causes COVID–19 requires thorough cleaning followed by disinfection.
The length of time that SARS–COV–2 (the cause of COVID–19) survives on inanimate surfaces will vary depending on factors such as the amount of contaminated body fluid –such as respiratory droplets –present and environmental temperature and humidity.
In general, coronaviruses are unlikely to survive for long once droplets produced by coughing or sneezing dry out.
It is good practice to routinely clean surfaces as follows:
- Clean frequently touched surfaces with detergent solution.
- Clean general surfaces and fittings when visibly soiled and immediately after any spillage.
Soap and water should be used for hand hygiene when hands are visibly soiled and alcohol–based hand rub at other times (e.g. when hands have been contaminated from contact with environmental surfaces). Cleaning hands also helps to reduce environmental contamination.