How to clean and disinfect

Illustration: hand cleaning with a paper towel

alert icon Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.

Clean

  • Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

High touch surfaces include:
Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

Illustratio: hand cleaning a counter using spray bottle

Disinfect

  • Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
    Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
    Many products recommend:

    •  Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label)
    • Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. 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 gallon of water
      OR
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.

Illustration: soft surfaces - drapes, couch, pillows

Soft surfaces

For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes

  • Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
  • Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.

Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and dinfecting

Electronics

For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls.

  • Consider putting a wipeable 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.

Illustration: washing machine displaying 'hot'

Laundry

For clothing, towels, linens and other items

  • Wear disposable gloves.
  • Wash hands with soap and water as soon as you remove the gloves.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Dirty laundry from a sick person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.

Illustration: washing hands

Clean hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
    • Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a sick person.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Additional key times to clean hands include:
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After using the restroom
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • After contact with animals or pets
    • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

When Someone is Sick

Keep separate bedroom and bathroom for sick person

Bedroom and Bathroom

Keep separate bedroom and bathroom for sick person (if possible)

  • The sick person should stay separated from other people in the home (as much as possible).
  • If you have a separate bedroom and bathroom: Reduce cleaning to as-needed (e.g. soiled items and surfaces) to minimize the amount of contact with the sick person.
    • Caregivers can provide personal cleaning supplies to the sick person (if appropriate). Supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners, and EPA-registered disinfectantsexternal icon.
  • If shared bathroom: Clean and disinfect after each use by the sick person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.
  • See precautions for household members and caregivers for more information.

Illustration: sick woman in bed with serving tray full of food

Food

  • Stay separated: The sick person should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
  • Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water: Handle any non-disposable used food service items with gloves and wash with hot water or in a dishwasher.

    Clean hands after handling used food service items.

Illustration: gloved hand disposing trash into garbage pale

Trash

  • Dedicated, lined trash can: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the sick person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.