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COVID-19: Cleaning And Hygiene Tips To Help Keep Coronavirus Out Of Your Home

As the COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the world, UNICEF has issued a set of guidelines for cleaning and hygiene tips to help keep the COVID-19 virus out of your home. Amidst the rise of coronavirus cases, questions such as, "Can you catch the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from food?" "How should I do laundry now?" are boggling every household, and the following guidelines can help you protect yourself and your family from being exposed to the respiratory illness causing virus.

Though more research on understanding the COVID-19 virus is ongoing, it has been proven that the virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (through coughing and sneezing) and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus [1].

The virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. But it can be killed off using simple disinfectants, say experts. So here is a list of cleaning and hygiene tips to protect yourself and your home against COVID-19.

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Hygiene Tips To Protect Against COVID-19

1. Practice personal hygiene: Simple hygiene measures can help protect not only your health but your family's health and everyone else's. Wash your hands with soap and water as frequently as possible for at least 20-30 seconds. Take a bath at least once a day and use a sanitiser when required [2].

2. Avoid touching your face (nose, eyes and mouth): Avoid rubbing your eyes, picking the nose or chewing on fingernails as much as possible.

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3. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands: Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of the used tissue safely and immediately.

4. Keep your distance: Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

5. Wash your hands: We are mentioning it once more due to the critical role of washing your hands in controlling and preventing the spread of the coronavirus. According to UNICEF, an easy way to time it with your children is by singing the full, happy birthday song (the original one, please, not the zoo one) twice [3]. Make sure to wash hands after you blow your nose, sneeze into a tissue, use the restroom when you leave and return to your home before preparing or eating food, applying make-up, handling contact lenses etc.

6. Use a strong hand sanitiser: If you are using a hand sanitiser, ensure that it contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. Make sure you cover all parts of the hands and rub hands together for 20-30 seconds until hands feel dry [4].

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House-Cleaning Tips To Protect Against COVID-19

7. Wash bed sheets, towels, reusable kitchen napkins: Consider changing the bedsheet every couple of days; changing sheets every day is the best-case scenario. Also, wash towels after each use and reusable kitchen napkins after each use [5].

As most of us do our laundry at home, here are some extra tips:

  • Don't shake dirty laundry to minimise the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.
  • Use warm water to wash the clothes, as it helps to kill the virus.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub immediately afterwards.
  • Wash or disinfect your laundry bag. Consider storing laundry in disposable bags.
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8. Clean your clothes and shoes: Studies are looking into understanding how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on fabric. However, we know so far that many clothing items have plastic and metal elements on which they might live for a few hours to several days [6]. So, make sure you remove shoes when entering your home and changing into clean clothes when you return home after being in a crowded place.

9. Use cleaning products safely: Ensure you follow the cleaning product instructions and look out for precautions, such as wearing gloves and ensuring you have good ventilation. Four household items that can effectively kill the novel coronavirus are bleach, isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and soap and water [7].

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10. Clean the high-touch surfaces: Some of the common high-touch (mostly used/touched) surfaces in all homes include door handles, tables, chairs, handrails, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, taps, toilets, light switches, mobile phones, computers, tablets, keyboards, remote controls, game controllers and favourite toys. Sanitise, disinfect and clean these surfaces regularly [8].

11. How to clean surfaces: If a surface is dirty, first clean it with soap or detergent and water. As the second step, use a disinfectant product containing alcohol (around 70 per cent) or bleach. Vinegar and other natural cleaners are not recommended as they are not effective for this purpose [9]. Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used on some surfaces; if you cannot find disinfectants, use soap and water.

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Food Tips To Protect Against COVID-19

Currently, there is no evidence to prove that people can catch the COVID-19 virus from food or food packaging. However, it may be possible that people can become infected by touching a surface or object contaminated by the virus and then touching their face [10].

Food packaging and handling tips:

  • Remove any unnecessary packaging and dispose into a waste bin with a lid.
  • Take out the food from the restaurant containers, place it on a clean plate and dispose of the container.
  • Cans, bottles and such should be wiped clean with a disinfectant before being opened or stored.
  • Wash unpackaged produce, such as fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub immediately afterwards.
  • Where possible, keep perishable items refrigerated or frozen.
  • Use separate chopping boards to prepare uncooked meat and fish.
  • Recycle or dispose of food waste and packaging appropriately and sanitary, avoiding the build-up of waste that could attract pests.
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On A Final Note…

Coldwater and warm water are equally effective at killing germs and viruses, as long as you use soap and wash your hands the right way. Please keep your pets clean and clean their cages, too; also, make sure to sterilise your child's toys, bottles or any item in contact with kids.

Story first published: Sunday, May 30, 2021, 16:34 [IST]
Read more about: covid cleaning house coronavirus