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Keeping Your House Safer During COVID-19: Cleaning the “Hot Spots”

Keeping Your House Safer During COVID-19: Cleaning the “Hot Spots”

Staying safe at home while practicing social distancing is key, as we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, more than ever, cleaning and disinfecting our homes can make all the difference in keeping ourselves and loved ones out of harm’s way. It’s true we all like to think our homes are clean—for the most part. But did you know there are “hot spots” in your home where the coronavirus can remain for hours and even days—potentially leaving you and your family exposed?

At Granite and TREND Transformations, your safety is our priority. This month, we turn to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as other industry experts for their recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting “high touch areas” inside your home—and some outside—that may help keep you and your loved ones safer. It all starts with washing your hands. Here’s what comes next:

 

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Yes, there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. In fact, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may have thought of the two as synonymous. The reality is they go hand-in-hand (no pun intended). Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve:

  • Cleaning—Cleaning involves the removal of visible traces of germs, dirt and impurities from a surface. The key word here is “removes”—not “kills”—the germs.
  • Disinfecting—Disinfecting requires the use of chemicals or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants to kill germs on surfaces after

The takeaway: Cleaning dirty surfaces first, followed by disinfecting them, is the best practice for preventing COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in households or community settings.

Note: Due to high demand, some retailers may be out of stock on disinfecting products, such as Clorox and Lysol. The good news is you can make your own disinfectant solution with other household items you may have on hand. Here are some options you can make at home:

  • Isopropyl alcohol solution (containing at least 70 percent alcohol)
  • Diluted bleach solution (four teaspoons of bleach per one quart of water)

Tip: Don’t forget to wear gloves!

Cleaning the “hot spots”

This may be one of the only times the expression, “All hands on deck,” is not a good thing. With so many of us working from home—not to mention the kids taking online classes—it’s hard not to cross paths, let alone touch some of the same surfaces. As diligent as we all are to practice social distancing, essential errands may take us out of our homes for a short time, thus possibly exposing us to the coronavirus. That’s why it’s so important to know the facts. Below are preliminary results relating to the stability of the virus on certain surfaces according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine.

What you need to know:

Surface                                            Duration virus can live on surface

Plastic/Stainless Steel                      Up to 3-4 days

Cardboard                                           Up to 24 hours

Doorknobs                                          Copper—up to four hours

Clothing                                               Preliminary reports say from a few hours to a few days

What follows are some of the top “high touch areas” you should be cleaning every day.

 

Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

Did you know the coronavirus can live on plastic and stainless steel for up to three-to-four days?

(Source: Study from The National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine.)

 

Remote Control

Doorknobs

Did you know the coronavirus can live on copper for up to four hours?

(Source: Study from The National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine.)

 

Clothing

Until more information is known, experts suggest removing your shoes and changing into clean clothes when coming in from outdoors. If you’re washing the clothes of an infected person, it is recommended you wear gloves while handling their clothes and then discard the gloves immediately after. If you don’t have gloves, be sure to wash your hands. Also, avoid shaking out clothes, sheets or blankets indoors. This can minimize the dispersing of virus particles into the air.

Other important “high touch areas” to clean and disinfect:

  • Light switches
  • Tables
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Keyboards
  • Hampers

Note: Harvard Health reports the virus is more likely to survive on hard surfaces rather than softer ones, such as furniture, rugs and clothing.

 

 

Don’t Forget About Other Hot Spots

Did you know there are other hot spots to focus on outside of your home? Here are some places you may not have thought of:

Your Vehicle

If essential errands are taking you for a ride, then there’s a good chance germs may be hitching a ride in your vehicle, too. Be sure to clean unsuspecting hot spots, which include keys, the steering wheel, gear shifter, lane and windshield stalks, door handles, stereo knobs, storage bins and seatbelts. And don’t forget the top of the dashboard. According to Charles P. Gerba, a professor of microbiology and public health at the University of Arizona, this area is a hot spot for microorganisms since recirculating air swirls up against the windshield and sticks to the dashboard. Keeping this area clean can reduce risk.

 

Smart Devices

We are diligently washing our hands, but did you know there’s one thing in the palm of our hands that could be spreading germs without our knowing it? In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Apple and Samsung have updated their guidelines on the safest way to clean smartphones and tablets to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Being in the know is the smart way to keep you and your family safer around your smart devices.

 

Cardboard Boxes

Did you know the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours? If you’re expecting a delivery, the recommendation is to leave the package outdoors for 24 hours before handling it.

Source: Study from The National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Granite and TREND Transformations encourages everyone to stay safe during this uncertain time. And remember, we are all in this together.

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