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Squeaky Clean: Can keeping a clean house protect you from the coronavirus?

Are you social distancing and staying home to prevent spread of coronavirus? Keeping your home clean and surfaces disinfected can help prevent the spread of viruses, especially if someone in your house is sick or if you’re self-quarantining. Try these steps to keep your home squeaky clean during the pandemic.

First, we should discuss cleaning vs disinfecting. What’s the difference? Cleaning involves removing surface dirt and grime while disinfecting is a process that kills bacteria and viruses on surfaces. Both are important steps in keeping you and your family healthy at home. Cleaning dirty surfaces before disinfecting ensures that your disinfectant can do its job.

So, we’ve established the two essential steps to an effective clean – now what? It’s important to think about high-touch surfaces in your home: they need to be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly and frequently. This includes kitchen counters, appliance handles, cell phones, sink handles, remote controls, key boards, door handles, coffee machines, kettles, and cupboard handles. Whew! These surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected as regularly as you can.

To clean hard surfaces (though not electronics) use a clean cloth and hot soapy water. This will prepare the surface to then be disinfected. Once you are done cleaning surfaces be sure to clean the cloth. A good rule of thumb is to wash cloths and towels in hot water in your washing machine. You are now ready to disinfect…

Which product should you use? Check out this link to find Health Canada approved disinfectants shown to kill the coronavirus: . I’m sorry to say that vinegar just won’t cut it in this case, and that’s because vinegar is not a disinfectant approved by Health Canada. Though it does work great in some cleaning applications – remember cleaning vs disinfecting! Once you’ve selected your disinfectant product follow the package directions exactly to make sure it’s working well. Disinfectant products can be wiped away with paper towel or a clean cloth, again wash these regularly.

Fabrics such as towels and cloths (whether used in the kitchen or the bathroom) should be changed out regularly and cleaned often in hot water. If someone in your house is sick, it’s a good idea to change hand towels daily. It is always a good idea to change out dish cloths daily. After loading dirty laundry into the washer be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Keeping your washer clean can also help prevent growth of germs. Run your washer with hot water and a bit of bleach weekly to keep things clean. For more details check out this link It may also be wise to change out of street clothes and immediately put them in a dirty laundry hamper when you come in from a public space. This will help prevent the spread of germs from your clothing to soft furnishings in your home. Again – don’t forget to wash up before changing into clean clothes for home.

When it comes to cleaning your electronic devices, disinfecting wipes often work well. These devices are definitely high-touch surfaces and deserve some devoted disinfecting attention. This link has some great ideas for cleaning your devices to prevent spread of germs.

Spring cleaning seems to have a whole new meaning this year as we try to fend off the coronavirus. Paired with good hand hygiene and social distancing these steps can help you stay safe and healthy. Until next time...

~ Your friendly neighborhood dietitian.

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