Disinfecting your home if someone is sick

As part of your everyday prevention actions clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. For example: tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles.

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

  • Use diluted household bleach solutions 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.

    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.
  • Household cleaners and disinfectants: 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 the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed.
    • Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

    Most EPA-registered household disinfectantsexternal icon should be effective.

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.

    OR

  • Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectantsexternal icon meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.
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 an ill 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 an ill 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.
Illustration: sick woman in bed with serving tray full of food

Food

  • Stay separated: The ill 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 ill person.Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.

Check out more tips from the CDC at www.cdc.gov

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