COVID-19: Cleaning and disinfecting

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces to lower the chance of COVID-19 spreading in your home, workplace and public spaces.

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High-touch surfaces

The COVID-19 virus is most likely to be on surfaces you frequently touch with your hands.

We don't know exactly how long the COVID-19 virus lives on different surfaces. Evidence suggests it can live on objects and surfaces from a few hours to days, depending on the type of surface.

Surfaces in your home

Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home, such as:

  • tables
  • toilets
  • countertops
  • light switches
  • laundry hampers
  • television remotes
  • phones and electronics
  • handles to doors, refrigerator, dishwasher, cabinets, faucets, etc.
Surfaces in workplaces or other public spaces

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as:

  • desks
  • phones
  • keypads
  • handrails
  • light switches
  • work surfaces
  • cash registers
  • elevator buttons
  • customer service counters
  • credit/debit card machines
  • restaurant tables and chairs
  • door accessibility buttons, door handles and doorknobs

Owners and operators with shared spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms should also clean these areas more often.

Cleaning

Cleaning with soap (or detergent) and water lowers the number of germs on surfaces. Cleaners do not necessarily kill germs, but cleaning can remove germs and lower their numbers. This can play a role in reducing the risk of spreading infection.

Homes, workplaces and public spaces should be routinely cleaned. High-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected more often and when visibly dirty.

Damp cleaning methods (damp clean cloths and wet mops) are preferred over dry methods (dusting and sweeping). Damp methods of cleaning are less likely to distribute virus droplets into the air.

Put used disposable cleaning items, such as mop heads and cloths in a lined garbage bin before throwing them out with regular waste. Reusable cleaning items can be washed using regular laundry soap and hot water (60-90C).

If using gloves, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you've removed the gloves. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

For your home

Clean and disinfect each time someone returns home from having close contact with other people or high-touch surfaces.

Laundry and soft surfaces

Put possibly exposed laundry, including non-medical masks and face coverings, into a container with a plastic liner as soon as you return home. You can combine your exposed laundry with other (non-exposed) laundry and wash it together.

Do your laundry with regular laundry soap by:

  • putting it directly into the washing machine, being careful not to agitate it, using a hot cycle
  • washing it thoroughly by hand if a washing machine is not available, using soap and warm/hot water (60 to 90°C).
  • drying it well

Clean soft surfaces, like carpeted floors, rugs and drapes, with soap and water or a cleaner labelled for use with that item.

Electronics

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning regularly-used electronics like keyboards, tablets and smartboards.

Food handling and shopping

Follow safe food handling and cooking practices and advice on how to keep safe while grocery shopping and bringing your groceries home.

For your workplace

When cleaning your personal space in your workplace, use products that clean and disinfect all at once, such as store-bought disinfectant solutions or wipes, when available.

For using public spaces

When cleaning your personal space in a public setting, use products that clean and disinfect all at once, such as store-bought disinfectant solutions or wipes, when available.

Owners and operators

Business owners and the operators of community settings should develop or review protocols and procedures for cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces.

They should:

This will help determine where improvements or additional cleaning may be needed.

Disinfecting

Coronaviruses are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant when used according to the label directions. Clean surfaces before using disinfectants and always follow product label directions. If available, choose products that clean and disinfect all at once, such as wipes or commercial disinfectant solutions.

While most disinfectants will work against coronavirus, Health Canada has developed a list of hard-surface disinfectants that are supported by evidence to likely be effective when used against this coronavirus. If an approved disinfectant isn't available due to supply issues, use a diluted bleach solution.

Read and follow manufacturer's instructions for safe use of cleaning and disinfection products (i.e. wear gloves, use in well-ventilated area, allow enough contact time for disinfectant to kill germs based on the product being used).

If your electronics can withstand the use of liquids, disinfect them with 70% alcohol, like alcohol prep wipes.

For your home

Clean and disinfect each time someone returns home from having close contact with other people or high-touch surfaces.

Home deliveries

When you have items delivered to your home, wipe down the delivery with a suitable disinfectant. Wash your hands after handling the delivery and its packaging.

When someone's sick

In your home

Clean and disinfect your home at least once daily when you're caring for someone who's sick with, or has symptoms of COVID-19.

Learn more about caring for someone with COVID-19 at home.

At your workplace

Business owners and operators of community settings should follow established processes for cleaning and disinfecting the site after an employee or visitor develops COVID-19 symptoms.

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