Hygiene and cleaning tips to help keep the COVID-19 virus out of your home

Everyday measures to help protect your home and family.

COVID-19 Cleaning Tips

There are a million questions around COVID-19 from where we can catch the virus from to how should I do my laundry now? Everyday household tasks have changed and turned into a source of uncertainty as families come to grips with getting the basics done while keeping their loved ones safe and healthy.

COVID-19 research is ongoing, but what we do know is the virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person, touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and through toilet plumes. The virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. The good news is disinfectants can kill the virus. So what does this mean for you and your family?

Here are our tips on keeping COVID-19 out of your home.

Personal hygiene

Simple hygiene measures can help protect your family’s health and everyone else’s. Washing your hands is where we will start. By now you will have heard it everywhere you go, that washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis is the best line of defence against the virus. You’ve probably heard that singing “Happy Birthday” twice is rough around 20-30 seconds long. This way you know you are 100% washing your hands for the time required.

Hand Washing

Did you know? 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!

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. Basically, you should be washing your hands after everything you do. This way you are keeping your personal hygiene to a high standard and reducing the risk of spreading the disease.

When you are out and about and do not have access to clean water and soap, you should use an effective hand sanitiser. Choose the right-hand sanitiser. Make sure that it contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. There are some homemade hand sanitisers available on the market that have less than 60 per cent alcohol. When using the hand sanitiser ensure coverage on all parts of the hands and rub hands together for 20-30 seconds until hands feel dry. If hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

Don’t touch your face

Many of us have a habit of touching our face. Whether that be rubbing your eyes, picking your nose or putting your finger in your mouth. You should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. The reason for this is that your eyes, nose and mouth are all entry points for the virus to access your body.

Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands 

Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately. Then wash your hands with soap and water. A recent study found that a cough or sneeze can travel up to 2-3 aisles. Meaning when you cough you could be infecting people not immediately in front of you.

Keep your distance 

Social distancing has been put in place in all public environments. You should always maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) from people. This social distancing precaution is in place to prevent people from coming into contact with others. Therefore, reducing the risk of infections/cross-contamination.

Social Distancing

Cleaning around the home

Throughout our homes there many high-touch surfaces including door hands, kettle, cupboard doors, the toilet flusher, taps, the list is endless. Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces in your home regularly is an important precaution to lower the risk of infection.

Follow cleaning product instructions for safe and effective use, including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation. Although bleach kills almost anything it comes into contact with we do not recommend using it. Bleach is a chemical that is super harmful to our health and the environment around us. We would advise trying out a biocidal cleaner such as the Flourish All Surface Sanitiser. It has been scientifically proven to be active against an array of bacteria’s and viruses around the workplace and in the home. The choice is yours to make. There is no right or wrong way of sanitising your home whether you choose to use a chemical or naturally derived product as long as they do what they say they do.

What to use to clean and disinfect

If a surface is dirty, first clean it with soap or detergent and water. Then use a disinfectant product to clean and kill bacteria and viruses on the surface. In many places, it can be difficult to find disinfectant sprays and wipes. In such cases, continue to clean with soap and water. Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used on some surfaces. However be aware bleach will dye your soft fabrics a different colour, so is advised against.

Cleaning clothes

It is currently unclear how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on fabric, but many items of clothing have plastic and metal elements on which it might live for a few hours to several days.

Exercise caution and common sense. Good practices to consider include removing your shoes when you enter your home and changing into clean clothes when you return home after being in crowded places and washing your hands with soap and water immediately afterwards.

Doing laundry at home

Keeping your bedsheets, towels and clothes clean is a must. If you have been to the local supermarket or to work etc take clothing off immediately to reduce the risk of infection. You could potentially be bringing COVID-19 back into your home. It has been advised the following:

  • Don’t shake dirty laundry to minimize the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.
  • Launder items with soap or detergent, using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely — both steps help 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 and hamper as well. Consider storing laundry in disposable bags.

Handling and preparing food

While at present there is no evidence of people catching the COVID-19 virus from food or food packaging, it may be possible that people can become infected by touching a surface or object contaminated by the virus and then touching their face.

The greater risk comes from being in close contact with other people while outside food shopping or receiving a food delivery (as receiving any delivery in areas with local transmission). As always, good hygiene is important when handling food to prevent any food-borne illnesses.

Food packaging and handling precautions

  • Remove any unnecessary packaging and dispose of a waste bin with a lid.
  • Remove food from take-out containers, place on a clean plate and dispose of the container.
  • Packaging like cans can 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.

General food hygiene tips

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing any food.
  • Use separate chopping boards to prepare uncooked meat and fish.
  • Cook food to the recommended temperature.
  • Where possible, keep perishable items refrigerated or frozen, and pay attention to product expiry dates.
  • Aim to recycle or dispose of food waste and packaging in an appropriate and sanitary manner, avoiding the build-up of refuse which could attract pests.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating and make sure your children do the same.
  • Always use clean utensils and plates.