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How to disinfect your home during COVID-19

Note: This article was last updated in April 2020. For the latest updates on COVID-19, see

Properly disinfecting and cleaning your home can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Experts recommend that cleaning your home may be helpful to protect yourself and others who live with you,” says Jesse Couk, M.D., a Piedmont infectious disease physician.

Frequently touched surfaces pose the greatest risk, he says, particularly shared surfaces. High-touch surfaces include:

  • Smartphones

  • Tablets

  • Keyboards

  • Doorknobs

  • Light switches

  • Handles

  • Tables

  • Desks

  • Faucets

  • Sinks

“Avoid sharing smartphones, laptops and tablets,” Dr. Couk adds.

The best ways to disinfect your home during COVID-19

To clean your home, particularly high-touch surfaces, Dr. Couk recommends referencing the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of cleaners to use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Diluted bleach or 70% alcohol solutions can also be used, as long as they are not harmful to the surface you are cleaning,” he says.

How to reduce germs in your home

Dr. Couk says these tips can help reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria in your home:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as you get home. Turn on the faucet with a paper towel to avoid contaminating the handle with dirty hands.

  • Wipe down your phone with rubbing alcohol or a sanitizing wipe after you have been outside your home. Your device collects germs just as your hands do. Both Apple and Samsung have shared tips for safely disinfecting your devices.

  • Avoid interacting with the containers of delivered goods like groceries, packages or prepared foods as much as possible. Do not place grocery bags, your purse or packages on your counters or tables. Wash or sanitize your hands after handling groceries and deliveries.  

  • Wash your hands before preparing food and before eating.

  • Avoid touching your face.

  • Thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables. Anything that is eaten raw should always be washed. 

Finally, stay at home as much as possible.

“The primary way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid exposure to others,” says Dr. Couk. “Individuals should follow the ‘shelter in place’ order issued by Gov. Kemp.”

COVID-19 safety tips for essential workers

“For those of us who work in healthcare or other essential workers, realize that our greatest risk occurs outside of the home,” he says.

While these tips apply to all of us right now, they are especially important for healthcare professionals and other essential workers:

  • Practice social distancing. Place at least a six- to eight-foot distance between you and others.

  • Wash your hands. Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Don’t touch your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless you’ve washed your hands.  

  • Wear a face covering. “This may help remind you to avoid touching your face,” says Dr. Couk. “Should you have COVID-19, it may prevent you from giving it to others.”

  • Shower as soon as you get home. “At the end of the day, when you return from work, I suggest removing clothing and taking a shower immediately,” he says.

  • Create physical distance within your home. “If your home has multiple rooms and bathrooms, consider assigning the highest risk individuals their own bedroom and bathroom,” he says. “This would also be part of a strategy to mitigate risk if someone else becomes ill.”

For additional tips on disinfecting your home, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

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