A lot of us may be spring cleaning our homes soon. Because it is spring (it began last month). And for many of we’re home more than ever right now.
But spring cleaning has a whole extra dimension in the spring of COVID-19. It’s no longer just a matter of sweeping, window-washing, airing the sheets and clearing the clutter.
Fomites — a new word to most of us, now starting to become very familiar — are suddenly on everyone’s mind.
Fomites are surfaces. Objects that may carry infection. Clothes, utensils, furniture are no longer the comfy, homey, familiar things that reassure us. Each one now feels dangerous.
The COVID-19 virus is detectable on copper for up to four hours. It remains on cardboard up to 24 hours, and on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. This, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists cited in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The good news? Transmission of COVID-19 from surfaces to human has “not been documented,” according to the CDC. So you don’t need to go into a panic if you happened to touch the mail today.
Much is still not known about COVID-19, but it appears that the common mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets, not surfaces. So if you’re staying home, and practicing social distancing (6 feet away from people) you’re off to a good start.
Meanwhile, how do you clean your home, in the age of COVID-19?
Tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and other routinely touched surfaces should be cleaned frequently, the CDC recommends.
♦ Step one is the superficial cleaning — detergent, or soap and water.
♦ Step two is to disinfect. “Diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective,” the CDC says. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions, protect your hands, and to ventilate.
Make sure the bleach — if you’re using bleach — is unexpired, that it’s appropriate to the surface you’re disinfecting, and that you don’t mix it with ammonia or other cleansers.
The CDC recommends the following bleach solution:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
This all being said, it’s still a great time for that spring clean. Not only do you quite probably have more time at home right now but you may have more hands available to help you (yes kids, even younger ones can be drafted into the effort.)
Any spring cleaning project should be a comprehensive, organized one. To help you, I’ve created my Ultimate Spring Cleaning list, which you can download here. You’ll find it’s a great guide to keep you on track, and if you need help and advice – especially on decluttering or small decor tweaks – you can book a virtual session with me, so I can help. Learn more about my virtual organizing services here.