What is Coronavirus
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which already circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain first identified in China. Health experts continue to learn more about this new strain.
The virus has symptoms associated with respiratory illnesses, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. It seems to spread like other respiratory illnesses as well, primarily through person-to-person contact.
At this time, the differing parts of the U.S. are experiencing different levels of novel coronavirus activity and everyone needs to be prepared. Targeted hygiene practices can go a long way to help keeping families safe. Following product use and safety information is critical in this regard. It is especially important now to make sure cleaning and hygiene precautions are not just being done, but being done correctly, to ensure effectiveness.
Cleaning for Coronavirus
- Wet hands with clean, running water before applying soap.
- Lather both hands, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying.
Hand Sanitizer: The CDC notes that this can be a useful alternative if soap and water are not readily available, as long as it contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Use one or two squirts or pumps of the product.
- Rub hands together briskly, including the front and back, between fingers, around and under nails until hands are dry.
Disinfecting: There are a number of disinfectant and cleaning products that can be effective against the novel coronavirus on hard, nonporous surfaces, in accordance with the EPA Viral Emerging Pathogen Policy.
EPA-registered disinfectant products to use against Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
There is also an app for finding this information.
Cleaning and disinfecting tips to remember:
- Pre-clean any surfaces prior to disinfecting to remove any excess dirt or grime.
- After disinfecting, let the surface air dry as recommended on the product label.
- If disinfecting food contact surfaces or toys, rinse with water after they air dry.
- Pay particular attention to disinfecting things that come into frequent contact with your hands, like your phone.
- If using a disinfectant wipe, throw out after using. Do not flush any non-flushable products.
Disinfectants are meant to kill germs or viruses on hard surfaces. Under no circumstances should they ever be used on one’s skin, ingested or injected internally.
Always store products used for cleaning and disinfecting up and out of reach of children.
If you still have questions about a product's specific effectiveness, check out the product or company website, which can provide additional information.
Key Times to Clean
- At Home: Wash your hands before and after food prep, before eating, after using the bathroom, after touching garbage or diapers and after handling pet food. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, like door handles and light switches. If someone in your home is sick, follow these CDC guidelines for additional cleaning and disinfecting actions.
- At Work: Always wash hands before eating and after using the bathroom. If you're not near a sink, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Try not to share food and routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Stay home if sick and encourage colleagues to do the same.
- When You Have to Go Out: Avoid touching your face after contact with frequently-touched surfaces. Consider using an antibacterial wipe on the grocery cart handle, especially if a child will be riding in the cart. If using reusable bags, be sure to wash them when you get home.
- During Essential Travel: Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose. At the airport, wash your hands after going through security and after getting off the plane.
Coronavirus Cleaning FAQ
Get answers to frequently asked questions from our cleaning experts!
For businesses returning to the workplace, we've created a free online Healthy Returns toolkit with resources on cleaning and disinfecting effectively to help ensure a safe and successful reopening.
Cleaning product companies have been ramping up production to help communities protect themselves against COVID-19.
- CDC COVID-19 Prevention Information
- CDC: Interim Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Coronavirus Updates
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Coronavirus Resource Page
- World Health Organization (WHO) Corona Disease Updates
- FDA: Coronavirus Q&As for Consumers
- FDA: Use of Facemasks in the Food Sector
- OSHA Guidance for Workers and Employers
- OSHA Guidance to Prepare Workplaces
- FDA Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19 New
- ACI: Cleaning Product Supply Chain is "Essential Infrastructure" During Coronavirus Crisis
- Calling on elected officials to coordinate a clear public framework on exempted workers from curfew bans starting to take effect.
- Calling on elected officials to ensure the cleaning product supply chain maintains operation throughout this challenging time.
- Calling on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to continue their crackdown against price gouging.
- Imploring the President and congressional leaders to ensure that any “fiscal and economic response to help businesses survive the [coronavirus] crisis match the scale and intensity of the steps being taken to end the pandemic.”
- Urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to consider altering COVID-19 related compliance requirements that may be limiting the ability of the cleaning product supply chain’s ability to manufacture or distribute needed products.
- Expressing grave concern to government leaders over “actions being taken at the state and local levels that may fundamentally impede or otherwise threaten the supply of critical products.”
- Strongly commending the EPA for its efforts to demonstrate the value that cleaning products and disinfectants are playing in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
- Urging the White House Novel Coronavirus Task Force to remove obstacles to make available supplies of ethanol for hand sanitizers needed by critical infrastructure sectors, including a request for the issuance of guidance prioritizing the availability of ethanol for those sectors.
- Urging New York regulators to suspend further review of its ingredient disclosure rule as companies grapple with priority challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Recommending that food and consumer packaged goods industry employees have access to COVID-19 testing.
- Requesting the nation’s governors provide nationally uniform recognition of core critical infrastructure, which will enable the smooth flow of essential products and services within and across state lines.
- Urging action to ensure essential businesses are not subject to frivolous lawsuits.
- Recommending that the food and consumer packaged goods industry employees have access to COVID-19 testing.
- Supporting creating a new White House Office of Supply Chain to accelerate response efforts.
- Asking the CDC to provide a comprehensive list of COVID-19 testing resources and guidances available for critical business operations and to develop a tool that allows stakeholders to identify local testing providers.
- Resources on State and Local Government Updates from NAM
- "Amid Coronavirus Concerns, Follow These Steps to Minimize Germs at Home" - The Wall Street Journal
- "Americans Are Stockpiling Cleaning Products Due to COVID-19 Fears. Do They Actually Prevent Coronavirus?" - Time
- "Cleaning & Coronavirus: The ACI explains the right way to keep clean and safe" - HAPPI
- "Lysol, Clorox and Purell cleaning products kill coronavirus on household surfaces, experts say" - Cleveland.com
- "How To Clean Household Items During Coronavirus Outbreak, According to Experts" - Bustle
- "How to Keep Your Home Free of Coronavirus Germs" - Wall Street Journal
- "Even with coronavirus spreading, your phone probably won't make you sick (but you should clean it)" - The Washington Post
- "Where Women Are Ahead of Men: Hand Washing" - The New York Times'
- "Hand Sanitizer: Is More Coming? What Can You Do in the Meantime" - U.S. News & World Report
- "How Safe Are DIY Hand Sanitizers?" - The Healthy
- "12 Places to Clean in Your Home to Prevent the Spread of Illness" - U.S. News & World Report
- "Chemical, Cleaning Industries Essential to Fighting Virus" - Bloomberg Environment
- "Yes, There's a Difference Between Cleaning & Disinfecting" - Food52
- "How to Disinfect Food And Your Kitchen For Coronavirus" - The Huffington Post
- "How to Clean Your Car to Reduce the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19" - MarthaStewart.com
- "Crucial COVID-19 Cleaning Tips: How To Keep Your Home Virus-Free During the Pandemic" - Realtor.com
- "These Common Household Products Can Destroy the Novel Coronavirus" - Consumer Reports
- "The Right Way to Clean and Disinfect Household Surfaces" - The Washington Post
- "Best Strategies, Products for Keeping Your Home Clean" - WTKR
- "How to properly disinfect your home's surfaces and groceries during this pandemic" - KVUE ABC
- "Cleaners That Kill" - HAPPI
- "Experts Offer Tips on Best Way to Sanitize Clothes, Surfaces" - CBS New York
- "Ways to Make Your Cleaning Products Last Longer" - Better Homes & Gardens
- "The Best Cleaning Supplies to Buy for Coronavirus - And How to Use Them" - Fatherly
- "Keeping Your Home Healthy Before, During and After Caregiver Visits" - AARP
- "Sanitizing Your Home: A COVID-19 Q&A With the American Cleaning Institute" - Forbes
- "You're Probably Disinfecting Your Kitchen Wrong--Here's How to Do It" - EatingWell
- "To Keep COVID At Bay, Americans Turn to Cleaning Services" - The Wall Street Journal
- "Clorox wipes won't be fully stocked in stores until summer, CEO says" - Today
- "10 Things You Should Be Cleaning Every Day From Now On" - Reader's Digest
- "Poison control numbers spike during pandemic" - News4JAX
- "Why It’s Still So Tough to Find Disinfectant Wipes" - Slate
Updated July 22, 2020