Cleaning and disinfecting commonly used surfaces can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. No one knows this better than Kaiser Permanente’s environmental services professionals who clean and sanitize more than 50 million square feet each day to help keep our members, patients, and workforce healthy and safe.
Here are some quick tips based on their experience, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency, on what household surfaces you need to clean and disinfect — and how to get the job done right.
Clean then disinfect
Cleaning removes visible dust, dirt, and grime from surfaces. While cleaning may not kill germs, it’s an important first step before disinfecting. Disinfecting uses chemical cleaners to kill germs and can further lower the risk of spreading infection. When using disinfectants, you may want to open a window or make sure you have good ventilation.
7 steps to clean and disinfect like a pro
- Put on disposable gloves
- Clean surfaces with soap and water or a household cleaner, using paper towels or rags
- Next, completely wet cleaned surfaces with a disinfectant solution, spray, or wipes. Find a list of EPA-approved products at epa.gov/listn.
- Leave wet for the time listed by the manufacturer on the label. Allows to air dry and evaporate.
- When finished, wash rags in hot, soapy water or dispose of paper towels.
- Remove and safely discard gloves; then wash your hands.
- Keep supplies tightly closed and safely stored out of the reach of children.
For a downloadable PDF of these steps, click here.
Commonly used surfaces include door handles, faucet handles, countertops, light switches, all bathroom surfaces including the sink, toilet, toilet handle, and shower areas, as well as cabinet handles and appliance handles. Our experts suggest washing higher surfaces before washing lower ones. For example, clean counters and sinks before floors and toilets.
High-touch surfaces also include electronics such as phones, tablets, remote controls, and keyboards. You should follow manufacturer instructions to clean and disinfect these devices — or if guidance isn’t available use disinfecting wipes or spray that contains at least 70% alcohol.
You can find more information and resources on cleaning and disinfecting your home, as well as other ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infection, at kp.org.