Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19, has been around for a couple of months now. But since it is a new virus, the medical experts don’t know much about it. We’re getting closer to learning about how to tackle this with every day that goes by, but we’re not quite there yet.
We are also learning new things about this virus every day regarding how it is spread, how it can infect people, how long it can live on surfaces and how we can kill it. For example, we now know that coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to nine days and can survive in the air for a few hours. Another thing we know for a fact is that the virus is spread through saliva or fluids coughed up from the lungs while coughing or tiny droplets while sneezing. These droplets are heavy and when they leave an infected person’s body they land on surfaces from where they can be caught by other people.
It is easy for an infected person to spread the virus through coughing, sneezing or touching another person directly through a handshake or other day to day activities, such as passing on something or sharing an item of daily use such as a glass or a spoon, keyboard, mouse, door handle etc. the best and key element of reducing the risk of spreading the virus is to wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser.
Now, the question of how we can reduce the risk of spread in our homes arises. We have listed for you some tips and tricks with which you can reduce the risk of infecting your house with Coronavirus and make your house germs and virus free.
To help you get the best information, we’ve collated some useful tips and tricks to help you keep your home safe. Some things we’ve included are:
• How Long Does Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?
• Can You Get Infected By A Small Trace?
• How Much is the Risk of Being Infected from a Surface VS Direct Contact with An Infected Person
• How to Disinfect Different Types of Surfaces
• How To Prevent The Spread of COVID-19
Let’s jump into it!
How Long Does Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?
Recent research has investigated on how long Coronavirus can stay and survive on different surfaces such as plastic, cardboard, paper, metal, wood, fabric etc. the survival time varies according to the type of surface. The maximum time the virus can survive on a surface is nine days which is on plastic and stainless steel. While the shortest survival time for coronavirus is one day, which is for paper and cardboard.
COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV 2. This virus can stay on different surfaces at different durations of time. Although the number of viruses reduces over time, it is still worrying that they can survive for several days on a surface if left on their own. Therefore, it is important to clean and disinfect the surfaces often. Especially when you or someone come in from outside or there is any doubt of virus in the house, for example, if someone is feeling unwell.
Here is a list of how long the Coronavirus can live on different surfaces:
Air: 3 hours
Cardboard: 24 hours
Copper: 4 hours
Plastic: 72 hours or more
Steel: 48 hours
Let’s see what cleaning products we already have in our homes can be used to kill this deadly virus and make our homes safer and cleaner.
Airing the House
Make sure that you air out the house regularly every day. Since we are now in spring and the weather is nice most of the days, you can open windows for a few hours every day to let fresh air in. It will not only circulate the stale air inside the house and make it smell clean and fresh, but it also reduces the risk of infection from viral infections such as Coronavirus. An infected person produces hundreds of tiny droplets every time they cough or sneeze, which stay in the air for up to three hours. So, by opening the windows you can remove or disperse the droplets and clean the air you breathe in, reducing the risk of infection.
Soap and Water
Soap and water are your first aid when it comes to defending yourself and your house from Coronavirus. The best thing is it is easily available and once you have cleaned the surface with soap and water you can rest assured that you have killed the virus and treated your home.
The soap interacts with the fats in the shell of the virus, which makes it lift from the surfaces and then it is rinsed off with water. You also need to wash your hands afterwards and wash the food as usual when it comes in from the shops.
Bleach is very effective in killing the virus as the active ingredient in bleach is sodium hypochlorite which is very good at killing the viruses. For bleach to work well, make sure you leave it for about 10-15 minutes then clean and wipe the surface with a clean cloth.
The bleach works in a very efficient way; it destroys the protein and RNA of the virus, the substance that produces more virus particles when someone gets infected. When using bleach, be careful to read the instructions on the bottle and keep out of the reach of children.
Surgical spirit, used by hospitals and surgeries is made up of alcohol ethanol. Ethanol is very effective in killing all sorts of viruses including Coronavirus. The best thing is it is done in as less as 30 seconds. It works the same way as bleach, the alcohol in surgical spirit destroys the protein and RNA of the virus. Dab a little amount of spirit on a clean cloth and rub it over the surface. The spirit will evaporate itself so you don’t need to wipe it off.
Antiseptic is the active ingredient in surface wipes, most of the time this is benzalkonium chloride. The wipes directly remove germs when applied to a surface and the germs attach themselves to the wipes. The antiseptic on the surface of the wipes works to kill the germs. It works well for bacteria and viruses both. One of the best surface wipes is Dettol Surface Cleaners. If you look at the label, it says that it works well for killing Coronavirus.
Hydrogen Peroxide is mainly used as first aid for treating minor cuts and burns to reduce the risk of infection, it can also be used to treat surfaces to kill germs and works just as good as the bleach.
Just like surface wipes, disinfectant sprays also work against harmful bacteria and viruses in the air. A good disinfectant spray should have at least 70% alcohol like Lysol Clean and Fresh, or it can be found on the ingredients. If you can not find one now, you can order online from Amazon.
Can You Get Infected By A Small Trace?
You may think that catching a single trace of the virus on your body will cause you to get infected by Coronavirus. However, this is usually not the case. The amount of the virus you are exposed to is important. There has to be a certain quantity of the virus for you to come into contact with before you can suffer infection. The less concentration there is of the virus, the less likely it is that you will get infected and unwell.
However, some viruses are quite strong and you only need as less as 10 particles to get infected by the disease. For others, you may need a million to become ill. Therefore, the fewer traces of viruses you are exposed to, the lesser is your chance of catching the infection. So, in summary, the number of viruses on a surface and yourself play an important role.
How Much is the Risk of Being Infected from a Surface VS Direct Contact with An Infected Person
Although the risk of being infected when directly in contact with an infected person is much higher, in current circumstances when everyone is taking care of social distancing, we can say that right now, people can get infected more easily through contaminated surfaces rather than coming in close contact with an ill person.
Therefore, it is very important to be cautious of what we are touching at all times. Especially when we are outside or while touching high-touch surfaces. Washing hands with soap and water is a must after touching things, for example on public transport, in grocery stores or other places where several people come and go every day.
Of course, we can’t clean the surfaces in public places, so we have to wash our hands frequently or if that is not possible, use a hand sanitiser. In our homes, however, we can clean and wipe the surfaces with good domestic cleaning products. As we discussed above, the virus can live for a long time on surfaces such as plastic and steel, so it is probable, that if an infected person has touched it before us and we touch the surface afterwards and touch our face or eat something with our hands, the virus will enter our body.
There is also a little amount of risk involved when you get a package delivered to your house, although it is low. If the person delivering the package is infected, then there is a chance they might have transmitted germs onto the delivery product too. Therefore, whenever possible, leave the package unopened for at least 72 hours or more, or clean it with a surface cleaner or when possible wash the contents. Wash hands after touching those items.
Another thing to bear in mind is that virus is quite stable on the cardboard surface. And most of our online delivery items come in cardboard packaging. So, once the package is opened discard the cardboard box immediately, wash your hands and do not touch your face. This way, you will minimise the risk of contracting the virus from the surface. The contents of the package are although, at a lower risk of having any contamination as when the items are packed, the outer packaging is handled by several people in the supply chain compared to the inside contents.
So, the chance of the outer box being contaminated is higher than the actual contents of the box. However, it is somewhat reassuring that since the parcels, especially those coming from other countries, take several days to get to us, the virus that may be on them would have perished by the time it gets to us.
How Often You Should Disinfect?
First, we need to understand what does disinfection involve. Disinfection refers to the use of chemicals that help in killing germs on surfaces. This means, that disinfecting might not remove the germs altogether from the surfaces but by killing them we are reducing the risk of spreading the virus. We can then clean the surface with a clean cloth.
It is a good practice to regularly clean your house, especially high-touch surfaces such as door handles, tables, chairs’ backs, switches, stair bannisters and toilets etc. anyway, but it is even more important to do so now than ever. The good news is that regular household cleaning products are effective to kill Coronavirus. If someone in your house has been diagnosed or has symptoms of Coronavirus, it is even more important to disinfect the house more often.
To better understand how important, it is to disinfect the house of all germs, bacteria and viruses, all household members should educate themselves on how the virus is spread, what are the symptoms and how we can minimise the risk of being infected.
It is recommended that households should clean and disinfect the house, especially high-touch surfaces such as door handles, toilets, switches, stair bannisters, desks, faucets, sink and electronics more often than they used to do before the outbreak of Coronavirus. Regular household cleaners and disinfectant sprays can be used for this purpose. Follow the instructions given on the product label for more appropriate and effective use. Also take necessary precautions like, wearing gloves or ventilating the room to avoid any sort of allergies or reaction.
• For electronics, a good surface wipe with 70% alcohol is good to kill germs and virus on surfaces such as touch screens. Dry the surface afterwards with a clean and dry cloth.
• If a person shows symptoms, they should be allocated a separate bedroom and if possible separate bathroom as well. The allocated bedroom and bathroom should be cleaned less to avoid contact with the ill person as less as possible.
• In the case where there is only one bathroom and everyone has to share it, it should be cleaned more frequently. Every time the ill person has been to the bathroom, the surfaces should be wiped with the disinfectant.
• The ill person should have their supplies such as towels and other basics so that they do not share with others.
How to Disinfect Different Types of Surfaces
• If possible, wear disposable gloves when disinfecting the house and surfaces, which should be discarded after use. If disposable gloves are not available, use a separate pair just for this purpose which should not be used for anything else.
• If the surface is dirty, it should be cleaned with soap and water before you start disinfecting.
• Where appropriate, household bleach can be used in the right amount and proper application method to disinfect hard surfaces. Make sure to ventilate the place properly and do not mix it with any other chemical or cleaner. A good cleaning spray with household bleach can be made easily at home using 1:5 bleach and water ratio. Take all necessary precautions and be mindful that bleach may discolour some items so it has to be used after carefully reading instructions.
For surfaces like carpets, rugs, bedding, drapes and curtains:
• First, we need to remove any visible contamination with standard cleaning methods.
• After the cleaning, we can wash certain items if possible, such as small rugs or curtains.
• Any commercial standard washing powder or detergent will serve the purpose.
• A small amount of disinfectant such as Dettol can be added to the wash
• For carpets and other soft and large surfaces that can not be washed, hoover regularly and when possible, pour carpet cleaning disinfectant overnight and hoover in the morning.
For electrical appliances, such as mobile phones, tablets, remote control, keyboard, mouse and touch screen devices, clean the surfaces first for any visible dirt or contamination. Alcohol-based wipes with 70% alcohol content, can be used for disinfecting electrical surfaces. Thoroughly dry surfaces afterwards.
Fabrics and Clothing
• Consider using disposable gloves when handling laundry of an ill person, or someone who had Coronavirus symptoms. Discard gloves after one use. If disposable gloves are not available, keep a separate pair designated just for this purpose and do not use it for anything else.
• If you do not have any sort of gloves, wash hands immediately after handling contaminated laundry.
• Do not shake off dirty laundry as it might disperse off viruses in the air.
• You do not need to wash the clothes separately from an ill person, they can be washed with other clothes. The reason being, soap and water (preferably warm) will kill the germs and viruses and will wash them away.
• If possible, do not put the contaminated laundry from an ill person with other clothes in the hamper or laundry bin. Consider washing them as soon as they need to be washed. However, if this is not possible, clean and disinfect the laundry bin or place in a disposable liner or one that can also be washed with the clothes.
• Health experts say that following the directions on the label of cleaning products makes their use more effective. A simple swipe is not good enough, the products need to be used properly for more productive results.
• If possible, an ill person should be fed and provided all essentials such as medication, non-perishable snacks and other basics in their room. They must not be sharing dishes or other things with members of the household.
• A small bin or bin bag must be placed in their room so they can dispose of things such as contaminated tissues or anything else when they need to. When you need to throw the garbage away, use gloves and wash hands immediately.
• Other members of the household must practice all essential precautions as recommended by the health services. These can be washing hands frequently, not touching face, nose, eyes or mouth, disposing of used tissues immediately, washing hands after going to the toilet, before cooking or eating food, before and after providing care for a dependent such as a child or elderly.
Household cleaning essentials
Studies on dirt, germs and viruses, including Coronavirus, have shown as it can be treated with ethanol, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite are effective in killing pathogens found in virus particles. Good news is, most commercial household cleaners can serve the purpose and kill the virus.
• A concentration of 0.5% in household bleach is good enough to treat the virus and disinfect the surfaces. Luckily, most bleach-based wipes have that much concentration so they can be used to disinfect the surfaces.
• Liquid bleaches have a higher concentration and they can be diluted before use, to make a concentration of 0.5%.
• Easy Bleach: This is an affordable bleach easily available in the supermarkets. A 750ml bottle can be bought for only 39p.
• Antibacterial All Purpose Surface Wipes: a pack of 200 wipes can be bought for just £2. A good tip is to keep them in the car so you can use it when other cleaning products are not available. For example, for wiping the grocery trolley before use or putting your hands on the handle to push it, or wiping the car door handle or steering wheel after coming back from shopping to disinfect the car’s surface.
• Flash with Bleach Multi-Surface Cleaner: this is a diluted chlorine-based product and is ideal for cleaning hard surfaces in your home. a bottle can be bought for only £1 from the Poundland.
• Dettol Hand Gel: any hand sanitiser or antibacterial gel can be used to clean hands and kill germs on the hands, these are especially good when you are out and about and water and soap are not easily available. This particular one claims to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on your hands.
How To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19
For us all, we need to do our bit to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s a contagious virus that can be transmitted easily, which is why it’s vital for us to all do our bit in preventing the spread of the virus.
There are a few ways that you can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To help make it easy, we’ve collated some of the most effective ways to help us all do our bit. See below for some quick and easy ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Keep Your Hands Washed
Washing your hands is a great way of tackling any harmful bacteria or viruses that live on your hands. During your day you’ll likely touch lots of different surfaces, such as:
• Door handles
• Light switches
• Grab handles
And many, many more. It’s impossible to count how many different surfaces you’ll touch in any given day, and just one of these surfaces needs to have traces of COVID-19 on for it to be spread. By keeping your hands washed during your day, you’ll help to kill off any traces of the virus and other harmful bacteria.
It’s recommended that you wash your hands once an hour for at least 20 seconds. To make it easier and fun for young ones, sing along to the ‘Happy Birthday’ theme twice. This is a good amount of time to ensure a thorough clean.
Use Hand Sanitiser
Hand sanitiser, especially one that is designed to kill off 99.9% of germs is a great defence against bacteria and viruses. There are occasions where you’ll have to touch a surface, from a door handle to the elevator buttons, so it’s important to give any germs the smallest amount of chance that they can survive on your hands.
If you can, purchase a hand sanitiser that comes in a small bottle so it’s readily available. This will help you to keep your hands clean throughout the day and gives you no delay in sanitising your hands when you need to.
Avoid Going Outside
If you need to make a journey somewhere that’s fine, but if not, stay indoors. Keeping indoors not only keeps you safe, but it keeps you from being able to spread the virus. Only under certain circumstances should you leave the house, such as:
• If you’re a key worker, heading to or from work
• If you’re going for some exercise (only once per day)
• If you’re going to the shops for food
• If you’re visiting a vulnerable person to help them.
It’s crucial to make sure that you only leave the house when it’s necessary. Going to meet friends or family for any reasons other than the above should not happen. If you’re going to a food shop, make sure to take a full list of everything you’ll need to make sure you get everything whilst you’re there.
When heading out in public, you can spread the virus to others without even realising it. Spreading the virus can reach those who are more vulnerable, which can risk lives. Stay at home as much as you can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Stay 2 Metres Apart
If you are in public for whatever reason, keep at least two metres apart from others. COVID-19 is primarily spread via respiratory droplets such as coughing or sneezing, therefore by keeping your distance from others, you can help to prevent the spread of the virus.
Keep Touching Surfaces to a Minimum
If you can avoid touching a surface, avoid it. COVID-19 is believed to live for up to several days on surfaces, which means that someone can leave traces of the virus before it’s picked up to another person days later.
This is another great reason to have some hand sanitiser with you if you can. If you need to touch a surface, such as a bannister or a grab handle, you can use the sanitiser to help remove any bacteria from your hands quickly and easily.
Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
Keeping your hands away from your face is a great way of preventing yourself from getting the virus and from spreading it. If you’ve touched a surface with minuscule traces of the virus, it can still make its way into your nose or mouth and subsequently infect you. By keeping your hands away from your face you’ll be able to prevent risks of yourself accidentally getting infected, therefore preventing you from spreading COVID-19.
Sanitise Your Home
If you live with other people, it’s especially important to keep your home cleaned and sanitised. You’ll need to make sure that all surfaces, especially the frequently touched ones, are cleaned and sanitised to help prevent any bacteria from living on them. Some of the common areas to clean are:
• Light switches
• Door handles
• Grab handles
If you think of all the areas in your home that you’ll commonly touch in your day, these are the most important areas to take a look at. It’s important to take special measures and use a certified sanitiser as these are proven to tackle and fight off any bacteria on the surfaces.
If someone in your home has touched a surface that has traces of the virus on, by sanitising these surfaces frequently helps to minimise and prevent the spread of COVID-19 around your home.
Be Mindful of Any Personal Belongings
If you’re out and about, you may reach for your wallet or purse, your keys or your phone quite frequently. If you’ve touched any surfaces you know might not have been sanitised, you should try touching these items until you’ve washed or sanitised your hands. This helps to minimise the risk of the virus coming into contact with your belongings, subsequently coming with you.
An important object to be mindful of is your mobile phone. As you’ll hold this against your face, it can pose a risk of transmitting the virus to you as you use the phone. Be mindful and use sanitising wipes on your phone if you feel there’s any chance that your phone could have come into contact with the virus.