Deep cleaning your home: Preventing the spread of germs

We might not be in lockdown anymore but the war against coronavirus is ongoing. Many of us are still looking into the best ways to deep clean our homes and battle the germs.

Find out everything you need to know about coronavirus cleaning with our guide.

Person deep cleaning kitchen surface with spray

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It's safe to say that a lot of us don't like housework. But now more than ever it's important to keep our homes germ free. 

And coronavirus aside, it’s a good idea to keep your home in good condition. If you don’t look after your home you could invalidate your home insurance policy.

With all the information out there, it can be confusing to know which products to use and how often we should be using them.

Here's what you need to know.

 

Which areas should I prioritise?

To stop the spread of germs it’s important to focus on the items in your home that get touched the most, for example:

  • TV remotes
  • Light switches
  • Taps
  • Door handles, fridges and other appliances you use regularly
  • Buttons and dials on appliances
  • Keyboards, laptops, tablets and phones (you might want to consider specialist screen wipes)
  • Food preparation areas
  • Surfaces.

 

How do I prepare my house for deep cleaning?

Spending some time de-cluttering your home before you start a deep clean is a good idea. With less clutter around your house you’ll find it much easier and quicker to get to the serious business of germ-busting.

You may want to incorporate deep-cleaning into your monthly maintenance checks

 

Deep cleaning kit list

Here are some products you can use to get your home ship-shape and shiny:

PRODUCT WHERE TO BUY IT
dettol surface cleanser
Dettol surface cleanser
Ecover all purpose cleaner
Ecover all-purpose cleaner
Check prices on Amazon
Fairy liquid
Fairy liquid
Check prices on Amazon
Micro fibre cloths
Microfibre cloths
Check prices on Amazon
Biodegradable wipes
Biodegradable surface wipes
Check prices on Amazon
Zooflora disinfectant
Zoflora multi-purpose disinfectant
Check prices on Amazon
Persil bio detergent
Persil biological washing powder
Check prices on Amazon
Soda crystals
Dri-Pak multi-purpose soda crystals
Check prices on Amazon
Bicarbonate of soda
Dri-Pak bicarbonate of soda
Check prices on Amazon

 

How often should I clean?

How long coronavirus lives on surfaces varies between 24 and 72 hours, depending on the surface.

To gauge how often to clean, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine recommends monitoring a well-used room in your house.

Note how often the room’s door handles, surfaces or appliances get touched in an hour. If you notice they get touched or used a lot, it might be worth cleaning them more than once a day.

This is particularly important if you have someone vulnerable living with you.

If you've just moved, deep-cleaning your house should also be part of your moving house checklist

Or if you're a landlord and don't want to fork out for a cleaning firm, you should deep-clean before new tenants move in. 

 

Do I need special products?

You don’t need specialist cleaning products to kill coronavirus. Usual household products like soap and/or disinfectants will work a treat when getting rid of germs.

But how do cleaning products like soaps and detergents kill coronavirus? Without getting into the science too much, the weakest part of the virus cell is made up of a fatty part, known as a lipid.

Soap or detergent destroys the lipid and the cell breaks down, killing the virus.

So really, no special cleaning product is required. But the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine follow these guidelines for cleaning products:

  • If you’re using alcoholic solutions, they should be at least 70% alcohol. You can use diluted bleach or household disinfectants too.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s advice on what dilutions to use and make sure the product is still in date.

 

Other ways to reduce the spread of germs

Follow our deep cleaning checklist: 

Laundry

To prevent the spread of germs, wash your laundry on the hottest setting possible –  just check the labels on your clothes, as they might shrink if it’s too hot.

Don’t shake dirty laundry either, as shaking them could spread germs through the air.

Once the cycle is complete, hang out your clothes – outside if possible – until they’re completely dry.

Detergent-wise, use a powder rather than a liquid. Laundry powder contains oxygenated bleach which kills any unwanted germs.

Biological powders tend to contain more of this than non-biological powders.

Soft surfaces

Remove any visible dirt. Then vacuum, steam clean or wash with the correct detergent.

If you’re washing things like chair covers, make sure they’re fully dry before you put them back onto the soft furnishings.

Again, leaving them outside to dry in the sun is the best option.

Hygiene for cleaning utensils 

Germs can be carried on cleaning utensils, so it’s important to keep them clean as well.

Use different sponges or cloths in each area, as they can carry germs.

Using disposable wipes or paper towels will reduce the spread of germs , but look for the biodegradable option if possible.

If you don't want to use disposable wipes or you can’t get hold of them, you can wash your sponges and cloths at 60ºC or 140ºF after every use. This is easily done by putting them in the dishwasher along with your washing up brush.

Waste disposal

As we said earlier, no one yet really knows how long the virus lives on a surface.

If you’re throwing away cleaning wipes or old tissues, the government advises that you put the waste into one bin bag, tie it, then put that into a second bin bag.

You should keep this separate from your regular household waste for 72 hours.

 

Do anti-bacterial products work against coronavirus?

Anti-bacterial products are precisely that – anti-bacterial. COVID-19 is a virus, which means anti-bacterial products won’t be as effective.

To have any effect on the coronavirus, anti-bacterial products should contain at least 70% alcohol.

But everyday soaps, bleach and the normal detergent should do the job just as well. 

 

I’m living with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, what should I clean?

In this case it’s a good idea to deep clean your house as often as you can to prevent the virus from spreading.

Again, focus on the high traffic areas and clean these as much as you feel is necessary. This can be every few hours.

Pay attention to the bathroom too. If the person you’re living with has used the bath or shower, deep clean it with disinfectant.

Use separate towels and wash them at a high temperature  using laundry detergent. For more advice on self-isolation, take a look at the government website.

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