Community facilities such as schools, daycare centers, and businesses comprise most non-healthcare settings that are visited by the general public outside of a household.
Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. But by removing the germs, it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting works by using chemicals, for example EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available hereexternaliconFollow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.
For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines, remove visible contamination if present.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry
In order to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hand Hygiene
The risk of exposure to cleaning staff is inherently low. Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.
Gloves and gowns should be compatible with the disinfectant products being used.
Additional PPE might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area. Be sure to clean hands after removing gloves.
If gowns are not available, coveralls, aprons or work uniforms can be worn during cleaning and disinfecting. Reusable (washable) clothing should be laundered afterwards. Clean hands after handling dirty laundry.
Gloves should be removed after cleaning a room or area occupied by ill persons. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
Cleaning staff should immediately report breaches in PPE such as a tear in gloves or any other potential exposures to their supervisor.
Cleaning staff and others should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
Follow normal preventive actions while at work and home, including cleaning hands and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.