Cleaning is in overdrive as we all try to protect ourselves against the Coronavirus. While you may be cleaning all of the big items in your house, like countertops and door handles, certain “high-touch” items are big germ carriers you may be forgetting. Here’s what you need to know about cleaning methods and frequency.
It’s important to know there’s a difference between cleaning those high-touch areas and disinfecting them. When you clean them, you’re not killing germs, but you are removing dirt and germs. This lowers the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. When you kill germs on a surface after cleaning, it lowers the risk of spreading infection.
High-Touch Items Requiring Coronavirus Cleaning
This is the big one. Whether you’re scrolling through your feeds or texting friends, your phone is definitely a high-touch item. You can’t immerse the phone in a cleaning solution nor should you spray it down. Instead, you can take a Clorox wipe and clean it or use wipes with 70% alcohol.
Apple advises wringing out any disinfecting wipes before using them on your phone. Google suggests using a microfiber cleaning cloth to clean your phone. Google says you can dip the cloth in soap and water as long as you don’t get a lot of moisture on your phone. Samsung is offering a free phone-sanitizing service using UV lights. This is available in Samsung stores and service centers.
Since you’re probably using your phone a lot, you should clean your phone at least once a day, if not more.
Keyboard & Mouse
Since many people are working from home, the keyboard and computer mouse have become a high-traffic area. The best way to clean these is with a lint-free microfiber cloth that is lightly dampened with water.
Don’t use any harsh cleaning products. A Clorox wipe should be fine. Try not to get any moisture into any of the openings on the keyboard. If there’s some gunk in between the keys, use a can of compressed air to clean that area. Keyboard and mouse cleaning should be on your daily to-do list.
Steering Wheel, Gear Shift and Seatbelts
Although you’re probably not in your car as much as usual, you should still be mindful of cleaning high-touch areas like your steering wheel, gear shift, and seatbelt. With items in your car, you want to be sure that the disinfectants that you’re using aren’t going to harm the surfaces.
Since cleaners that contain at least 70% alcohol are effective against coronavirus, you’ll want to use those types of cleaners in your car. Read the label to make sure it is safe for the material you’re using it on. Bleach and hydrogen peroxide shouldn’t be used to clean things in your car. Also, avoid used ammonia-based cleaners on any touch screens because they can damage any anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
If you’re in your car every day, then you should wipe down surfaces daily.
Toilet Flush Lever
While you’re probably cleaning your toilet seat and sink in your bathroom, you may be forgetting to clean your toilet flush lever. That’s definitely a high-touch surface. You’ll want to disinfect this with a Clorox wipe or other disinfectant that you’re using on other parts of your house. This should also be on your daily cleaning list.
Dining Room Chairs, Keys, Remote Controls, Credit Cards and More Items
Since everyone is eating more meals at home, you need to clean the backs of your dining room or kitchen chairs. Everyone has their hands on the chairs as they’re pulling them towards the table. This is another surface that you can tackle with a Clorox wipe or disinfectant sprayed on a paper towel or cloth. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s not going to harm the material or fabric on your chair.
Not to be left out — keys, be they for your home, car, mailbox, etc. First, remove things like key fobs or plastic keychains that may be harmed by liquids. Scrub keys in a soap and water mixture. A clean, dedicated toothbrush can be helpful here. Follow-up with a disinfectant wipe.
Remote controls can be wiped down with disinfectant wipes. Consider spraying with canned air if the keys/buttons appear to have dust or crumbs stuck in crevices.
As for credit and ATM cards, there’s always the risk of demagnetizing them during the cleaning process. So if you’re nervous about using disinfectant cleaners or soap and water, CreditCards.com suggests being vigilant about washing your hands whenever using cards.
Keeping these high-touch areas on your daily cleaning to-do list can help to keep your family safe and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.