COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfecting: Are they the same thing?
At Pasadena Villa, we continue to be COVID-19 free, demonstrating the virus can be managed if we remain diligent in following recommended health and safety guidelines to keep our environment clean and disinfected. More importantly, we want to share this information so you can bring these best practices into your home.
Sanitizing our homes and high-touch surfaces to bacteria and viruses that may be present is one protective measure we are all dedicating more time to. Think about how you are cleaning, is there a way you should be cleaning to eliminate bacteria and germs? The answer is yes. Today, more than ever, we need to understand how to properly clean for it to be effective.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cleaning of surfaces followed by disinfection is the best practice to prevent COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households. While you may think cleaning and disinfecting are the same thing, they are not. Let’s take a closer look.
- Cleaning: The removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning removes debris and lowers the risk of spreading infection, but it does not kill germs.
- Disinfecting:Using EPA recommended products kills germs on surfaces but does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces. When you disinfect a surface after cleaning you are further lowering the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfectants are put through a strict testing process by the Environmental Protection Agency to determine their effectiveness of killing bacteria and viruses. These tests use a higher concentration of germs than found in the typical home. It is important to read the product label to understand what types of viruses and bacteria have been tested. The EPA has published a list of products recommended to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and these products have been tested against harder-to-kill viruses or other types of the coronavirus.
How do I clean and disinfect properly?
Before you begin, read the label of your product for proper instructions. Many times, we will give a surface a quick spray, followed by a quick wipe, but you may not be allowing enough time for the product to effectively kill bacteria and viruses. Each product has a different time and it could range from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and some bacteria and viruses can be harder to eliminate than others.
Another important note, you can use the same disinfectant wipe for multiple surfaces if it remains wet, meaning it still contains cleaner and is not spreading organisms. When it becomes dry, dispose, and use a new wipe. However, experts agree that you should change wipes when cleaning another room, for example, use a different wipe to clean the surfaces in the bathroom versus the kitchen.
The CDC has published the recommended way to properly clean and disinfect households from bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19.
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
- Clean surface with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection, to reduce the number of germs and dirt on the surface.
- To disinfect, the most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for a period (see product label), wearing gloves, and having proper ventilation during the use of the product. Diluted household bleach solution (5 tablespoons bleach per one gallon of water) may also be uses if appropriate for the surface and should remain on the surface for at least one minute. Diluted bleach solution is effective for disinfection up to 24 hours
Soft Surfaces (carpets, rugs, drapes)
- Clean surface with soap and water or appropriate cleaner.
- Launder items (if possible) according to manufacturer’s instructions, using the warmest appropriate water settings and dry item completely. Or disinfect with EPA-registered household disinfectant.
- Vacuum as usual, if appropriate.
- Consider using a wipeable cover on electronics
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. If there is no guidance, use an alcohol-based or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.
Cleaning and disinfecting your home are only one way to help eliminate the spread of bacteria and viruses. Additionally, it is important to protect yourself and others by properly washing your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
- If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
- Additional key times to clean hands include:
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After using the restroom
- Before eating or preparing food
- After contact with animals or pets
- Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
- Touching surfaces shared by others
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Cleaning and Disinfecting at Pasadena Villa
At Pasadena Villa, we understand the importance of keeping each of our facilities clean and free from harmful bacteria and viruses. We are vigilantly cleaning and disinfecting frequently handled and common high-touch surfaces within shared spaces using the recommended products. Additionally, we are increasing sanitizing rounds for housekeeping and partnering with our clients to ensure their rooms and houses are being properly disinfected. Each member of our staff is following the CDC recommended 20-second rule for handwashing before entering any client occupied areas, before and after meals, each encounter, and whenever by a sink. We have also expanded access to alcohol-based hand sanitizers throughout our campuses. We understand the importance of adhering to healthcare universal precaution measures and are doing our part to minimize exposure by following the CDC guidelines and recommendations of the local.
Additionally, we are practicing and encouraging others to social distance, wear masks, wash your hands, and not touch their face and mouth. We remain diligent in using standard and COVID-19 precautions to reduce fear, increase competence and readiness to remain accessible in helping clients through the recovery process.