GUIDANCE FOR CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PUBLIC SPACES, WORKPLACES, BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, AND HOMES
CS316485C April 28, 2020 1:36 PM
This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Reopening the country also strongly relies on public health strategies, including increased testing of people for the virus, disinfection practices, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people. This plan is part of the larger United States Government plan and focuses on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and can also be applied to your home.
Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces including your workplace, school, home, and business will require you to: • Develop your plan • Implement your plan • Maintain and revise your plan
Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning. Every American has been called upon to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing, disinfection strategies, and prevention hygiene, such as frequently washing your hands and wearing face coverings. Everyone also has a role in making sure our communities are as safe as possible to reopen and remain open.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed if you use the right products. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Each product has been shown to be effective against viruses that are harder to kill than viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.
SCANGUIDANCE FOR CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PUBLIC SPACES, WORKPLACES, BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, AND HOMES
This document provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. The framework is based on doing the following: 1. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure. 2. Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 will also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important. 3. When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together--this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
Links to specific recommendations for many public spaces that use this framework, can be found at the end of this document. It’s important to continue to follow federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local guidance for reopening America.
A Few Important Reminders about Coronaviruses and Reducing the Risk of Exposure: • Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects. • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection. • Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, you can further lower the risk of spreading infection. EPA-approved disinfectants are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. If disinfectants on this list are in short supply, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). But please remember bleach alters color and is highly toxic. • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together--this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. • Do not overuse or stockpile disinfectants or other supplies. This can result in shortages of appropriate products for others to use in critical situations. • Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed based on setting and product. For more information, see CDC’s website on Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities. • Practice social distancing, wear facial coverings, and follow proper prevention hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and using alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
If you oversee staff in a workplace, your plan should include considerations about the safety of custodial staff and other people who are carrying out the cleaning or disinfecting. These people are at increased risk of being exposed to the virus and to any toxic effects of the cleaning chemicals. These staff should wear appropriate PPE for cleaning and disinfecting. To protect your staff and to ensure that the products are used effectively, staff should be instructed on how to apply the disinfectants according to the label.
IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN Once you have a plan, it’s time to take action. Read all manufacturer’s instructions for the cleaning and disinfection products you will use. Put on your gloves and other required personal protective equipment (PPE) to begin the process of cleaning and disinfecting.
Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water Clean surfaces and objects using soap and water prior to disinfection. Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs. When you finish cleaning, remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean or launder soft and porous materials like seating in an office or coffee shop, area rugs, and carpets. Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the warmest temperature setting possible and dry items completely.
Use the appropriate cleaning or disinfectant product EPA approved disinfectants, when applied according to the manufacturer’s label, are effective for use against COVID-19. Follow the instructions on the label for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, dilution, application method, contact time and any other special considerations when applying.
Always follow the directions on the label Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many product labels recommend keeping the surface wet for a specific amount of time. The label will also list precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
MAINTAIN AND REVISE YOUR PLAN Take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 during daily activities. CDC provides tips to reduce your exposure and risk of acquiring COVID-19. Reducing exposure to yourself and others is a shared responsibility. Continue to update your plan based on updated guidance and your current circumstances.
Continue routine cleaning and disinfecting Routine cleaning and disinfecting are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water alone can reduce risk of exposure and is a necessary step before you disinfect dirty surfaces.
Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, desks, phones, light switches, and faucets, should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. For example, certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.
Consider choosing a different disinfectant if your first choice is in short supply. Make sure there is enough supply of gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the label, the amount of product you will need to apply, and the size of the surface you are treating.
Maintain safe behavioral practices We have all had to make significant behavioral changes to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To reopen America, we will need to continue these practices:
• social distancing (specifically, staying 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space) • frequently washing hands or use alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available • wearing cloth face coverings • avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth • staying home when sick • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
It’s important to continue to follow federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local guidance for reopening America. Check this resource for updates on COVID-19. This will help you change your plan when situations are updated.
Consider practices that reduce the potential for exposure It is also essential to change the ways we use public spaces to work, live, and play. We should continue thinking about our safety and the safety of others.
To reduce your exposure to or the risk of spreading COVID-19 after reopening your business or facility, consider whether you need to touch certain surfaces or materials. Consider wiping public surfaces before and after you touch them. These types of behavioral adjustments can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There are other resources for more information on COVID-19 and how to Prevent Getting Sick.
Another way to reduce the risk of exposure is to make long-term changes to disinfecting practices and procedures. These could include reducing the use of porous materials used for seating, leaving some doors open to reduce touching by multiple people, opening windows to improve ventilation, or removing objects in your common areas, like coffee creamer containers. There are many other steps that businesses and institutions can put into place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect their staff and the public. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together using recommended best practices and maintaining safe daily habits in order to reduce our risk of exposure to COVID-19. Remember: We’re all in this together!
Additional resources with more specific recommendations.