It’s currently on everyone’s mind…and I’m not talking about the weekend or pizza…something much less exciting in fact, the Coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2.
While it is unknown where this epidemic will go and for how long, we can’t all stay inside forever and it’s understandably scary, especially in New York where we have to be around people every day, lots of people.
But because you can’t hole up in your apartment and surgical masks aren’t going to do you any good, now is the time to go all in on prevention.
As a cleaning company, we naturally get a lot of questions regarding prevention, so we have some great tips to ensure that you protect yourselves and your family during an uneasy time. The common theme you will notice among the tips that follow is all about method. It is critical that you are using these prevention methods in the correct way for them to be effective.
1. Surface sanitization
It goes without saying that during times when people are more likely to get sick, sanitization of high-touch areas in your home and workplace are paramount. That being said, the types of products that will be most effective in prevention of the Coronavirus are not necessarily the same ones you would use during say, a normal flu season.
Not all cleaning products are created equal! Cleaning products go through rigorous testing and must pass certain guidelines to be effective against certain strains of bacteria, viruses, etc. This means that you could spray your Method cleaner for example all day and night and never kill one single virus but think that you are sanitizing because you’re doing it often.
Unfortunately there are no products on the market that are proven to kill Coronavirus, despite the claims that some may make to pray on consumer fear. That being said, the EPA has come up with strict guidelines to determine which products have been proven to be effective against similar viruses – the Emerging Pathogen Policy.
Any product you choose to use, must meet these guidelines to be considered to have a high probability of effectiveness. Luckily, Clorox does have a few such products, including their very popular wipes, which you can read more about here.
Aside from choosing the right product, the other critical factor contributing to effectiveness is dwell time (amount of time for the product to be effective in killing bacteria / viruses).
Clorox wipes for example, require a dwell time of 4 minutes in order to be effective! That’s much longer than you might think. Make sure that when wiping any surface with a product like this you let it sit and allow to air dry for at least 4 minutes. Wiping the surface dry before then will eliminate its effectiveness.
Make sure that you read the proper dwell time for the product that you are using so that you can ensure its effectiveness!
Ok, this understandably seems like a bit of a throw away tip, but it’s not because it’s the best prevention and people simply just don’t do it the right way! It doesn’t matter how often you wash your hands, if you’re only doing so for 10 seconds, you might as well not even bother.
So how to do it properly?
· Prepare two towels before beginning especially if towels are inside of a dispenser (so you’re not touching a dirty dispenser with clean hands). If there are hand dryers, skip this step.
· Wash for at least 20 seconds (about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday at a regular pace)
· Scrub your hands together with soap and water – tops, bottoms and under fingernails too
· When you finish grab your towel with water still running and dry your hands. Use your dirty towel to turn off the faucet.
· Take your other towel and use it to open the bathroom door so that your clean hands do not make contact. If there are hand dryers, you may be out of luck here unless the door can be pushed open. In this case, cover your hand and use your shirt as the next best thing or grab a piece of toilet paper or tissue. The key here is to never touch any surfaces inside the bathroom with clean hands or they will be re-contaminated.
3. Hand Sanitizing
Secondary to handwashing is hand sanitizing. If you can’t use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer but follow these guidelines for effectiveness:
· Sanitizer must be at least 70% alcohol content
· Coat your hands and rub them together just as you would if you were washing with soap and water.
· Allow them to air dry. While it can be tempting to wipe them dry with something after you’ve coated them in sanitizer, resist the urge as this will reduce the effectiveness – sanitizer requires 30 seconds of dwell time (amount of time for the product to be effective in killing bacteria / viruses) so let them marinate and don’t wipe off!
Even though a spreading virus can be scary, prevention is actually simpler than you might think. Following these tips above will go a very long way in keeping yourself and your family safe and healthy – just remember, method, dwell time and the right products and make sure you are sanitizing yourself and spaces that you inhabit, frequently.