Coronavirus cleaning: Do you need to disinfect your home and shopping items?

new evidence has emerged that the public will need to take extra precautions when handling their groceries and shopping
The new novel coronavirus has meant that the Government has had to put restrictions on the public’s activities. This has meant that the public has been urged to stay at home with the exception of leaving the house for medical care, exercise and food shopping.

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is through the recommended use and practices of hand sanitisers and diligent hand hygiene. This means that the public need to consistently and constantly disinfect their hands to prevent further transmission of the disease.

However, leaving your home and shopping for groceries carries with it extra risk.

Think about it, not only are you in close proximity to other shoppers and people, but the products you place in your basket have likely been handled by others, sneezed or coughed on.

This does not mean you should not venture to supermarkets or shops, as this isn’t something easily avoidable by the majority of the public.

Online delivery slots are full up as all of the major supermarkets and online retailers are facing huge demands causing major shortages.

Not only this, but it was discovered last week that Amazon was forced to close some of its major distribution centres due to packages testing positive for traces of COVID-19.

Charlotte Baker, assistant professor of epidemiology states: “Touch just the items you intend to buy, wipe down the cart or basket handles with disinfectant wipes, and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser when you’re done”.

It does mean, however, that the public need to take extra care when handling their groceries and ensuring that their home is safe from the virus.

Disinfecting everything: coronavirus home cleaning tips

  1. Disinfect surfaces you come into contact with such as doorknobs, faucets, toilets (seat and handle), light switch, all surfaces, tables and counters, TV remotes.
  2. First clean the items then disinfect them – you can do this by applying soap then using an appropriate disinfectant. Buy one here.
  3. Wash clothes and laundry on a higher temperature – disinfect where the laundry comes into contact with your home and even your laundry hamper after use
  4. Disinfect packages with wipes
  5. As all your devices are magnets for germs (laptops, computers, mobiles, tablets), it’s important to also clean these regularly (daily)

Surfaces can play a huge part in transmitting the disease new research shows. It has arisen that some surfaces can pose a greater threat than others. For example, the virus is still detectable on both plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours.

Do you need to disinfect your groceries?

It’s not entirely clean the role and impact of coronavirus being transmitted via food packaging. However, the World Health Organisation maintains that people can still catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces.

New evidence has emerged that the virus is detectable on cardboard for more than 24 hours – making hand hygiene more important than ever. This means if your groceries have not been disinfected and you touch your face, eyes or mouth then you are at risk of picking up coronavirus.

The biggest concern is coming into contact with someone sick or carrying the disease. It is therefore highly advised to keep your distance from members, not in your household and to use hand sanitiser leaving and entering your home and making contact with items outside your house.

Worried about keeping your hands? Here’s where you can get hand sanitiser with 70% alcohol content despite the shortages.

How to clean your groceries:

  1. Disinfect your hands with hand sanitiser after unpacking and putting away your groceries
  2. Do not touch your face, mouth or eyes
  3. Wipe or wash cash and boxed foods
  4. Throw away any disposable packaging and store in something clean
  5. Once done, clean down all surfaces, tables and countertops that have been in contact with your groceries or shopping bags
  6. Disinfect hands again

More extreme measures for the vulnerable include:

  • Leaving food in a garage or porch for 72 hours to ensure the virus is inactive
  • Set up a cleaning station to avoid contamination of surfaces and other food
  • Wipe down all packaging with disinfectant before putting groceries away
  • Discard packaging
  • Scrub fruit and veg for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (but rinse completely from soap after using)