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14 steps to make sure you live in a COVID-free home

COVID 19 free home clean disinfect tips Zolo

A new study shows that COVID-19 can survive on shoes. While this raises concerns about the footwear worn by hospital staff, it’s also a reminder as to why non-essential travel and trips outside of the home must be treated with reverence and respect. 

While research continues to show that the virus is predominantly spread through respiratory droplets (usually through coughing and sneezing), recent studies show that these infected droplets can contaminate other substances, which can help with community transmission of the virus. 

The latest study, from the researchers from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, examined swab samples from 39 coronavirus patients at Huoshenshan Hospital, in Wuhan, China (the epicentre of the virus). The researchers took swab samples from computer mice, the floors, waste and soiled bins, sickened handrails, patient masks, personal protective equipment and the shoes of medical staff.

The results revealed that the floor contained relatively high levels of the virus. The study also revealed that this contamination was then transferred to other areas of the hospital, such as the pharmacy, where no infected patients were present. 

Based on the findings, the researchers are urging medical staff to regularly wash and disinfect their shoes.

COVID 19 can survive on shoes

Additional reading to help homeowners and renters during the COVID-19 outbreak:

If you’re worried about contaminating surfaces in your home with the coronavirus, there are a few simple steps you can take: 

After being out and about and once you arrive home, here are 5 steps to take to remove the chance of contaminating your home with coronavirus: 

  1. As soon as you return home, remove your shoes and outer jacket then disinfect all shoe soles if you’ve been in a communal or crowded area, such as a grocery store, or if you’ve returned from a medical facility. Once complete, immediately wash your hands with soap and water. 
  2. When out, try to use automatic doors, use elbows to push buttons and, if automation isn’t available either use gloves (if this reminds you not to touch your face afterwards) or remember to wash your hands before touching anything else. 
  3. If, while you were out, people around you were not adhering to the social distancing norms (staying six-feet away) then put the clothes you wore in the wash as soon as you get home. 
  4. Do not shake your clothes out. The virus is dormant until it becomes activated (by coming into contact with our mucous membranes). You cannot kill the virus by ‘shaking it’ but you could end up transferring infected droplet to another surface.
  5. To kill the virus you need to attack its fatty outer-shell and the best method of doing this is through soap and water. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the best method is to wash clothes in warm to hot water with soap. And the hotter the water, the better. The CDC says that temperatures above 75 degree Celsius can kill most flu-causing viruses. 

Even if you haven’t left or rarely leave your home, take these 9 steps to remove the chance of COVID-contamination in your home: 

norovirus prevention Clean disinfect home COVID 19 Zolo
  1. Clean high-use areas, such as doorknobs, TV remotes, light switches, dining tables, countertops, sinks, faucet handles and cell phones on a regular basis (either daily or a few times per day).
  2. When possible, use disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. If that’s not possible, use reusable gloves, but dedicate these gloves to COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting. Do not use them for other purposes (such as washing dishes). Remember, even after wearing gloves, wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning. 
  3. If surfaces are dirty, wash with soap first, before disinfecting the area
  4. You can wash your clothes by machine or by hand. However, make sure that you wash your hands after you handle dirty clothes.
  5. Unless you work or visit a highly contaminated location on a regular basis, you don’t have to wash your clothes immediately, but do store dirty clothes in a hamper or clean bag until laundry day and wash hands after transferring dirty clothes to the washing machine. 
  6. Wash your linens often, as well. The virus can live on fabric up to 24 hours, depending on the “environmental conditions [such as] temperature and humidity [which] impact the growth of the virus,” explains infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland in an interview with Health.
  7. Remember to dry items completely, whenever possible.
  8. Consider wiping down or disinfecting any material that comes into the home (or leaving it out for 24-hours or longer). A recent study by Neeltje van Doremalen, a virologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and her colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, found that the lifespan of the virus on different surfaces ranged from 24 hours on cardboard to 48 or 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.
  9. For soft (porous) surfaces, such as carpets, rugs or drapes, clean with appropriate cleaners and allow it to dry completely. (To find a cleaner, go to the EPA site.)

When cleaning, remember to use gloves — ordinary dish gloves work, just don’t reuse for other tasks — and be sure you’re using a virus-killing cleaner. That means vinegar and off-the-shelf Vodka won’t cut it, but here’s what does work: 

  • Bleach solutions (5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water);
  • Alcohol-based cleaners with at least 70% alcohol;
  • Hydrogen peroxide.
  • Household disinfectants like Clorox and Lysol.Wear gloves when cleaning. 

If you’re not already using these practical tips now’s a good time to start.

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including CBC.ca, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards.