Every day around the world right now, somebody somewhere is hearing the scary news that they have COVID-19.
This also means that there are lots of questions about how to disinfect your home after a loved one has recovered.
What should you do first, or next? Is there any way to make such an enormous cleaning task easier?
In this post, we tackle your frequently asked questions about safe sanitation and disinfecting practices for your HVAC and home after exposure to COVID-19.
How Do You Know It Is Time to Disinfect After COVID-19 Outbreak?
One of the most pressing questions many of our customers have is simply this: how will you know the immediate threat has passed and it is time to disinfect your home?
If the threat is that of exposure, COVID-19 is known to have a 14-day incubation period. So if, on day 15, no symptoms have appeared, it may not be necessary to undertake any special cleaning and disinfecting procedures unless you feel so inclined.
For full-blown cases of COVID-19, obviously the ideal is to have the patient tested and use the test results to make the decision about when the danger has passed.
Unfortunately, access to testing continues to be erratic. Sometimes there are plenty of tests and sometimes the health centres run out of tests.
If Testing For COVID-19 Is Not Available
If testing is not available, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using these criteria to assess whether COVID-19 has run its course:
- When there is no fever for at least 72 hours (without using medication for this purpose).
- When there is a marked improvement in respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath.
- When it has been at least 10 days since symptoms were first noted.
If Testing For COVID-19 Is Available
If testing is available, the CDC recommends having two separate tests scheduled 24 hours apart. Both tests must come back negative for the patient to be in the clear.
How to Disinfect Your Home After COVID-19 Outbreak
Once you feel certain your loved one is on the mend and you are ready to tackle the house cleaning process, be sure to follow any specific guidelines your physician gives you.
In addition to those guidelines, use these tips to disinfect, sanitize and clean your home after COVID-19.
Be sure to wear clean personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves and mask while following these steps.
SAFETY NOTE: Health Canada is reporting a 103 percent increase in calls to poison control hotlines from home accidents involving cleaning products!
1. Wash all bedding, towels, linens and clothing in hot water.
The first step is to start washing everything in hot water and then drying each load on the hot cycle.
Make sure you keep clean dry laundry isolated from items still waiting to be washed.
2. Disinfect the entire area where the ill person has been living.
Your next step is to clean and disinfect the room and bathroom used by the ill person. Pay special attention to frequent “common use” surfaces and areas like light switches, door knobs, faucets, shower knobs and commode levers.
3. Move through your home and disinfect all common use surfaces and areas.
This next step can take some time. In order to avoid doubling your work, complete one room at a time before moving on to the next.
For commonly used and touched soft items like toys, throw blankets and pillows, couch cushions etc., wash everything washable and consider discarding what cannot be washed.
For hard items in shared areas, such as remote controls, electronics and toys, disinfect each one carefully.
4. Discard all waste, including used cleaning supplies, dryer and vacuum lint, PPE and garbage and take out the trash.
Once you are finished cleaning and disinfecting, dispose of everything you cannot disinfect and re-use safely.
How to Disinfect Your HVAC After COVID-19
Even once you have completed the basic cleaning and disinfecting process, there is still a risk of airborne recontamination from your HVAC system.
It is true that some health agencies continue to say airborne transmission outside of social distancing guidelines is not a risk.
But more frequently now, health agencies are saying airborne transmission at distances of greater than six feet is not a significant risk (which is not the same as saying there is no risk).
This means that for the greatest amount of protection, it is smart to look further than just shared belongings and surfaces for where active virus droplets may still be hiding inside your home.
Here is what we recommend to our concerned customers:
1. Change your air filter and securely discard the old air filter.
It is quite possible that droplets are clinging to particles trapped in your HVAC air filter.
Be sure to wear your PPE when removing the old filter and installing the new filter.
2. Clean all air registers and exhaust vents, ceiling and floor fans.
You will also want to clean and disinfect all the air registers and exhaust vents and fans in your home at the same time you change your HVAC air filter.
Read our full blog post about disinfecting your HVAC system for more information.
3. Schedule an indoor air duct cleaning.
The use of negative vacuum pressure as an air cleaning measure is now standard procedure at COVID-19 patient centres.
A professional indoor air duct cleaning uses negative pressure to remove all trapped particles inside your air ducts safely and securely.
Get in Touch With Shipton’s Technicians
HVAC, electrical and plumbing have all been deemed essential services during the stay at home order here in Ontario.
Right now, upgrade your air conditioning in time for summer and Shipton’s will donate $25 to the Hamilton Food Share program.
Give us a call at 1-905-549-4616 or visit us online if we can be of service to you during this difficult time