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Keeping your home clean is always important, but it’s especially critical now, while we’re dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Surfaces that you and your family frequently touch can harbor the virus for varying amounts of time. Here are some tips to clean and disinfect your home and keep your family healthy.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
Cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. Cleaning is the process of removing contaminants from a surface and disinfecting means killing pathogens. You should do both daily if several people touch surfaces in your home or if anyone leaves the house to go to work, shop or take care of others.

Surfaces You Should Clean and Disinfect Regularly
Focus on surfaces that you and other family members touch frequently. For example, counters, tables, chairs, cabinet and drawer handles, the microwave, doorknobs, light switches, toilet seats and handles, faucets, computers, phones, remote controls, video game controllers and toys your kids share should be cleaned daily.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures
Start by cleaning the surface with soap and water or a cleaning spray to remove any dirt, dust and other contaminants. Then use a disinfectant spray or wipes, isopropyl alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to eliminate any pathogens. Another option is to dilute household bleach with water, according to the instructions on the label.

Before using a product that contains bleach, check the expiration date and make sure it’s appropriate for the surface you want to clean. Soft surfaces, such as carpet, curtains and furniture upholstery, should be cleaned with a product designed for that type of surface or with soap and water.

Read the product’s label. Manufacturers often recommend spraying a surface and leaving it wet for several minutes to give the product enough time to kill pathogens.

The best way to clean devices such as your cell phone is to use disinfecting wipes. If your phone has a case, remove it so you can clean the device and the case thoroughly. Don’t use disinfecting wipes to clean your laptop or desktop screens, since those products might cause damage. Instead, use isopropyl alcohol and a soft towel.

How to Stay Safe When Cleaning and Disinfecting
Wear disposable gloves so the product you use doesn’t damage or dry out your skin. When using bleach or any product that contains it, make sure the area is well ventilated. Never combine household bleach or any product that contains bleach with any other type of cleaner. That could produce toxic fumes.

Protect Your Family
People everywhere are stressed out about the coronavirus. Instead of giving in to fear, do what you can to keep yourself and your family safe. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you touch frequently can help you stay healthy. This is especially important if anyone in your family is infected or may have come into contact with someone who is infected.