Develop Your Plan To Stay Safe At Home & At Work
Evaluate your workplace, school, home, or business to determine what kinds of surfaces and materials make up that area. Most surfaces and objects will just need normal routine cleaning. Frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches and doorknobs will need to be cleaned and then disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects.
- First, clean the surface or object with soap and water.
- Then, disinfect using an EPA-approved disinfectant external icon.
- If an EPA-approved disinfectant is unavailable, you can use 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions to disinfect. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection for up to 24 hours. Find additional information at CDC’s website on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.
You should also consider what items can be moved or removed completely to reduce frequent handling or contact from multiple people. Soft and porous materials, such as area rugs and seating, may be removed or stored to reduce the challenges with cleaning and disinfecting them. Find additional reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting in the Reopening Decision Tools.
It is critical that your plan includes how to maintain a cleaning and disinfecting strategy after reopening. Develop a flexible plan with your staff or family, adjusting the plan as federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local guidance is updated and if your specific circumstances change.
Determine what needs to be cleaned
Some surfaces only need to be cleaned with soap and water. For example, surfaces and objects that are not frequently touched should be cleaned and do not require additional disinfection. Additionally, disinfectants should typically not be applied on items used by children, especially any items that children might put in their mouths. Many disinfectants are toxic when swallowed. In a household setting, cleaning toys and other items used by children with soap and water is usually sufficient. Find more information on cleaning and disinfection toys and other surfaces in the childcare program setting at CDC’s Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open.
These questions will help you decide which surfaces and objects will need normal routine cleaning.
Is the area outdoors?
Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on sidewalks and in parks is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas.
The targeted use of disinfectants can be done effectively, efficiently, and safely on outdoor hard surfaces and objects frequently touched by multiple people. Certain outdoor areas and facilities, such as bars and restaurants, may have additional requirements. More information can be found on the FDA’s website on Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) external icon.
There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly to humans from water in pools, hot tubs or spas, or water play areas. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (for example, with chlorine or bromine) of pools, hot tubs or spas, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there are additional concerns with outdoor areas that may be maintained less frequently, including playgrounds, or other facilities located within local, state, or national parks. For more information, visit the CDC’s website on Visiting Parks & Recreational Facilities.
Has the area been unoccupied for the last 7 days?
If your workplace, school, or business has been unoccupied for 7 days or more, it will only need your normal routine cleaning to reopen the area. This is because the virus that causes COVID-19 has not been shown to survive on surfaces longer than this time.
There are many public health considerations, not just COVID-19 related when reopening public buildings and spaces that have been closed for extended periods.