This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Reopening the country also strongly relies on public health strategies, including increased testing of people for the virus, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people. This plan is part of the larger United States Government plan external icon and focuses on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and can also be applied to your home.
Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces including your workplace, school, home, and business will require you to:
- Develop your plan
- Implement your plan
- Maintain and revise your plan
Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning. Every American has been called upon to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing and prevention hygiene, such as frequently washing your hands and wearing masks. Everyone also has a role in making sure our communities are as safe as possible to reopen and remain open.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed if you use the right products. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Each product has been shown to be effective against viruses that are harder to kill than viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.
This document provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. The framework is based on doing the following:
- Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
- Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 external iconcan also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.
- When EPA-approved disinfectantsexternal icon are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. Read EPA’s infographic on how to use these disinfectant productsexternal icon safely and effectively.
Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.
- Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
- Ensure adequate ventilation
- Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
- Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
- Avoid mixing chemical products
- Label diluted cleaning solutions
- Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets
You should never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products or any other products that are not approved for animal use.
Special considerations should be made for people with asthma and they should not be present when cleaning and disinfecting is happening as this can trigger asthma exacerbations. Learn more about reducing asthma triggers.
Links to specific recommendations for many public spaces that use this framework, can be found at the end of this document.
It’s important to continue to follow federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local guidance for reopening America.