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How to Effectively Clean your Home or Business to Help Stop Coronavirus



smartphone with blurred people at the background | How to Effectively Clean your Home or Business to Help Stop Coronavirus | Featured

After the first COVID-19 diagnosis in Oregon, some Portland-area schools, Nike and Columbia announced they were giving their facilities a “deep clean” before reopening. Can deep cleaning your home help you avoid the novel coronavirus?

Kim Toevs, Communicable Disease Director for Multnomah County, said Sunday that now is a fine time to start thinking about doing a more thorough cleaning in your home or business, but that doesn’t mean you need to hire an outside company or pay a lot for different cleaning products than you already have in your home.

“Just make sure you are using them,” Toevs said, “and using them right.”

Focus on high-touch areas and horizontal surfaces.

“Flu season this year has been on the worse side,” Toevs said, which means learning how to clean correctly won’t just protect you against possible exposure to COVID-19.

Toevs recommends focusing on “high contact areas that people are touching with their hands” and “horizontal surfaces like counters or desk” where viruses can live in droplets and transfer from the surface to the next person who touches it and then rubs their eyes or eats food or scratches their nose.

The CDC lists high-touch surfaces as including doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.

Clean, then disinfect.

To effectively kills germs, the first step is to clean with soap and water or detergent. Then, the surface should be properly disinfected using a chemical cleaner.

Read the label.

Toevs said most over-the-counter cleaning products should work and the way to know if yours is adequate is to read the label, which should say “EPA certified” and “kills human coronavirus.”

“That means the common cold,” she said, “and it means COVID-19.”

People frequently wipe away the disinfectant too quickly, Toevs said. The label will also say how long it needs to remain wet, which can be anywhere from two to 10 minutes.

“A lot of times people don’t follow the directions,” she said, making the cleaner ineffective.

You don’t need anything fancy, Toevs said. Just make sure to follow directions and make sure you are cleaning.

Of course, the other advice from health officials also stands: wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home when you have any cold or flu symptoms.

For the latest information and resources from Multnomah County visit

— Lizzy Acker

503-221-8052, [email protected], @lizzzyacker

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