March 23, 2020
Whether you’re working from home or practicing social distancing from your office or place of work, it’s likely that your workspace could go for a good cleaning. In the midst of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, it’s recommended that you clean (remove dirt and impurities from surfaces) AND disinfect (use disinfectant to remove germs from surfaces) “high touch” areas, such as your workspace, at least once a day. The National Institute of Health compared the lifespan of COVID-19 on different types of surfaces and found that it could last up to three days on stainless steel and plastic, so disinfecting daily is important.
High touch areas whether you’re at home, or at work, can include doorknobs, light switches, counter tops and refrigerator door handles to name a few. Here are a few tips to make sure your workspace isn’t making you sick.
Don’t neglect your devices. Cell phones, iPads/tablets, laptops, desktop computers, keyboards, computer mice and remotes all need to be disinfected daily. The University of Arizona found that cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, but for most electronics a disinfectant wipe is fine to use—just avoid getting water in any of the ports.
Be extra cautious in communal areas. The cleanliness of the office kitchen/breakroom or bathroom can often be a gamble. However, this applies to your home, too! It’s especially important to be aware of what surfaces you’re touching during this time. If possible, use a paper towel when opening doors, refrigerators, microwaves, etc. that people frequently touch. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after visiting a high-traffic area in your office.
Make sure you’re using the right cleaners and disinfectants. Products containing bleach, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are the best at killing off germs, while vinegar is not effective against most bacteria and viruses. Use whichever product is best for the surface you’re disinfecting. Each disinfecting product has its own specific instructions. An important rule is that you shouldn’t immediately wipe a cleaning solution off as soon as you’ve applied it to a surface. Let it sit on the surface long enough to kill viruses, about 3-5 minutes. Never combine disinfecting products and open the window or ventilate the room if possible.
It only takes one co-worker (or family member!) to spread sickness to the whole group. Make sure you’re doing your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.