CDC: Cleaning once a day is OK if no one is sick

Coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — This could be the end of strenuous and frequent cleaning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on Monday regarding cleaning and disinfecting routines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For most buildings where no one is sick, the agency says cleaning once a day is sufficient. This means it’s okay to just use soap and water to scrub down surfaces.

Disinfecting is a different process; it uses products that specifically kill any remaining germs after cleaning.

However, shared spaces can be more frequently cleaned and additionally disinfected if they’re shared by people who are at higher risk for severe virus symptoms or aren’t wearing masks. Other factors include if the environment is not possible to keep hands clean or if there are rising COVID-19 cases in the community.

The CDC says to prioritize cleaning high-touch surfaces, such as break room appliances, handrails, doorknobs and other shared equipment.

“If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space,” the CDC said.

  • If less than 24 hours have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, clean and disinfect the space.
  • If more than 24 hours have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, cleaning is enough. You may choose to also disinfect depending on certain conditions or everyday practices required by your facility.
  • If more than 3 days have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, no additional cleaning (beyond regular cleaning practices) is needed.

Here’s how to determine how often to clean when everyone is healthy, according to the CDC:

  • High-touch surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day.
  • More frequent cleaning might be needed when the space is occupied by young children and others who may not consistently wear masks, wash hands, or cover coughs and sneezes.
  • If the space is a high traffic area, or if certain conditions apply, you may choose to clean more frequently.

In most situations, regular cleaning (at least once a day) is enough to sufficiently remove virus that may be on surfaces. However, if certain conditions apply, you may choose to disinfect after cleaning.

The once-a-day guidance excludes facilities with specific cleaning and disinfecting protocol like hospitals/healthcare, food and agricultural production or processing workplace settings, manufacturing workplace settings, or food preparation and food service areas.

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