Covid-19 Household Practices123

Household members should education themselves about symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and follow home care guidance1 when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19. The decision to discontinue home isolation/quarantine precautions shall be made in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments. Cleaning and disinfecting while in the home is extremely important.


  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Discard after each cleaning and wash hands immediately after gloves are removed. I
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Clothing, Towels, Linens and Other Items That Go in the Laundry
  • Clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them
  • Place all used disposable gloves, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Wash your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions (1/3 cup of unscented household bleach per one gallon of water), alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPAregistered household disinfectants should be effective.
  • Be sure to allow the disinfectant to remain on the surface for the appropriate contact time, as directed on the label. This will allow the disinfectant to work properly.
  • For items that could be placed in the mouth of children, rinse the surface with water after the appropriate contact time of the disinfectant and air dry.
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present. Clean with appropriate cleaners as indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning, launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cleaning, Towels, Linens and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry. If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
  • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them and keep soiled items away from your body.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing viruses through the air.
  • Launder items, as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and machine dry items completely using the warmest appropriate setting.
  • Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Consider discarding any heavily soiled items that require scraping, scrubbing, or soaking.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

About the author: Joe Fiorilli