How to Stay Safe at Home

Regular cleaning and disinfecting can help prevent the spread of illness including COVID-19. Frequently touched surfaces such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs, light switches, and tables should be cleaned at least daily. Other less frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly when visibly dirty. 

Make sure to clean surfaces with soap or detergent before disinfecting.

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be broken down by soaps and detergents as well as appropriate disinfectants. Cleaning and disinfecting is a simple, effective, two-step process that is described below.

  1. Clean away dirt, crumbs etc. Use soapywater to wipe away dirt, soils and other debris. Plain dish soap or any kind of household cleaning product will remove dirt, oils and other debris from surfaces.  

  2. Disinfect. IF possible, use store-bought disinfectants. Familiar brands such as Clorox, Lysol, Fantastik, Microban and Zep have specific products that will work against the COVID-19 virus. Please check the Health Canada’s list of approved products. If your product is not on the list, it has not been approved for this use. Remember to keep all respiratory equipment clean and sanitized as per guidelines from equipment manufactures. 

Tips for using disinfectants and bleach safely

  • Open a window and wear gloves when disinfecting. 

  • Take care to keep bleach tightly-sealed and stored away from children and pets.  

  • More concentrated solutions are not better and may cause irritation to the eyes and throat. 

  • Do not mix bleach with vinegar or other acids like lemon juice, ammonia-containing products (such as Windex), or rubbing alcohol. This can create toxic gases. 

  • When using bleach on surfaces, allow the surface to air dry completely before using again. 

  • Dispose of any leftover bleach mixtures so people won't mistake them for something else or mix them with other products by mistake. 

  • If you pour your extra bleach solutions down the drain, run a lot of water down the drain at the same time. 

Food and the kitchen

  • Never use bleach or other disinfectants on food.

  • Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits with clean potable water. 

  • Utensils, pots and pans, and other dishwasher-safe food preparation items can be cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher with a hot rinse cycle or washed with hot soapy water.

  • Dishwasher-safe, hard plastic toys can be cleaned and disinfected in a dishwasher with a hot rinse cycle

Mobile phones and other electronics

  • Clean/disinfect frequently touched electronics like phnes, tablets, remotes, keyboards, mice and gaming consoles daily.

  • First check the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and disinfecting instructions.

  • If no manufacturer guidance is available, use disinfectant wipes or sprays with 70% alcohol.

  • Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids. Do not immerse devices in liquids and do not use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar as they do not work and may damage screens.

  • Consider using screen protectors to make cleaning and disinfection easier.

Laundry

If you are living with someone who is ill, take these precautions when doing laundry:

  • Laundry should be placed in a laundry basket with a plastic liner. Don’t shake dirty items

  • Wear gloves and a mask when handling. 

  • Wash with regular laundry soap and hot water. 

  • Clean your hands with soap and water immediately after removing your gloves.

Waste

If you are sick or living with someone who is sick, be careful when touching waste   

  • All waste can go into regular garbage bins.  

  • Line the wastebasket with a plastic bag. This makes waste easier and safer to dispose

  • When emptying wastebaskets, take care to not touch used tissues with your hands. 

  • Wash your hands afterwards.

Accidental exposure to disinfectants

Call your local Poison Control Centre. 

  • Inhalation: Ventilate the area and seek fresh air.

  • Eyes: Flush eyes with water  for 5-10 minutes.

  • Skin: Flush skin with water for 5 minutes.

Page Last Updated: 21/05/2020