Things you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19

Staying at home helps to protect you, your family, healthcare workers and first responders and slow the spread of coronavirus. You can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family during a COVID-19 outbreak. Learn what you can do to prepare your home and family.

Disinfecting your home if someone is sick
As part of your everyday prevention actions clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. For example: tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles.

**Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.**

- Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

High touch surfaces include:
Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

- Use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- To make a bleach solution, mix:
• 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
• 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol
Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

Many products recommend:
• Keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed.
• Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
• Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

Soft surfaces
For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes: 
Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectants meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.

For clothing, towels, linens and other items:
Wear disposable gloves.
Wash hands with soap and water as soon as you remove the gloves.
Do not shake dirty laundry.
Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.

Clean hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person.
Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
Additional key times to clean hands include:
• After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After using the restroom
• Before eating or preparing food
• After contact with animals or pets
• Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Stay separated: The ill person should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water: Handle any non-disposable used food service items with gloves and wash with hot water or in a dishwasher.
Clean hands after handling used food service items.

Dedicated, lined trash can: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person.Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.