General Cleaning & Disinfecting Guidelines to Prevent COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land on people who are nearby. It may also be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces, especially those that are frequently touched (such as doorknobs, handles, tabletops, etc.) can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning. Every person has been called upon to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing and prevention hygiene, such as frequently washing your hands and wearing face coverings. Everyone also has a role in making sure our communities are as safe as possible to reopen and remain open.

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed if you use the right products. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Each product has been shown to be effective against viruses that are harder to kill than viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.  If disinfectants on this list are in short supply, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions).

  • Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.
  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
  • Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, you can further lower the risk of spreading infection.


  • Waterproof gloves, such as nitrile or dishwashing gloves: gloves protect you from exposure to the virus and to the cleaning chemicals. Provide gloves in a variety of sizes. Gloves that are too big make it hard to hold objects and easier for bacteria and viruses to get inside. Gloves that are too small can rip or tear.
  • Soap or detergent, warm water, clean towels, plastic trash bags.
  • Disposable gowns for all cleaning related tasks should be worn including handling trash.
  • Masks and goggles (optional to protect yourself from exposure to cleaning chemicals).
  • Disinfectants
  • Bleach solution. To make a bleach solution, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. For a larger supply, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water. Use the solution within 20 minutes. For surfaces that corrode or are damaged by bleach, use registered products effective against the specific virus/bacteria that are rated to not damage that surface type.

How to Clean General Best Practices:

  • Wear gloves while cleaning.
  • Use chemicals in a well-ventilated area. NEVER mix cleaning chemicals with one another. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in.  Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
  • Prevent chemical contact with food during cleaning.
  • Handle used towels, gloves, etc. as little as possible.

To Clean Hard, Non-Porous Surfaces:

  • Hard non-porous surfaces include stainless steel, floors, kitchen surfaces, countertops, tables and chairs, sinks, toilets, railings, light switch plates, doorknobs, metal/plastic toys, computer keyboards, remote controls and recreation equipment.
  • For surfaces that corrode or are damaged by bleach, use registered products effective against the specific virus/bacteria that are rated to not damage that surface type:

- Follow labeled instructions on all containers.

- Clean surface with soap and water to remove all visible debris and stains. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.

- Rinse surface with clean water and wipe with clean towel.

- Apply the disinfectant. To effectively kill the virus, make sure the surface stays wet with the   disinfectant for at least 10 minutes before wiping with a clean towel.

- Rinse with water and allow surface to air dry. Rinsing the surface with water following use of a disinfectant is especially important if the surface is in a food preparation area.

- Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.

- Remove gloves and place in a trash bag and discard.

- Wash hands after removing gloves and handling any contaminated material, trash or waste.

To Clean Soft, Porous Materials:

  • Soft, porous materials include carpeting, rugs, towels, clothing, sofas, chairs, bedding, soft fabric toys (i.e., stuffed animals), etc.
  • Steps for cleaning and disinfecting: Place soft, porous materials in a bag. Launder using hot water and a detergent containing color-safe bleach. Dry on high heat.
  • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label.

Cleaning outdoor areas:

  • Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on sidewalks is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas.
  • The targeted use of disinfectants can be done effectively, efficiently and safely on outdoor hard surfaces and objects frequently touched by multiple people.
  • Certain outdoor areas and facilities, such as bars and restaurants, may have additional requirements.

There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly to humans from water in pools, hot tubs or spas, or water play areas. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (for example, with chlorine) of pools, hot tubs or spas, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19. 

If you are an employer, it is your responsibility to:

  • Have policies and procedures about infection control.
  • Provide policies, procedures, and training to employees on infection control.
  • Update and monitor your policies and plans.
  • Provide all infection control supplies to employees.

Remember, there are measures we can all take to prevent respiratory illness. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the infection. The following recommendations must be adhered to at all times:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand rubs and gels if you can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm/elbow, not your hand.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Cleaning and Disinfection of Airlines

  • Enhanced Cabin Cleaning is to be performed in an extraordinary circumstance of passenger or flight crew illness. Calla1452 (disinfectant), is to be used in the areas where the passenger(s) and/or crew member(s) were seated and in specific surrounding areas. Calla1452 can be used on tray tables, side walls, interior plastics, arm rests, passenger service units, ceilings and lavatory surfaces.
  • In the event of passenger illness, the enhanced cabin cleaning will apply to two rows in front and two rows behind the affected area.
  • The seatbelts, tray tables, armrest, and overhead bins latches are all cleaned with disinfectant.
  • Clean lavatories used by the symptomatic passenger(s), including: door handle, locking device, toilet seat, faucet, washbasin, adjacent walls, and counter.
  • Properly dispose of any items that cannot be cleaned (e.g., pillows, passenger safety placards, and other similar items as described below).
  • Preventative disinfection of local and international airlines should be done on a regular basis

Recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during Enhanced Cleaning:

  • Disposable gloves that are recommended by the manufacturer of the disinfectant should be worn.
  • Disposable gowns should be worn while cleaning the cabin and lavatories.
  • If splashing is possible, eye protection, such as a face shield or goggles and facemask may be required according to the manufacture’s label.
  • Ground and cleaning crews should not board the plane until all travelers have disembarked.
  • Ventilation systems should be kept running while cleaning crews are working aboard the airplane.
  • Airlines should train ground and cleaning crews on and require that crew members demonstrate an understanding of when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly don (put on), use, and doff (take off) PPE.
  • After doffing (taking off) PPE, cleaning staff should immediately clean hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
    • Airlines should consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer to cleaning staff for their personal use.
    • Employers should educate workers to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms.

    Additional information and guidance may be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.