What Do I Need To Know?
- The COVID-19 virus can survive for several days on different surfaces and objects.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfection is important to prevent spread of the disease.
- Many common household and commercial disinfectant products will destroy the COVID-19 virus.
- Some disinfectants will have an 8-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN). These products are approved for use by Health Canada.
- Household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) may not have a DIN but may be used following instructions in the bullets below.
- Many chemicals used for cleaning and disinfecting are classified under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) 2015. Look for the WHMIS hazard symbols on your products. Learn more about WHMIS 2015.
What Do I Need To Do?
- Clean often. Areas visited by people should be kept clean and free from clutter.
- Commonly touched areas should be cleaned and disinfected twice daily or whenever visibly soiled.
- Commonly touched areas include light switches, door knobs, toilets, taps, hand rails, counter tops, toys, touch screens/mobile devices and keyboards.
- Clothing and fabric items should be laundered and dried on the highest temperature setting possible. Ensure items are thoroughly dried.
Is There a Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?
- Yes. Cleaning products remove dirt, dust and oils that can protect germs but don't always kill germs.
- Disinfectants are applied after cleaning to destroy germs.
- Cleaning is required prior to disinfection to remove soil and ensure the effectiveness of the disinfection step (unless otherwise indicated by manufacturer).
- Common disinfectants include bleach solutions, quaternary ammonium (QUAT), alcohol (70%) and peroxide. Vinegar, tea tree oil solutions, etc. are not proven to be effective disinfectants.
How Do I Make a Disinfecting Solution?
- Always read product labels and follow the manufacturer's directions. Do not use expired products.
- According to Health Canada, a disinfecting solution can be made by mixing one part of bleach into 50 parts of water. For example, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) bleach into 1 cup (250 mL) water. These directions are based on bleach that is 5% sodium hypochlorite.
- Do not mix soap or other cleaners into the bleach and water solution.
- Apply the disinfecting solution using a spray bottle or a clean wiping cloth.
- Always use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including protective gloves.
- Food contact surfaces should be rinsed with fresh water after disinfecting.
- Toys that may be mouthed by children must be thoroughly rinsed after disinfection.
- If using disinfectant wipes, manufacturer's recommended contact time (i.e., how long the surface remains wet) must be met. Disinfectant wipes are not recommended for heavily soiled surfaces.
What Else Can I Do to Prevent the Spread of the COVID-19 Virus?
- Reduce contact between people in your facility. When possible, provide extra space between clients.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Scrub for 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty and hand washing isn't available. Only use hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number).
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes.
- Stay home and self-isolate if you are sick.
- Practice social distancing in general.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes and then wash hands with soap and water.
- Avoid shaking hands.
COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Facilities - Updated April 3, 2020