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You No Longer Have to Do This to Avoid COVID, Says CDC

You no long have to disinfect like crazy at home, says the CDC.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Good news for everyone disinfecting every single surface in their home to fight COVID-19: The "CDC has updated its guidance for cleaning and disinfecting facilities in homes to reflect the science on transmission," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, yesterday at the White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing. "People can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects"—but you no longer have to do a few things when cleaning. Read on to see what you can stop doing—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.


CDC Says Cleaning With Soap and Detergent is Now Enough "In Most Cases"

Woman cleaning and polishing the kitchen worktop with a spray detergent, housekeeping and hygiene

"Evidence has demonstrated that the risk by" surfaces at home "is actually low. Cleaning with household cleaners containing soap, or detergent, will physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs," she clarified, "but reduces the risk of infection by removing them. Disinfecting uses a chemical product, which is a process that kills the germs on the surfaces. In most situations, regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergent, not necessarily disinfecting those surfaces, is enough to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools and homes, where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours." Keep reading to see what else you can stop doing.


CDC Says Fogging is Not Recommended as the Primary Method of Disinfection

Fogging with disinfectant due to coronavirus

"Also," Walensky continued, "in most cases, fogging, fumigation in wide area or electrostatic spraying is not recommended as a primary method of disinfection and has several safety risks to consider. The risk of surface transmission can also be reduced by wearing masks consistently, correctly washing your hands and by following CDC and OSHA guidance to maintain the healthy facilities. The main way people are infected with COVID-19 is through close care person to person contact, typically between people who are physically near each other within about six feet." Next slide, hear how to clean your house regularly.


How to Clean Your House Regularly

Disinfect - Woman Spraying Table Surface with Disinfectant and Wiping it with a Cloth

"Cleaning with a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent reduces the amount of germs on surfaces and decreases risk of infection from surfaces," says the CDC in its new guidance. "In most situations, cleaning alone removes most virus particles on surfaces. Disinfection to reduce transmission of COVID-19 at home is likely not needed unless someone in your home is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours." Says the CDC:

"When and how to clean surfaces in your home

  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly (for example, daily) and after you have visitors in your home.
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops.
  • Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed. Clean them more frequently if people in your household are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. You might also choose to disinfect.
  • Clean surfaces using a product suitable for each surface, following instructions on the product label." You'll also want to reduce contamination of surfaces; see next slide.


How to Reduce Contamination of Surfaces

Delivery man holding paper bag with food on white background, food delivery man in protective mask

"Take steps in your home to limit contamination of surfaces from airborne particles or from touching surfaces with contaminated hands," says the CDC:

  • "Ask unvaccinated visitors to wear masks.
  • Follow guidance for fully vaccinated people before inviting visitors to your home.
  • Isolate people who are sick with COVID-19.
  • Have everyone in your household wash hands often, especially when returning from outside activities."


Dr. Walensky Says She's Confident We Will Get Through This

Our batting average ranked from last month but that's the reality

"I want to end again by sharing my confidence that widespread vaccination will bring us to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and with my enthusiasm for how quickly this is happening," she said. "And also my strong support that we all keep taking the necessary steps, steps to stay safe and healthy until we get there. We are vaccinating at a rate of 3 million people on average every day. This is the spirit of the American people that will help us see this through together." So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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