You are currently viewing When Someone is Sick: Disinfect Safely

When Someone is Sick: Disinfect Safely

Disinfect your home when someone is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours. Disinfecting kills any remaining germs on surfaces and reduces the spread of germs. If you are caring for someone who has COVID-19, detailed instructions for caregivers are available. Keep disinfectants out of the reach of children.

How to disinfect

  • ALWAYS follow the directions on the label.
  • The label includes instructions on how to use the product and specific instructions to keep you safe. Keep disinfectants out of the reach of children. Check the label to find out what personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to use your product safely (such as gloves, glasses, or goggles).
Illustration of a bottle with the word directions
  • Clean visibly dirty surfaces with household cleaners containing soap or detergent before disinfecting if your disinfectant product does not have a cleaning agent (check the label to verify).
  • Use a disinfectant product from EPA List Nexternal icon that is effective against COVID-19.
    • Read the label to make sure it meets your needs.
    • If products on EPA List Nexternal icon are not available, bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface.
    • Many products recommend keeping the surface wet with a disinfectant for a certain period of time (look at the “contact time” on the product label).
Illustration of a computer with an EPA website on the screen
  • Ensure adequate ventilation while using any disinfectant by keeping doors and windows open and using fans to help improve air flow.
Illustration of a ceiling fan spinning in a bedroom
  • Immediately after disinfecting, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.
    • If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Illustration of a woman washing her hands

Tips for using chemical disinfectants safely

  • Always follow the directions on the label of cleaning and disinfection products to ensure safe and effective use. You may need to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, or glasses, depending on the directions on the product label.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation (for example, open windows and run fans).
  • Use only the amount recommended on the label.
  • If diluting with water is indicated for use, use water at room temperature (unless stated otherwise on the label).
  • Label diluted cleaning or disinfectant solutions.
  • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Do not mix products or chemicals.
  • Do not eat, drink, breathe, or inject cleaning and disinfection products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm.
  • Do not wipe or bathe people or pets with any surface cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Special considerations should be made for people with asthma. Some cleaning and disinfection products can trigger asthma. Learn more about reducing your chance of an asthma attack while disinfecting to prevent COVID-19.

See precautions for household members and caregivers for more information.

Leave a Reply