LEWISBURG — Staying healthy should always be a priority, but as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States, it’s becoming increasingly important to maintain a clean, sanitary environment not just when you’re out and about, but at home, too.

Clean and disinfect

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending everyone not just cleans but also disinfects frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them before disinfecting and be sure to use detergent or soap and water.

Steph Wenrick, a housekeeper for White’s Cleaning Inc., has been cleaning professionally for 20 years. The business is contracted through Evangelical Community Hospital to clean the hospital’s buildings. Wenrick cleans at the ASC building, which includes the Breast Center for Health and Sun Orthopedics.

“It is very important to keep all hospital buildings as clean as possible as there are a lot of elderly and immunocompromised patients seen here every day,” explained Wenrick.

Even though they’re already cleaning, Wenrick said the staff is taking extra precautions to maintain a clean, safe environment for patients.

“We are wearing gloves at all times — even to sweep and mop,” she said. “And frequently changing gloves.”

Wenrick said staff is following the CDC’s recommendations and wiping down door handles, light switches, elevators and buttons, bathrooms, sinks, chairs and the arms, stairwell railings every single day.

“We are also wiping down wheelchairs,” she said. “Everything is getting a total wipedown every day thoroughly with a hospital cleaner called Oxycide, a vinegar-peroxide based cleaner.“

Also, all computer screens and keyboards, touch screens on mammogram equipment and in the operating rooms of one-day surgery, fridge handles, microwave doors, garbage cans are all being wiped down constantly.

“You name it we’re on it,” she said.

Wenrick said it’s vital for businesses and individuals to stay on top of cleaning and sanitizing as well as with good hygiene because it will help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Keeping up with cleaning at businesses and home is very important to keep as many people safe from the coronavirus as possible. Anything that is touched frequently needs to be cleaned daily — especially with businesses. They should be disinfecting counters, debit/credit machines, carts, door handles, etc.,” she said.

Personally, Wenrick said she is staying on top of things.

“I have been wiping down my car door handles and steering wheel daily,” said Wenrick.

In your own home

For homes and families, Wenrick highly suggests cleaning door handles, light switches, bathrooms and kitchens daily. Other, less thought about items need to be disinfected too, including remote controls for the tv gamer controllers, computers, tablets and smartphones.

“It’s just common sense,” she said. “If you touch it, wipe it down every day. And teach your family about good hand hygiene. Wash your hands, I can’t stress that enough.” 

Michelle Lambert of Danville is the owner of Michelle’s Home Cleaning and has been cleaning homes and businesses in the Valley for the past 20 years. She primarily does residential cleanings.

With all of the recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting the business should be in high demand, Lambert said the opposite has happened.

“I’ve actually taken a big hit,” said Lambert. “A lot of my clients are elderly, so they don’t want to take the chance of us coming in.”

Lambert understands why some families are choosing to take over their own house cleaning right now, and offers up some advice on getting the job done right — because if you don’t do it properly, you may as well not bother, she said.

“The biggest thing a lot of people don’t understand is that when you spray something down or wipe it down that you want to disinfect, the product needs to sit on the surface for 30 seconds to a minute for it to actually disinfect,” she explained. “A lot of people think if they just wipe it down they’re done, but you have to give the chemicals time to work.”

She also advises you clean before you disinfect - that means dusting, sweeping/vacuuming before using disinfectant.

“For example, I have a specific way I train my employees to go about it when they clean,” she said. “When we clean bathrooms, we dust and vacuum first before we wet anything. Then, spray down toilets and let sit while you scrub down a shower, door trim and moldings.”

Like Wenrick, Lambert emphasized the importance of wiping down the things you may not necessarily think of needing a cleaned. For example, while most people will think to wipe down doorknobs, they’ll often forget about the outside doors.

“Don’t forget to do the door handle on the outside of the home because people touch that before entering your home,” she said. “Also make sure you get switches and door trims - so many people will grab the door jam and we don’t think to disinfect those.”

And though you might be inclined to grab a disinfecting wipe, you need to know, that’s not enough, said Lambert

“Things like Clorox wipes should be used more for in between cleanings, they’re not to use for general cleaning,” she said. “And when you do use them, you can’t just wipe down a surface then dry it. You have to give it time to clear out the germs.”

Another important detail - don’t just get the surface of something - you need to get in the cracks and crevices.

“A lot of people are worried about surfaces and countertops, but you need to get in the cracks of things like on the kitchen table, and it’s really important to use a generous amount of the supply and work into grooves too because if not, you’re letting germs just lie there.”

Other ways to keep clean — leave your shoes at the front door when you enter the home, wash your hands immediately and often, and anything you touch, sanitize, she said.

“People with small children should wash couch blankets and pillows more often — I recommend every three days or so, and you should also be washing/changing your sheets every few days as well.”

In general, whatever your typical routine is, Lambert said, “double it.”

“Everyone needs to increase what they’re doing — every three days is sufficient right now, though it also depends on how often you’re leaving your home.”

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