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Cleaning and Disinfecting When Returning Home

Cleaning and Disinfecting When Returning Home

We’d like to thank the healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential employees for doing their part to keep our communities safe. We’ve put together helpful information to keep them and their families safe from COVID-19 as they return home from the front lines.

After leaving your place of work and before entering your home, it’s important that first responders take preventive measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This applies even if:

  • You aren’t aware of coming in direct contact with anyone suspected or with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • You were wearing protective attire during your time of potential exposure. 

Healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 should adhere to CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC). View the CDC resources for coronavirus and information for healthcare professionals.

How to Clean and Disinfect for Coronavirus When Returning Home: 

When Leaving Work

  • Keep a pair of spare shoes in your car and before getting into the car from work, remove your work shoes and place them in a plastic storage bin that’s clearly labeled with “Do Not Touch.” Drive home in your spare shoes.
  • Before entering the home, remove spare shoes and leave them outside with a clearly displayed note that alerts people to avoid contact.

Remove Soiled Clothes

  • Immediately take off work clothes and put them in a lined hamper, laundry bag or even a closed trash bag upon return to the home. Removing clothes right after work is especially important if you’re a healthcare professional.
  • Even if you didn’t experience confirmed exposure to COVID-19, you shouldn’t re-wear any clothing (including jeans, sweaters, sweatshirt, shoes, etc.) until after it has been laundered.1 
  • For clothing that has been exposed, or may have been exposed, to COVID-19, avoid leaving it loose in a work locker.
  • Keep a set of clean clothes by your door to change into when you return home and properly remove your work clothes. 

How to Handle Laundry

  • Keep laundry as contained as possible. For example, handle all clothes in a laundry bag that can also be washed or use a trash bag that can be disposed of upon placing clothes into the washing machine.2
  • When handling laundry, wear disposable gloves if available. If using reusable gloves, don’t reuse for other household chores. As soon as you remove your gloves, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.3 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands as you remove soiled clothing.
  • Wash and dry your used work clothes separately at a higher temperature (100 to 135 degrees) for at least 30 minutes to ensure sufficient killing of germs.4 Visit this link for more tips about laundry.
  • Take a shower to remove excess debris from the workplace.

Separate Work Materials

  • Avoid placing work bags, purses and backpacks on common surfaces including tables and countertops. 
  • Consider having a dedicated bag for work use. Keep it in the car or in a plastic storage bin to avoid contamination in the home. 
  • Consider keeping work items in a closed storage bin, or separate them from other household items to avoid possible risk of COVID-19 contamination in the home.

Keep Things Disinfected

  • When you get home, disinfect surfaces you have touched: garage openers, entry tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, phones, keys, etc. If possible, dedicate utensils and plates for first responders and/or wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water if you’re sharing them. Handle non-disposable used food service items with gloves and wash with hot water or in a dishwasher.
  • If possible, devote a lined trash bag for the essential worker’s trash. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and when handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterward.
  • Prohibit visitors who don’t have an essential need to be in the home.

Visit this page for a full list of our EPA-approved disinfecting products.

Already have Clorox® bleach? Learn how to make your own disinfecting solution.

4. According to Mary Gagliardi, aka “Dr. Laundry,” Clorox’s in-house scientist and cleaning expert.