Keep Calm and Clean On: Why You Shouldn’t Ease Up on Cleaning Practices this Winter

(BPT) - When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first hit the United States, Americans showed up by not showing up.

Since March 2020, residents of more than 40 states have experienced some type of a stay-at-home order (CDC). Major life events like graduations, weddings, birthday parties and funerals have been cancelled or postponed. Schools have grappled with online learning. Companies have sent employees to work remotely and families have stayed at home.

To help protect themselves, their families and their homes from the spread of COVID-19, Americans also turned to cleaning. A recent national survey conducted on behalf of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) found more than 80% of consumers were somewhat or very confident that their cleaning products would help protect against COVID-19. This trust played out on store shelves across the country with unprecedented demand. On average, manufacturers saw a 23% increase in production volume of cleaning and sanitizing products.

Communities have worked hard to adopt behaviors known to impact the transmission rates. But after eight long months, pandemic fatigue is emerging, making people more complacent and less concerned about social distancing, wearing a mask and keeping up with cleaning practices. For example, ACI’s recent survey marked a decline in handwashing practices for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

As we head into the holiday season, a time known for gatherings and celebrations, it is important to remember the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet.

While many long to feel the normalcy that existed before the pandemic, public health experts warn this winter could be the deadliest for our country in more than a century. Surging COVID-19 cases paired with increased indoor gatherings and the start of cold and flu season have the potential to create the perfect storm for the spread of germs.

As the battle against COVID-19 rages on, Americans cannot ease up on the recommended practices and new routines adapted back in March. The health of the nation depends on it.

Here are some cleaning tips to keep top of mind this winter:

  • When disinfecting, after you spray or wipe, let the surface air dry, making sure it stays wet for as long as recommended on the product label. This is critical in ensuring that the proper germ or virus kill takes place as intended.
    • If disinfecting food contact surfaces or toys, rinse with water after they air dry.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer as an alternative. The CDC suggests an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

To learn more about the disinfecting and hygiene protocols that can help keep your home clean, happy and healthy, visit cleaninginstitute.org.