Hygiene and Cleaning during Coronavirus

hygiene cleaning during coronavirus

I don’t think our house or our hands have ever been so clean (thanks to Brian). We are now in the habit of opening doors with our elbows but there are some things that you have to touch. It’s this last 10% of contact that we are trying to address here without making everyone completely paranoid.

Hand Washing & Good Hygiene

If we all hand wash vigilantly then it should help reduce the spread of coronavirus and normal flu as well.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds in warm or hot water, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing (see suggestions below for how not to touch the tap after you’ve finished washing your hands…)
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

How to Switch Off the Tap after you’ve washed your hands

After you’ve washed your hands you don’t want to touch the tap that has been touched by your, and many others’, dirty hands. Here are some suggestions:

  • wash the tap while you are washing your hands
  • try to find taps that switch off automatically or have levers that you can operate with your elbow (similar applies to loos that can be operated by your knee – found in hospital operating suites)
  • turn on the tap to fill the sink. Switch the tap off. Then wash your hands and
  • before you start washing your  hands, place a paper towel or toilet paper near the sink. After you finish washing you hands, dry them on the towel or air dryer and use the towel to switch off the tap. The problem with this is you have to leave the tap running while you dry your hands.
  • Keep the towel to open the door to exit the toilet.

The power of soap!

Soap works so well on viruses because their weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and becomes inactive. See more on the science of soap here.

If you can’t find any in the shops, here are instructions on how to make soap and hand sanitiser

If you don’t have access to soap and water, then alcohol spray or gel can be used but it needs to be 70% strength and you need to keep it wet on your hands for 60 seconds.

If you’re finding that the skin on your hands is getting raw from all the washing, Mel at Belle Chic Health & Beauty in Hungerford has some top tips on how to protect your skin.

hands with dry skin


Hygiene When Shopping

In most shops now there are hand sanitisers and sprays to clean trolley handles. But there a few other precautions you can take if you’re really worried.

We have a friend who puts on a pair of rubber gloves (non latex, like surgical ones) and puts his debit card in his pocket and a bottle of disinfectant/98% alcohol in the car before he leaves home. If the shop comes to more than £30 and he has to enter his PIN number, he keeps the card in his hand, walks to the car, washes the card and puts it back in his pocket. Then he pops opens the boot put the shopping in, washes his gloves in alcohol/disinfectant, washes the car door handles and gets in.

Another family we know whose daughter has serious allergies and asthma, take extreme measures when bringing shopping home: 

– inbound parcels are placed in a large box outside the house. The outer packing is binned (never enters the house).  The inner item gets sprayed with 70% rubbing alcohol (keeping it wet for 60 seconds is easy).  Hands are also sprayed at that point.  Post and newspapers have their outer surfaces sprayed.  If the stuff inside an envelope has been touched by human, they spray it.

– they assume all shopping is all virus-infected and leave it outside until they have washed or sprayed everything. Bags stay outside the house (neither sprayed nor washed – in the garden we have an infect bag full of infected bags.  This is possibly the biggest chore of all).

– when touching handles etc they reckon it’s easier to decontaminate a hand than a glove or sleeve. So they use their hands and then spray them with alcohol (keeping it wet for 60 seconds).


Cleaning your Mobile Phone

Who knew that soap works well on your mobile phone too? See video demonstration here:

We’ve also used this technique on laptop and computer keyboards (with as little water as possible) but it is probably best to research this first as alcohol wipes might be safer…

Laundering Your Money

We’ve always known that money is dirty but now feel it’s time to do something about it.

So into a bowl of bleach have been put all our coins – and the notes with some trepidation, but thank goodness the new ones are plastic.


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