To reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, more frequent cleaning is recommended in all properties, including those with no confirmed cases of coronavirus. When cleaning, extra attention should be given to ‘high-touch’ surfaces such as door handles and light switches.

If there has been a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus in a property, it is recommended that the property is deep cleaned and disinfected to reduce the risk of transmission to other people.

This how-to guide contains step-by-step instructions for both scenarios. Select a guide below: 

How to clean: When there is confirmed or suspected coronavirus

If there has been a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus in a property, the following steps should be taken to clean and disinfect the property. Click any step for more information:

1. Find out when the property was last contaminated with coronavirus

A study has shown that coronavirus (COVID-19) is stable for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.[1] Therefore extra precautions are recommended throughout this guide if the property was exposed to coronavirus within the last 72 hours.[2]

If there is a person in the property with suspected or confirmed coronavirus, this person should be isolated to a single room while the cleaning takes place. This person should also use their own bathroom if possible. Unless needed, these rooms should not be cleaned until this person has completed the required isolation period. If a separate bathroom is not available, this person should clean and disinfect the shared bathroom after each use.[3]

2. Gather your usual cleaning supplies, plus a disinfectant product and disposable protective equipment (gloves, shoe covers, apron, mask, goggles)

Research conducted on other coronaviruses indicates that a number of widely available disinfectant products are effective against COVID-19.[4]

We recommend Dettol Surface Cleanser, which kills 99.9% of germs.[5] A full list of disinfectant products shown to be effective against coronaviruses can be found here. If you're unable to purchase one of these disinfectants, here's a guide to making your own disinfectant using some ingredients you should still be able to get your hands on.

The rest of your cleaning equipment should include:

  • Hand soap
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Bin bags
  • Duster
  • Floor cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Limescale remover
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Mop and bucket
  • Sponges
  • Steam cleaner or camper shampoo
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Vacuum bags
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Washing-up liquid

You should bring the following Personal Protective Equipment:[2]

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable apron
  • Disposable shoe covers

If the property has been contaminated within the last 72 hours, it is further recommended that you bring:[2]

  • Disposable surgical mask
  • Goggles

3. Upon entering the property, avoid physical greetings, remove your shoes or cover them with disposable covers

Wearing outdoor shoes inside the home can contaminate floors.[6] Remove shoes or put on shoe covers upon entry.

Once inside, avoid physical greetings and try to stay more than 2m away from anybody else in the property.

4. Wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds and put on Personal Protective Equipment

Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. You can find a NHS guide to washing your hands here

After washing hands, ensure that you are wearing the following Personal Protective Equipment:[2]

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable apron

If the property has been contaminated within the last 72 hours, it is further recommended that you wear:[2]

  • Surgical mask
  • Goggles

5. Open windows and turn on extractor fans for ventilation

Before cleaning, open any windows that you can for ventilation, and turn on extractor fans.[7]

6. Clean surfaces with warm soapy water, paying extra attention to ‘high-touch’ surfaces including door handles and light switches

All areas that a symptomatic person has passed through should be cleaned.[2] Pay extra attention to ‘high-touch’ surfaces that are contacted frequently in daily life,[3] including:

  • Door handles
  • Cabinet handles
  • Light switches
  • TV remotes
  • Tables 
  • Countertops
  • Stair rails
  • All bathroom surfaces including the toilet

A two-step decontamination process is recommended, consisting of cleaning followed by disinfection.[2] Cleaning with soap and water removes germs from the surfaces, while disinfection reduces the risk of infection by killing remaining germs.[3]

To clean hard surfaces, use warm soapy water and a clean microfiber cloth to wipe down the area. 

Be careful when cleaning electrical sockets and light switches. Use as little moisture as possible by applying a small quantity of product to a cloth and using this to clean these surfaces.

Start cleaning the high surfaces, working your way down and out of each room, to avoid contaminating areas that you have already cleaned. Leave a bathroom until last, as this is where you will clean yourself and your tools at the end of the clean.

7. Disinfect surfaces using a product that ‘kills 99.9% of germs'

Once the surfaces have been cleaned, they can be decontaminated with a disinfectant product.[8] A full list of household disinfectant products shown to be effective against coronaviruses can be found here. If you're unable to purchase one of these disinfectants, here's a guide to making your own disinfectant using some ingredients you should still be able to get your hands on.

The disinfectant we recommend can be sprayed directly to the surface, wiped over with a clean, damp cloth and left to dry.[5]

Some disinfectants require rinsing, or are most effective when left on the surface for a few minutes before wiping. Always check the label to ensure you are using products as recommended, to maximise effectiveness.

If you are disinfecting sensitive stone surfaces such as marble or granite, check the product label to ensure it will not damage the surface. Optionally, you can use a disinfecting stone spray such as Cleanly Marble and Granite Spray.

8. Machine-wash soft furnishings, contaminated clothes and bed linen

Avoid shaking soft furnishings (mats, rugs cushions etc). These items can carry germs, and shaking them can contaminate areas you have already cleaned.[9]

Vacuum these items with the soft brush attachment, and delicately place them in the washing machine. Check the labels carefully and wash items at the highest recommended temperature.[2]

Follow the same process for any clothes or linen - delicately place these items in the washing machine, and wash at the highest recommended temperature.

Items that have been heavily soiled with body fluids and cannot be washed should be disposed of. If a 72 hour waiting period has been observed since the property was contaminated, this can be done immediately. If not, store this waste securely for 3 days before placing in household waste.[2]

9. Vacuum all floors, upholstery and skirting boards

Before cleaning and disinfecting floors, any visible dirt and debris should be vacuumed. Ensure that floors are cleaned right to the edges and into the corners. Upholstery and skirting boards should also be vacuumed.

10. Mop hard floors, using warm water and disinfectant

To clean hard floors, fill a bucket with warm water and a disinfectant product that is suitable for your floor’s surface.[10]

We recommend a product such as Dettol Spray & Wipe. A full list of disinfecting floor cleaning products shown to be effective against coronaviruses can be found here.

Mop in a figure of 8 motion and work your way out of the room, to avoid contaminating previously cleaned areas of the floor.

11. Deep clean carpeted floors using a steam cleaner or carpet shampoo

For carpeted floors, steam cleaning provides the most effective option for removing germs.[10] 

If steam cleaning is not possible, then a carpet shampoo product such as Vanish carpet shampoo will remove more dirt and germs than vacuuming alone.[2] This product is mixed with water to form a foam, which is applied to the carpet, then vacuumed 2 hours later.

With both methods you should work your way out of the room, to avoid contaminating previously cleaned areas of carpet.

12. Clean non-disposable equipment at a high temperature

Machine-washable equipment such as cloths and mop heads should now be cleaned at a high temperature (ideally 60C or above). Check the labels carefully and wash items at the highest recommended temperature. Non-machine washable equipment such as goggles and mop handles should then be washed and disinfected.[2]

13. Safely dispose of waste

All non-washable equipment should be disposed of.

Remove all protective clothing (shoe covers, gloves, apron) and double bag these items. If the property was not exposed to coronavirus in the last 72 hours, all items can immediately be disposed of in the household waste. 

If the property was exposed to suspected coronavirus within 72 hours, these items should be stored securely for 3 days. 

Immediately wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds. 

Once 72 hours have elapsed, these items should be moved from secure storage to household waste.[2]

If you have a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus in your home or office, and would like assistance to deep clean and disinfect the area, email deepcleaning@housekeep.com

How to clean: When there is no suspected coronavirus

During the coronavirus outbreak, enhanced cleaning methods and precautions are recommended to reduce the risk of infection, even when there are no suspected cases of coronavirus in the property. Click any step for more information:

1. Gather your usual cleaning supplies, plus a disinfectant product and disposable gloves & shoe covers

Research conducted on other coronaviruses indicates that a number of widely available disinfectant products are effective against COVID-19.[4]

We recommend Dettol Surface Cleanser, which kills 99.9% of germs.[5] A full list of disinfectant products shown to be effective against coronaviruses can be found here. If you're unable to purchase one of these disinfectants, here's a guide to making your own disinfectant using some ingredients you should still be able to get your hands on.

The rest of your cleaning equipment should include:

  • Hand soap
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Bin bags
  • Duster
  • Floor cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Limescale remover
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Mop and bucket
  • Sponges
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Vacuum bags 
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Washing-up liquid

You should also bring disposable latex gloves, disposable shoe covers, and optionally a disposable apron.[2]

2. Upon entering the property, avoid physical greetings, remove your shoes or cover them with disposable covers

Wearing outdoor shoes inside the home can contaminate floors.[6] Remove shoes or put on shoe covers upon entry.

Once inside, avoid physical greetings and try to stay more than 2m away from anybody else in the property.

3. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and put on disposable gloves

Wash your hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds. You can find a NHS guide to washing your hands here.

Once you have washed your hands, put on your disposable gloves, and optionally an apron.[2]

4. Open windows and turn on extractor fans for ventilation

Before cleaning, open any windows that you can for ventilation, and turn on extractor fans.[7]

5. Clean surfaces with warm soapy water, paying extra attention to ‘high-touch’ surfaces including door handles and light switches

When cleaning, pay extra attention to ‘high-touch’ surfaces that are contacted frequently in daily life,[3] including:

  • Door handles
  • Cupboard handles
  • Light switches
  • TV remotes
  • Tables 
  • Countertops
  • Stair rails
  • All bathroom surfaces including the toilet

A two-step process is recommended for these surfaces, consisting of cleaning followed by disinfection.[2] Cleaning with soap and water removes germs from the surfaces, while disinfection reduces the risk of infection by killing remaining germs.[3]

To clean hard surfaces, use warm soapy water and a clean microfiber cloth to wipe down the area. 

Be careful when cleaning electrical sockets and light switches. Use as little moisture as possible by applying a small quantity of product to a cloth and using this to clean these surfaces.

Start cleaning the high surfaces, working your way down and out of each room, to avoid contaminating areas that you have already cleaned. Leave a bathroom until last, as this is where you will clean yourself and your tools at the end of the clean.

6. Disinfect ‘high-touch’ surfaces using a product that ‘kills 99.9% of germs'

Once you have cleaned the ‘high-touch’ surfaces, they should be disinfected with a suitable product.[8] A full list of household disinfectant products shown to be effective against coronaviruses can be found here. If you're unable to purchase one of these disinfectants, here's a guide to making your own disinfectant using some ingredients you should still be able to get your hands on.

The disinfectant we recommend can be sprayed directly to the surface, wiped over with a clean, damp cloth and left to dry.[5]

Some disinfectants require rinsing, or are most effective when left on the surface for a few minutes before wiping. Always check the label to ensure you are using products as recommended, to maximise effectiveness.

If you are disinfecting sensitive stone surfaces such as marble or granite, check the product label to ensure it will not damage the surface. Optionally, you can use a disinfecting stone spray such as Cleanly Marble and Granite Spray.

7. Clean soft furnishings, clothes and bed linen

Avoid shaking soft furnishings (mats, rugs cushions etc). These items can carry germs, and shaking them can contaminate areas you have already cleaned.[9]

Vacuum these items with the soft brush attachment. If soiled, delicately place them in the washing machine. Check the labels carefully and wash items at the highest recommended temperature.[2]

Follow the same process for any clothes or linen - delicately place these items in the washing machine, and wash at the highest recommended temperature.

8. Vacuum all floors

Before cleaning the floors, any visible dirt and debris should be vacuumed. Ensure that floors are cleaned right to the edges and into the corners.

9. Mop hard floors, using warm water and a regular floor cleaning product

To clean hard floors, fill a bucket with warm water and a product that is suitable for your floor’s surface.[10]

Mop in a figure of 8 motion and work your way out of the room, to avoid contaminating previously cleaned areas of the floor.

10. Rinse or machine-wash your mop head and cloths at a high temperature

Machine-washable equipment including cloths and mop heads should now be cleaned at a high temperature (ideally 60C or above). Check the labels carefully and wash items at the highest recommended temperature.[2]

Hand rinse your mop head if it is not machine washable.

11. Dispose of your gloves and shoe covers

Discard disposable cleaning products, gloves and aprons in the household waste and immediately wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds.[2]

Housekeep has cleaners on standby across London. To book a one off or regular clean of your home, click here. To arrange office cleaning email hello@housekeep.com.