white and clean kitchen in Rockhill apartments in Montreal

How to sanitize your apartment properly

LIVE healthier | 8 MIN READ | 2020-03-26

With all that’s going on around the world with COVID-19, everyone is trying their best to stay safe and healthy while staying inside. We’ve done research on the best ways to sanitize our apartments, keeping in mind all the small details we may not think about. 

Many of us have questions like:

What sources can we trust?

What cleaning products should we use? 

What should we be sanitizing daily vs. every few days?

Do we need to wear a mask and gloves while cleaning? 

What should we do about packages? 

We’ve got answers to the top questions, along with some reliable resources to keep informed on what’s happening surrounding this global pandemic. 

Are you a Minto Apartments resident? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.

What sources can we trust? 

computer on a desk with a plant

Reading and believing everything posted on social media and online news isn’t necessarily the best way to keep informed on what’s happening in this global pandemic. 

Looking for sources that you can trust when it comes to COVID-19 updates? Check out these websites:

Government of Canada

o This Canadian website has all the information you need to understand what COVID-19 is and what you can do to prevent risk to yourself and others. 

CDC – Centers for Disease Control

o Go to this page to learn more about how to protect yourself, what to do if you think you’re sick, latest updates and more.

WHO – World Health Organization

o Click here for everything you need to know about COVID-19, including frequent news updates, how to stay safe, questions and answers and general information. 

o This page offers advice for the public, including myth-busters, when and how to use masks, protection measures and more.

If you’re looking for a reliable source specific to your region or city in Canada, search your regional government website or check out this page on the Government of Canada’s website.  

What cleaning products should we use?

cleaning products to use for COVID-19

One thing that’s important to note is that you don’t need to get fancy when it comes to products. More often than not, soap and water will do the trick when it comes to cleaning your apartment. 

Tip: Before you grab your favourite disinfecting spray and go crazy – it’s more effective if you clean the surface with soap and water first and then disinfect. 

o Disinfectant doesn’t clean, it sanitizes. Doing both is sure to clean and disinfect and is much more effective for getting rid of germs.

For hard surfaces and commonly used items, there are a few different cleaning products that you can use:

When you’re cleaning surfaces at home, soap and water is all you need. To be extra careful, spray the surface with disinfectant spray last. 

When it comes to “high touch” items like doorknobs, light switches, handles and phones, diluted bleach solutions will be effective – just make sure you follow manufacturer instructions for application and proper ventilation (and don’t mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning product).

o To make a bleach solution, mix 5 tablespoons (or 1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon (or 3.8 litres) of water.

Other effective sanitizing products include: Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and household cleaners and disinfectants (but first clean the area with soap and water).

o Check out this resource for disinfectants that meet EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) criteria for use against COVID-19. 

For soft surfaces like carpets, blankets and drapes, linens, clothes and towels, you can use soap and water, regular laundry soap or disinfectant (the same as above). 

What should we be sanitizing daily vs. every few days at home?

living room in apartment with flowers on a desk

Image of Rockhill apartments in Montreal

The CDC says that as part of everyday prevention, frequently touched objects and surfaces should be both cleaned (soap and water) and sanitized (disinfectant spray or a bleach and water solution) on a regular basis. 

What should we be cleaning and sanitizing daily?

Generally:

o Tables and countertops

o Light switches

o Armrests

o Water taps

o Doorknobs 

o Keys

o Rings

o Cellphones and house phones

o Laptop and computer keyboards and mouses

Kitchen:

o Cabinet handles

o Faucets and sinks

o Refrigerator handles

o Cutting boards

o Towels and dishcloths (yes, we recommend swapping these out daily)

Living Room:

o Remote controls

o Lamp switches

o Side tables

Bedrooms:

o Dresser drawer handles and knobs

o Lamp switches

o Bedside tables

o Remote controls

o Closet door handles

Bathroom:

o All knobs, handles, and surfaces

What should we be cleaning and sanitizing weekly?

blue carpet with a vaccuum and running shoes on it

Generally:

o Floors (sweep and mop – spills and dirt can attract bacteria)

o Vacuum carpets

o Electronic charging cords

Kitchen:

o Put the kitchen sink strainer in the dishwasher

o Stove knobs and buttons (remove and wash if possible)

o Kitchen sink

o Coffeemaker and other kitchen appliances

o Wipe down cupboard doors and knobs

Living Room:

o Blankets, pillow covers and drapes

Bedroom:

o Sheets, blankets and pillow covers

Bathroom:

o Toothbrush holder

o Towels, towel mats and linens (don’t fluff or shake them, put directly in the washer)

o Bathroom sink(s)

o Garbage cans

o Mirrors

o Toilet paper dispenser

Similar to how we can’t over-wash our hands in a time like this (don’t forget to wash for at least 20 seconds every time!), we can’t really over-clean either. 

That said, if you’re social distancing and have no sick people around you, you only need to be cleaning every couple of days unless you’re going out in public. 

Every time we leave and come home, we’re supposed to wash our hands right away – and we think the same about sanitizing doorknobs, cellphones, keys and other high-touch items.

Do we need to wear a mask and gloves while cleaning?

cleaning products with pink gloves

It is recommended that we wear disposable gloves while cleaning our homes. 

Even before COVID-19, experts say that wearing gloves can protect against chemicals in detergents and solvents, and protect us from getting sick.

Tip: After cleaning with gloves, be sure to either dispose or wash them thoroughly for next time.

o When gloves are removed, hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap to ensure that germs are being washed off.

World Health Organization says that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you’re taking care of a person with a suspected COVID-19 infection. Therefore, we don’t think it’s necessary to wear a face mask while cleaning our apartments.

General guidelines for wearing a mask from WHO:

If you’re coughing or sneezing, you should wear a mask.

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based rub or soap and water.

For other mask-wearing questions, check out World Health Organization’s advice on when and how to use a mask.

What should we do about packages? 

person holding a package that says You've Got Mail

Can we accept packages safely? How long do germs live on packages? Can we get coronavirus through package delivery? So many questions (we understand)!

Experts are still trying to figure out how long COVID-19 can live on surfaces, but for now, we do suggest washing cans, bottles and hard containers in soapy water that arrive at home before putting them away in cupboards.

WHO suggests that coronavirus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, however this varies under different conditions like temperature, type of surface, and other factors.  

Good news! When it comes to delivery and packages, WHO says that it is safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported.

On the WHO website, it says that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

Please remember that the best ways to reduce the risk of being infected or spreading germs, as advised by WHO, are:

Wash hands (for at least 20 seconds) regularly with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre of distance between yourself and others

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing (and then dispose of the tissue immediately)

Stay home if you feel unwell and follow the directions of your local health authority

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots and follow only trustworthy resources (like WHO

We hope that everyone is staying safe and well in these difficult times!

Are you a Minto Apartments resident? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.