What Updated CDC Cleaning Guidance Means for You
April 12, 2021
Spaces can be disinfected less frequently under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new coronavirus health guidelines for homes and facilities, but regular cleaning and mask-wearing are still important. Instead of excessively disinfecting every counter, doorknob, and nook, cleaning with soap and water may suffice in most situations. “Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools, and homes where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a recent White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing.
The CDC still recommends businesses clean high-touch surfaces, including pens, counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, stair rails, elevator buttons, desks, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets, and sinks “at least once a day or as often as determined is necessary.”
“Cleaning with products containing soap or detergent reduces germs on surfaces by removing contaminants and may also weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases risk of infection from surfaces,” the CDC notes on its website. “When no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in a space, cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove virus that may be on surfaces and help maintain a healthy facility.”
The CDC announced last May that surfaces are not the primary way viruses are spread. A few months later, the CDC confirmed that COVID-19 is mostly spread through the air by lingering droplets exhaled from infected individuals. But the agency’s new guidance doesn’t mean you should stop cleaning: The CDC recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces at least once a day. If the prevalence of COVID-19 is high in your area—and your space is frequently occupied by outsiders—a stepped-up cleaning routine may be more necessary. Also, Walensky said that transmission can be reduced by wearing face masks correctly and through regular hand-washing in businesses.
“Cleaning practices are beneficial for everybody, but mostly for employees and the people who work there and for customers who use the facility, so I think that they should probably continue,” Adrian Popp, an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital, told Inc.com. “It’s good practice, period.”
CDC.gov; “The CDC Changed Its Guidance on Cleaning. Here’s What It Means for Your Business,” Inc.com (April 9, 2021); and “CDC Relaxes Guidance on Cleaning Surfaces to Prevent COVID-19,” Fortune (April 5, 2021)
Updated: May 13, 2021