Healthy Homes Guide to Cleaning and Disinfection
The recommendations on this page are meant primarily for the management or operators of community non-healthcare facilities, such as schools, early care and education (ECE) facilities, offices, and businesses.
If you manage staff:
- Communicate to staff that they should stay home if sick. If a member of your team has come in contact with someone who is sick, they should notify a supervisor and discuss a need for quarantine.
- Educate workers on effective cleaning and disinfecting methods. If the facility is using new cleaning products, custodians and other using them should be properly trained on safe use.
- Staff should use personal protective equipment (PPE) and clean hands often. Cleaning staff should wear disposable masks, gloves, and gowns when cleaning, including when dealing with trash. Everyone in the facility should wash their hands frequently.
Signs and Posters
The following posters are available for use and hanging in workplaces or common spaces:
- Stop the Spread of Germs [pdf; CDC]
- Stay Home from Work [pdf; CDC]
If you’re managing the facility’s plan for operating safely during COVID-19, your plan should include these elements:
- Social distancing. The pattern of operations should allow for staff and/or customers or clients to maintain six feet of separation.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Develop a schedule to clean and disinfect hard and soft surfaces based on guidance for that surface and manufacturer’s instructions. For more detailed information about the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, and how to use cleaning products appropriately, see our Introduction and Products sections. Generally, cleaning and disinfecting should be done at least once a day, but you may also want to check with your local public health department or other authority for further guidance on the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting. See the location-specific guidance below for specific areas to clean and disinfect within certain facility types.
- Consider attaching a wipeable cover on electronics to make cleaning easier.
- If doing laundry, clean and disinfect clothes hampers.
- Advise residents and/or staff with sensory or respiratory issues to avoid areas during and immediately after cleaning.
- Ventilation. Weather and systems permitting, the facility should be set up to increase air supply and decrease or cease recirculation. See our Ventilation section for specific resources and steps to take.
- If someone is sick and has been in the facility, close off the areas they visited and open windows or use fans to increase ventilation. Clean and disinfect areas and equipment used by the sick person. Cleaning and disinfecting should begin within 24 hours or as soon as is practical after exposure. If it has been more than seven days since the area was exposed, additional cleaning is not necessary.
- If your facility houses people overnight, review the CDC’s interim guidance for higher education and view our Homes page or the CDC guidance for information on cleaning and disinfecting bedrooms and bathrooms of those who are sick.
- High-risk locations and surfaces include health offices, lunchrooms, and athletic rooms. If multiple groups use the same space during the day, cleaning and disinfecting should occur between groups.
- Continue existing cleaning practices for outdoor areas.
- Target disinfectant use on frequently touched hard surfaces (such as handrails or benches) and make sure disinfectant has dried before allowing children to play.
- Cleaning and disinfecting wooden surfaces or groundcover is not recommended by CDC.
- Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not recommended and is not proven to reduce risk of COVID-19.
Read more from:
- Massachusetts Coalition of Occupational Health and Safety1
- New York State Department of Health2
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Child Care Programs
- You can view an example cleaning schedule here. Surfaces that should be cleaned and disinfected before and/or after each use include food preparation surfaces, tables and highchairs, countertops, computer keyboards, changing tables, and potty chairs.
- Keep all cleaning materials out of the reach of children.
- Toys that cannot be cleaned should not be used. Toys that have been put in a child’s mouth or otherwise contaminated should be set aside and cleaned in soapy water.
- Use bedding that can be washed. Keep each child’s bedding separate and wash weekly. Cloth toys should be machine washed before being used by a different child.
Read more from:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Children’s Environmental Health Network and Eco-Healthy Child Care:
Retirement and Independent Living Facilities
- Clean and disinfect common spaces at least daily depending on level of use.
- Prioritize frequently touched surfaces.
- Encourage residents to wash their hands often, including after using shared equipment or being in common spaces, and clean and disinfect their homes. Visit our Products section for more guidance.
Read more from:
Multifamily or Congregate Housing
- Limit use of shared objects (such as computer equipment) when possible and clean and disinfect between use.
- Stagger use and ensure that social distancing can be maintained in communal spaces.
- Install barriers (such as sneeze guards) when fitting.
- Clean and disinfect shared bathrooms at least twice a day.
- Offer assistance with cleaning and disinfecting to residents who need it.
Read more from:
- CDC: Shared or Congregate Housing
- CDC: Multifamily Housing
- HUD Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders
- National Multifamily Housing Council
Find additional resources for other location types: