Healthy Homes Guide to Cleaning and Disinfection


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These selected resources cover information on how to keep your home clean and minimize infection. We encourage you to review them for more detail, but the key messages are:

  1. Cleaning and disinfecting is a two-step process. For more information on the distinction between cleaning and disinfecting, see our Introduction.
  2. Focus on frequently touched surfaces. Especially if you are short on time or juggling other priorities, you should focus on cleaning surfaces that are touched often throughout the day. This includes tables and chairs, doorknobs, light switches, electronics, handles, sinks, and toilets.
  3. Wash hands frequently. In addition to cleaning and disinfecting, all household members should clean their hands with soap and water often. See our Hand Hygiene and PPE page within this guide for more information.
  4. Increase ventilation. Increased air flow helps dilute virus droplets in the air. Easy ways to do this include opening windows, running window fans, or opening fire dampers. See our Ventilation page within this guide for more information.

When someone is sick in your home, you should follow these steps:

  • Keep a separate bedroom and bathroom for the sick person, if possible.
  • Limit your contact with the person who is sick and wear disposable gloves when cleaning areas they have used. See our Hand Hygiene and PPE page within this resource for further guidance.
  • Open windows and increase ventilation to outside air as possible. See our Ventilation page within this guide for more information.
  • Keep a dedicated trash can for the person who is sick.
  • If sharing a bathroom, clean the bathroom after each use by the infected person.


CDC: When and How to Clean Your Home
This page covers hand hygiene and cleaning recommendations for hard and soft surfaces, electronics, and laundry.

CDC: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home: Everyday Steps When Someone Is Sick
Review this page for clear and concise recommendations on cleaning hard and soft surfaces, laundry, and dealing with the bedroom, bathroom, food, and trash when someone is sick.

CDC: Improving Ventilation in Your Home
This CDC page includes the following tips on improving ventilation to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in your home if you have visitors. Note that it is also important to stay six feet apart and wear masks if you have visitors in your home. Visit our Ventilation page for more information.

  • Bring fresh air into your home by opening doors and windows or using fans. If running fans, point them away from people.
  • If you can control your HVAC through a thermostat, turn the fan setting to on instead of auto when you have visitors over.
  • Run kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
  • Limit the amount of time spent with visitors inside, as well as the number of visitors.

Safer Disinfectant Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This guide includes steps to disinfect safely, including how to wash sponges and towels after using them to clean surfaces.

COVID-19: Safely Cleaning Your Home
This website includes a FAQ section, including steps to keep your home environment healthy by addressing mold, pests, and indoor air quality.

12 Places to Clean in Your Home to Prevent the Spread of Illness
This resource lists 12 frequently touched areas to clean in your home: doorknobs, light switches, handles, hard-backed chairs, desks, tables, countertops, toilets, faucets, sinks, remote controls, and toiletries and makeup.


Latest page update: March 15, 2024.