While the current science indicates that the coronavirus may remain on surfaces for hour or days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there have been no documented cases of infection from contaminated surfaces or objects, like doorknobs, countertops, keyboards or toys.
The virus is spread “much more commonly through respiratory droplets,” says the federal health agency.
Still, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is recommended as best practice, especially if you are living with someone who is ill or suspected to be ill.
The CDC defines cleaning as removing dirt and germs, although this process doesn’t kill germs. After cleaning, surfaces can be disinfected with chemicals that will kill any germs. Follow the EPA’s guidance on how to safely and effectively use disinfectants.
High-touch surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, toilets and electronics should be regularly cleaned with a household cleaner and disinfected with an EPA-registered product.
For electronics, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what cleaning and disinfecting products to use. If no instructions are available, use wipes or sprays with at least 70% alcohol.
If there is someone in your household who is ill with COVID-19, the CDC recommends daily cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in common areas in the home too.
However, you should consider cleaning an infected person’s bedroom and bathroom only as needed to reduce your own exposure to the sick person.
The CDC also advises that you should wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting. If reusable gloves are used, you should only use them for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19 and shouldn’t use them for other purposes.
It’s unknown how long the virus may remain infectious in the air, says the CDC. The agency recommends improving a room’s ventilation to help clear respiratory droplets from the air from someone who’s ill with COVID-19.