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Soap and water are enough to reduce COVID-19 risk in your home, says CDC

Federal guidelines now say soap and water are sufficient in cleaning your home, rather than chemical disinfectants.

SEATTLE — Soap and water may be all that’s needed to keep surfaces coronavirus-free in your home, according to the latest federal guidance released Monday. 

“In most situations, regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergent, not necessarily disinfecting those surfaces, is enough to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Walensky explained that the risk of a person being infected by coronavirus through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects is low.

"Cleaning with household cleaners containing soap or detergent will physically remove germs from surfaces," Walensky described. "This process does not necessarily kill germs, but reduces the risk of infection by removing them. Disinfecting uses a chemical product, which is a process that kills the germs on the surfaces."

Unless there is a positive case in your home, or has been within a day, the CDC says you can switch from a chemical disinfectant to simple soap and water. 

“My sister put delivered groceries in the garage for three days before she would touch them,” said Tom Kayser of Seattle, recalling early pandemic behavior.

The coronavirus spreads through the air and, for the most part, does not transmit via surfaces; it can, but the CDC calls the risk low. 

"The risk of surface transmission can also be reduced by wearing masks consistently and correctly, washing your hands, and by following CDC and OSHA guidance to maintain healthy facilities," Walensky said.  

CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting your home

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