Community Organizations Guidance

This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of rooms or areas where  those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 have visited. It is aimed at limiting the survival of the virus that causes COVID-19 in key environments. These recommendations will be updated when additional information becomes available. CDC Guidance can be found here

These guidelines focus on community, non-health care facilities (e.g., schools, institutions of higher education, offices, daycare centers, businesses, community centers) that do and do not house persons overnight. These guidelines are not meant for cleaning staff in health care facilities or repatriation sites, households, or for others for whom specific guidance already exists.

Timing and location of cleaning and disinfection of surfaces

At a school, day care center, office, or other facility that does not house people overnight:

  • It is recommended to close off areas used by ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize the potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

At a facility that does house people overnight:

  • Follow Interim Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education on working with state and local health officials to isolate ill persons and provide temporary housing as needed.
  • It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill person and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  • In areas where ill persons are housed in isolation, follow Interim Guidance for Households. This includes focusing on cleaning and disinfecting common areas where staff/others providing services may come into contact with ill persons but reducing cleaning and disinfection of bedrooms/bathrooms used by ill persons to as needed.
  • In areas where ill persons have visited or used, continue routine cleaning and disinfection as in this guidance.

How to Clean and Disinfect

Surfaces

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol, and most common U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

  • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time).
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces.
  • If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.
  • Otherwise, use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this link).

Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

  • Do not shake dirty laundry; this minimizes the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

Last Updated:  6/17/2020