WITH coronavirus cases still rising in the UK, people are frantically doing all they can to protect themselves.
And while washing your hands remains the most effective method, there are other steps we can all take to reduce the risk of the deadly bug spreading further.
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In particular, with scientists revealing that coronavirus can live on surfaces for nine days, it's important people deep-clean their homes and clothes to fend off the highly contagious virus.
And with the UK currently on lockdown and people cooped up inside, there's no reason you shouldn't be keeping up good home hygiene habits to stay healthy and prevent the spread of deadly Covid-19.
Here, we take you through exactly how you should be deep cleaning your home and clothes to stop coronavirus in its tracks…
Cleaning your home
Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that coronavirus can survive on some inanimate surfaces like bed frames, door handles and kitchen cabinets for up to nine days – suggesting that thorough, regular cleaning is essential.
Alexa Mieses, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of North Carolina, said people should be cleaning and disinfecting their houses regularly.
When it comes to cleaning, she told the Huffington Post: "You should be doing a regular cleaning routine, which includes removing dirt and dust, and regular household cleaning products are fine for this."
But when it comes to disinfecting surfaces, Prof Mieses urges people to use bleach or a cleaner with 70 per cent alcohol.
How often you should disinfect depends on whether you are in the high-risk category for Covid-19, how many people live in your home, and how often you all share common items and surfaces.
Though there’s no hard and fast rule, you should probably disinfect more frequently if you’re high-risk or have a family member working outside the home.
If someone in your home is experiencing coronavirus symptoms, you will also want to disinfect surfaces more.
You probably don’t need to clean your whole house from top to bottom every day, but rather focus on surfaces including doorknobs, tables, sinks, light switches, remote controls, toilets and handles – anything that is touched often.
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Another thing you can also do to keep your home clean amid the coronavirus pandemic is to make sure you air out the spaces you are spending time in regularly.
An infected person will produce thousands of tiny droplets which contain the virus every time they cough and coronavirus can survive in the air for up to three hours.
So by opening the window, you can remove and disperse the droplets and reduce the amount of virus in the air – which will reduce the risk of infection for others.
Household products you should use
There are four key products you should be using to eliminate traces of coronavirus in your home:
1. Soap and water
Soap and water are your first line of defence to remove the virus from surfaces.
Soap interferes with the fats in the virus shell and lift the virus from surfaces and this is then rinsed off by water.
Of course, you also need to wash your hands when you come in from the shops and wash your food as normal.
The active ingredient in bleach – sodium hypochlorite – is very effective at killing the virus.
Make sure you leave the bleach to work for ten to 15 minutes then give the surface a wipe with a clean cloth.
The bleach works by destroying the protein and what’s known as the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of the virus – this is the substance that gives the blueprint for making more virus particles when you become infected.
3. Surgical spirit
Surgical spirit is mostly made up of the alcohol ethanol which has been shown to kill coronaviruses in as little as 30 seconds.
Like bleach, the alcohol destroys the protein and RNA that the virus is made up of.
Moisten a cloth with some neat surgical spirit and rub it over a surface. This will evaporate and you will not need to wipe it off.
4. Surface wipes
The active ingredient in surface wipes in an antiseptic – usually benzalkonium chloride.
The wipes work by physically removing germs through the pressure you apply when you use them, and the germs then attach to the wipe.
They also leave a layer of the antiseptic on the surface that works to kill germs.
The antiseptic is shown to work well on bacteria as well as on coronaviruses that infect mice and dogs – but so far, there is no evidence that antiseptics can kill human coronaviruses.
Cleaning your clothes
It's important to remember your clothes and towels can be a hot-bed for germs, especially if they're used by more than one person.
This is why it's key you wash your clothes more than you usually would during the coronavirus outbreak.
In particular, the higher the temperature you wash your clothes in – the more likely you are to kill of any signs of Covid-19.
And "the much revered 30 degree wash" won't necessarily be enough to kill the virus.
Laundryheap CEO Deyan Dimitrov says: "Our core body temperature runs at an average of 37C, and provides the ideal conditions for bacteria and viruses to thrive.
"This means if you’re looking to fight off the dreaded coronavirus, the much revered 30C wash might not always pack the punch needed.
“Most viruses won’t survive in temperatures over 60C, so you could opt for this setting items that are particularly germ ridden and washed less often, like tea towels, bedding, bath towels, gloves, scarves, and children’s clothing."
However, if you’re concerned about your environmental impact by washing clothes at a high temperature, just make sure you're washing clothes far more often instead.
You also need to make sure you get the formula right while washing your clothes during coronavirus lockdown – as using extra detergent can be counter-productive.
Deyan says: "Too much detergent will create extra soap suds which will cling to your laundry and trap dirt there, rather than lift it away.
"Instead, opt for the recommended dosage, and when it comes to fabric softener, try giving white vinegar a go instead of chemical alternatives.
"It’s naturally antibacterial and works wonders at softening and freshening up clothes. Just add ½ a cup to the washing machine drawer during the rinse cycle.
"The smell will dissipate in the machine but you can add some essential oils if you’re after added fragrance."
If you're sharing a house with someone who is poorly it is key you make sure everything is disinfected quickly and effectively after them.
Experts urge people to handle all bedding and clothing with rubber gloves and wash straight away – and to never leave it sitting in a hamper.
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