In what has been termed “one of the longest lockdowns in the world”, those who live in the state of Victoria have seen their lives turn upside down to various degrees. Work has had to move home, parties and weddings postponed, and retail therapy moved online. And our homes have seen the brunt of this: when leaving the house has been limited to outdoor exercise and grocery shopping, it’s no wonder that many people are no longer thinking of home being “where the heart is”.
Now that it’s permissible for households to see visitors again, some may be in a state of panic. Where do you even start? Dusty surfaces and oily kitchen benches may be one thing, but there are so many other aspects of the home that could have been neglected while in lockdown.
Here are some tips to help ensure your home is back in tip-top shape, whether this means you’re about to host a dinner party, have a playdate for your child, organise a BBQ for a small group of friends, or anything else in between.
Cleaning Surfaces Is a Must
It’s surely no secret by now that the coronavirus tends to linger on surfaces for hours and even days outside a host, especially if the space is located indoors. According to a study which tested the stability of the virus on various types of surfaces, plastic and stainless steel surfaces are more susceptible to the virus, compared to copper or cardboard.
This means that our homes are considered major targets, and the most important thing to consider when inviting people over is to make sure that all surfaces are disinfected. This includes oft-overlooked places like doorknobs, handrails, stairs and gadgets, which has been shown to harbour more germs than the average toilet seat.
There’s a big difference between limiting germs and destroying the intrusion of germs. Wear disposable gloves before you begin, and use a certified disinfectant (such as isopropyl alcohol or hypochlorous acid) and wipe all surfaces down. Avoid using the same cloth once each surface is done, and pay attention to areas such as the refrigerator and bathroom vanities.
Other Areas That Tend to Be Neglected (Even in “Normal” Times)
Experts indicate that there is a difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising. Cleaning removes dirt and grime, whereas sanitising kills 99 percent of germs and reduces the contamination of germs to safe levels. Disinfecting, however, kills all germs on a surface. Noting these differences will greatly reduce misunderstanding and ensure our homes are safe both for ourselves and our guests.
Of course, this means that apart from the regular surfaces that must be cleaned, there are other areas of our home that we tend to neglect even in “normal” times. These include large windows or screens, blinds, floor skirting, exhaust fans and areas under heavy furniture. If in doubt, hire a cleaning professional who will do a blitz on these areas while you attend to other tasks.
Wash Your Hands and Sanitise
By now, we should all know to regularly wash our hands and sanitise in order to limit germ spread. The Australian Department of Health and Services (DHHS) has implemented a COVID-19 Home Safety Plan, a step-by-step guide to ensure that our homes are safe for guests.
This includes washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser which contains at least 60 per cent alcohol – both upon returning home from outdoors, after handling and storing store-bought items, and before guests arrive. Guests should also be encouraged to do the same.