The last days, more and more people asked about my routines to countains the coronavirus from my place. So I have decided to write this document to share, with my family and friends, habits to manage the release of the coronavirus COVID-19 in homes.

- I am not a health professional, so feel free to adapt and challenge my writings.
- Containment strategy for everyone might be challenged by an efficient 'mass testing' strategy with contact tracing and targeted containement. But for now, let's adapt.

Before going into the details of the cleaning routines, let’s tackle those topics: live expectancy of the virus and methods to kill it.

Life expectancy of the COVID-19:

This short article [1] written by Dr. van Doremalen, Mr. Bushmaker, and Mr. Morris illustrates the life expectancy of the coronavirus on various surfaces.

Viability of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 in Aerosols and on Various Surfaces

The authors says the “results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to days”.

Methods to kill COVID-19

Methods to kill the virus are as well contacts with a highly concentrated alcohol based liquid (more than 60%) or friction with soap and water. The Forbes article [2] Soap and Water 101 illustrates how water and soap dissolved the lipids and proteins coating the virus.
More here [3] about disinfection and here [4] about how to wash your hands

Routines to manage the release of the COVID-19 in your home

Let’s focus on the goal of the article: the routines needed to be taken to avoid bringing the COVID-19 from the outside into your home. Two concepts here are key:
- The concept of the transition zone
- The concept of the 1 hand 1 task

The concept of the transition zone is the idea of having a dedicated place at the entrance of your home where things coming from outside are sorted ans contains before being brought in other parts of your home. In this transition zone, you will have 4 areas:
- one for bags to put food and delivery packagings
- one for “clean” food or products that will be brought into your home
- one for “must to be cleaned” food or products that will be brought into your home
- one used to store food, products or clothes coming from the outside

The concept of the 1 hand 1 task is the idea to use your right hand (if you are right handed, the left one if you are left handed) while being in a non controlled environment to perform action tasks like putting food in a basket or paying in a supermarket and to use your left hand (if you are right handed, the left one if you are left handed) to hold bags or cleaned stuff. That way at no time your left hand is in contact with unclean surfaces. So the right hand performs actions and the left hand holds clean objects, like grocery bags.

Let’s run a shopping scenario for food supply. If and only if you are lacking food, you might need to go out to buy some supplies. 3 goals: not being contaminated (so protections and routines are needed), not contaminating others (so protection and routines are needed) and not bringing home the virus (so routines are needed).

Before going out, hands must be washed, disposable gloves and a mask must be put on. To be efficient, the mask must map tiddly the shape of your face. You also have to wear clothes that you won’t wear after in your home. Keep a small bottle with disinfectant in your left pocket. Your phone is also in a left pocket. Cash and credit card in the right one. Contactless solutions must be chosen if and when possible.
As soon as you are going out, focus on the 1 hand 1 task. The right hand closes your door, the left hand holds your grocery bags. Elevators should be avoided if possible. If a car is used, the gloves and the driving wheel must be cleaned. To clean your right glove (the one performing actions except holding bags), use your left hand to reach out your disinfectant and then rub both hands together, like during a hand washing process [2].
When you arrive at the grocery store, do not use the public basket, use your bags. The left hand holds them, the right hand puts food and products inside. As cleaning food will be done later, focus on fruits and vegetables with a non edible skin. During the payment, the cashier might hold your foods and products to scan them. Put them back in your bags using the right hand. During the payment step, the same, use your right hand. Contactless payment is prefered.
Now you are back to your place: it is time to use the transition zone. Put your grocery bag on the floor. Clean your gloves while wearing them. Take off the packaging of the food (with the right hand), put it in the dedicated bags and place (with the left hand) the food inside in the area dedicated to “cleaned food”. So if you have biscuits with an external packaging, take it off and place the biscuits with single packaging in the dedicated place. If you have food with only one packaging, like pasta, put them in the area for “to be cleaned food”. You can also let them in the area used to store food. After 2 to 3 days they can be brought back to your home.
Then put off your gloves, throw them away in the bags with the food and product's packagings. Put off your clothes and shoes (they should be safe after 2 to 3 days), go to the bathroom, wash your hands [2] and put on the clothes you like to wear at home. A shower is for sure a good option. Go back to the transition zone to bring back the foods and products from the clean area. The food and product from the “must to be cleaned” should be put directly to a sink to be rubbed and washed with soap and water. No contact with your clothes.

Receiving deliveries would be the same: open your packages, put off the packaging and bring back to your home cleaned products or do the needed cleaning before putting them in the storage of your kitchens or rooms. You will see, it is easy to struggle with the 1 hand 1 task as often two hands are needed in a lot of tasks. No problem, do it with two hands, wash your hands and start again. If you have received letters, open the envelopes with two hands in the transition zone, wash your hands, then hold the envelopes with one hand to take off the letters... Take your time, step by step.

I took some time to run a shopping and a delivery scenario, but adapt the details the way that suits you. Just keep in mind the idea of not bringing things directly from outside to your home.

And a final word: having cleaning routines is not about adding anxiety. It is the opposite. It is about framing habits to perform efficiently. The probability of being really sick is very low, but the idea here is to act in order to decrease the spreading. So create your routines with a peaceful mindset 😉

Reminder: I am not a health professional, so feel free to adapt and challenge my writings.

Take care of your close ones and of yourself.



PS: the document [5] written by Zhejiang University School of Medicine might be very valuable for health professionals

[1] Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1
[2] Soap and Water 101
[3] When and How to Wash Your Hands
[4] Clean and desinfect
[5] Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment by The First Aliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine and Compiled According to Clinical Experience

  1. Very good step by step instructions on the proper handling of items during this crisis! Thanks

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