If you’ve spent the past year excessively wiping down counters and disinfecting surfaces, you may be able to relax a bit more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on cleaning and disinfecting everyday household surfaces today, saying that in most situations with no known coronavirus exposure, scrubbing a surface with soap and water, rather than disinfectant sprays and wipes, will suffice. While the virus can land on surfaces, the probability of getting infected by it is extremely low, Inc. reports.
“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,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing.
This news isn’t shocking. In May 2020, the CDC announced that surfaces are not the primary way the virus spreads. Then, in October 2020, the agency stated that the virus spreads primarily through the air via lingering droplets exhaled from infected individuals. So, while hygiene theater, an act of over-cleaning, has some psychological benefits, it won’t do much to prevent COVID-19.
This doesn’t however mean that you should eliminate your cleaning routine. The CDC recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces at least once a day. And you may want to either clean more frequently or choose to disinfect if there’s a high transmission of COVID-19 in your community, a generally low number of people wearing masks, or the space is occupied by certain particularly vulnerable populations, such as people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Read the full story.