Mop house twice with disinfectant: NEA releases interim guide on cleaning homes exposed to Wuhan virus

The guidelines apply to the homes of people contacted by the Ministry of Health who may have been exposed to the virus. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PEXELS

SINGAPORE - People whose homes may have been exposed to the Wuhan virus should sanitise their places by mopping them with disinfectant twice. This and other steps were detailed in an interim set of guidelines released by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on its website.

In an announcement on Wednesday (Jan 29) on the release of the guidelines, NEA said they apply to the homes of people contacted by the Ministry of Health who may have been exposed to the virus.

Such people are to avoid hosting visitors until after the place has been sanitised, even if the infected people have been isolated elsewhere.

They should avoid sharing household items such as dishes, eating utensils and bedding, and wash them thoroughly with soap and water after usage.

Those preparing to clean their homes should ensure they have a set of disposable gloves, a surgical mask, bleach or an appropriate disinfectant, a change of clothes, trash bags, water, disposable cloths, a pail and a mop.

They should put on the mask and gloves before starting to clean, and keep the windows open for ventilation.

The face or eyes should not be touched during the entire cleaning process.

They should first mop the floor of the whole house with the bleach or disinfectant, and use cloths soaked in the disinfectant solution to wipe frequently touched areas such as handles, doorknobs, switches and keyboards, as well as toilet surfaces.

Bed sheets, pillow covers, blankets and other fabrics should be washed in a washing machine with detergent.

Mattresses, pillows, carpets or cushions that were used by someone still being tested for the virus should not be used until that person is confirmed free of the virus.

After all this, those doing the cleaning should mop the floor of the entire home with the disinfectant solution again, avoiding going from an area that has not been cleaned to an area that has been cleaned.

This is to ensure the cleaned areas are not dirtied again.

When the cleaning is complete, all cloths and rags used, together with other waste from the cleanup, should be thrown into double-lined trash bags.

They can then remove their gloves and wash their hands with soap and water.

After this, they should remove their mask, and once again wash their hands with soap and water.

The mask and gloves should then be thrown into double-lined trash bags.

All the waste generated from the cleanup should be separated from other household waste, and then disposed of as regular waste as soon as possible.

Those who did the cleaning should shower and change their clothes immediately after the process is complete, and then air and ventilate their home.

A separate set of guidelines for cleaning non-healthcare commercial premises is also available on the NEA's website.

NEA emphasised on Wednesday: "As the transmission dynamics for the virus have yet to be fully determined, these guidelines are interim in nature, and will be updated as more is known."

NEA has also developed and sent sanitation and hygiene advisories to hotels, public and private transport operators, and food and beverage outlets, including hawker centres.

It has been providing support to residents and owners of premises to ensure that the cleaning and disinfection of areas are done in accordance with the interim guidelines.

For hotels where confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus infection were reported, the agency said it has additionally provided contacts and helped them liaise with cleaning companies that provide disinfection services.

It added: "While NEA continues with its efforts to provide guidance and support to owners of premises and relevant stakeholders involved in cleaning and estate maintenance of places with high human traffic, we urge collective efforts and cooperation from all parties to step up their existing sanitation measures and public health practices."


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