Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 for Facilities Service and Cleaning Staff
This guidance is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through close contact from person to person in respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Although not as common, you could get COVID-19 if you touch an object or a surface that has the virus on it, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. That’s why washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is so important for protecting yourself and slowing the spread.
How long does the virus live on objects and surfaces?
We are still learning how long the virus lives outside of a person. A recent study found that the virus can live up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 2 to 3 days on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel. We don’t know yet what effect different conditions, such heat, cold, or exposure to sunlight have on the virus, which could make those times shorter.
You can protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by washing your hands and cleaning frequently used objects and frequently touched surfaces (like door knobs, railings, drinking fountains, and counters).
Should I wear a face mask while cleaning?
There are no recommendations to wear a face mask while cleaning, yet you may feel more comfortable if you wear one, especially if you cannot maintain proper social distancing while at work. Don’t buy or wear surgical or N95 masks, which are in high demand to protect our health care workers and first responders.
Should I wear gloves while cleaning?
Yes, you should wear disposable gloves while cleaning, but remember not to touch your face with your gloves. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after removing your gloves.
What should I do with my work clothing after I’m done cleaning?
Wash your clothes as you normally would. No special detergent is needed. Consider bringing a change of clothes to work and changing before you leave. Put your work clothes in a plastic bag until you can get home and wash them.
I’m worried about bringing germs home to my family. How can I protect them?
Follow basic prevention measures such as washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you are done cleaning (and wash them again when you get home). In addition, consider changing your clothing before you leave work and putting them in the wash before you interact with your children and family members.