< Hygiene

How can we improve the hygiene of our environment?

Text updated on 2020-05-20

The virus is invisible. Have you identified all its hiding places? Dislodge it by washing or disinfecting!

If you don't want to bring the coronavirus into your home, here are some simple tips to follow.

Because SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus, it is fragile and unable to survive in the environment for long periods of time. Let's take this opportunity to eliminate it from our homes:

  1. Provisions brought into your home: Wash your hands after unpacking and discarding your groceries (see "Shopping" scenario).
  2. Surfaces in the dwelling handled often and by everyone (door handles, lift buttons...): disinfect every day with wipes soaked in 70% alcohol or diluted bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water).
  3. Digital: Mobile phones, remote controls, computer keyboards, and mice. These objects, handled very frequently, can be disinfected with wipes soaked in 70% alcohol (do not use a hydro-alcoholic solution containing hydrogen peroxide and glycerine, or bleach).
  4. Fresh produce: unless they can be cooked, it is wise to wash with soapy water and then rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  5. Pets: COVID-19 is a recent disease. We do not yet know if pets can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to humans. As a precautionary measure, it is therefore preferable not to have contact with pets that are not yours. It appears that both cats and dogs can get SARS-CoV-2 but without any apparent symptoms.
  6. Shoes: leave them at the entrance.

Remember: it is not the environment that is primarily responsible for the spread of the virus, but contact between people.

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Near a patient COVID-19 in Singapore who had a cough and a mild form of the disease, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was found in significant quantities on the following items: stethoscope, toilet bowl, light switches, bed edge, chair, door handle, sink, window. The most heavily contaminated area was the area near the bed.

Ong, S. W. X., Tan, Y. K., Chia, P. Y., Lee, T. H., Ng, O. T., Wong, M. S. Y., & Marimuthu, K. (2020). Air, surface environmental, and personal protective equipment contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from a symptomatic patient. Jama.

In a hospital in China, SARS-CoV-2 was found in significant quantities on shoe soles and on the floor. It is not known whether these viral particles were infectious. It is advisable to leave your shoes at the entrance to your home.

Guo, Z. D., Wang, Z. Y., Zhang, S. F., Li, X., Li, L., Li, C., ... & Zhang, M. Y. (2020). Aerosol and surface distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in hospital wards, Wuhan, China, 2020. Emerging infectious diseases, 26(7).

An article summarizing information on coronavirus resistance and effective antiseptics.

Geller, C., Varbanov, M., & Duval, R. E. (2012). Human coronaviruses: insights into environmental resistance and its influence on the development of new antiseptic strategies. Viruses, 4(11), 3044-3068.

Stability and methods for inactivation of coronaviruses.

Kampf et al, J Hosp Infect. 2020 Mar 104(3):246-251. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents.

Further reading

What do the abbreviations COVID, SARS, CoV, RNA, etc. mean?

How do you wash your hands?

Why put on a mask?

How do you put on and take off your mask?