Surfaces at home and the workplace can be potential sources of harmful viruses and bacteria. Cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces remove germs, dirt, and other impurities and help prevent the spread of disease and illness.

If you or someone is (or was) sick, ensure that surfaces are also sanitized or disinfected.

  • Sanitizing reduces germs to levels public health codes or regulations consider safe. Sanitizing is performed with weaker bleach solutions or sanitizing sprays.
  • Disinfecting kills most germs on surfaces and objects. Disinfecting is performed with stronger bleach or chemical solutions.

Before sanitizing or disinfecting, ensure that surfaces are clean. Clean surfaces with soap and water while scrubbing.

How to Safely Clean Surfaces

In most situations, regular cleaning is enough to prevent the spread of germs. Follow these tips to safely clean a variety surfaces:

  • Hard Surfaces (e.g., counters, light switches, desks, and floors)
    • Clean surfaces with soap and water or with cleaning products appropriate for use on the surface.
  • Soft Surfaces (e.g., carpet, rugs, and drapes)
    • Clean the surface using a product containing soap, detergent, or other type of cleaner appropriate for use on these surfaces.
    • Launder items according to the label’s care instructions and dry items completely.
    • Vacuum surfaces such as carpets and rugs and dispose of the dirt safely.
  • Laundry Items (e.g., clothing, towels, and linens)
    • Launder items according to the label’s care instructions and dry items completely.
    • It is safe to commingle an ill person’s laundry with other soiled laundry.
    • Clean and sanitize/disinfect clothes hampers or laundry baskets according to guidance for surfaces.
  • Electronics (e.g., tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines)
    • Apply a wipeable cover on electronics, which makes cleaning and disinfecting easier.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning the electronic device.
  • Outdoor Areas (e.g., patios and sidewalks)
    • Spraying cleaning or disinfection products on low-touch surfaces in outdoor areas—such as on sidewalks, roads, or groundcover—is not necessary, effective, or recommended.
    • Clean high-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars, play structures, and railings when visibly dirty.
    • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (such as wood play structures, benches, and tables) are NOT recommended.

Remember to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after cleaning.

Cleaning surface with soap and water.