As COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation, many Americans continue to stock up on cleaning supplies to keep their homes free of the virus. Even those who don’t have brand name cleaners are beginning to make their own disinfectants. The virus can live up to 72 hours on surfaces, so it’s a good idea to clean your home regularly.

These tips aren’t mean to scare you, just help you keep your home clean and safe for everyone inside. Following precautions from health professionals and your local officials can help you reduce the risk of exposure. However, if you do have essential workers in the household or need to leave to grocery shop, here are some smart cleaning strategies.

  • Where Does the Virus Thrive?

The novel coronavirus can thrive practically anywhere, which makes it incredibly easy for the germ to find its way into your home. Even if you wash your hands, you can track bacteria in on your clothing, shoes and other items. Here are a few places germs are most likely to flourish in your home. 

  • Clothes 

Since people can transmit the virus through the air, every time you leave your house, you put yourself at risk of becoming a host. While many fear inhaling droplets, the disease can cling to your shoes and clothing. When you return from your grocery run or walk in the park, you may unknowingly be giving a ride to the virus hitching its way into your home. Therefore, it’s best to toss clothes in the hamper after returning.

  • Doorknobs 

Epidemiologists consider everyday objects like doorknobs to be likely carriers of COVID-19 as well. Of course, door handles in public places like grocery stores and offices are most likely to be contaminated. However, by touching these surfaces, you can bring the germs into your own home.   Prevent this spread by washing your hands and disinfecting often-touched objects regularly. 

  • Packaging 

Your clothing and hands aren’t the only things that can track COVID-19 into your home. Food and the bags that contain them may also harbor germs if a contaminated person touched them. Anything you bring home from the store has the potential to contaminate your abode.

It’s smart to wipe down packaging when you bring it home. Remove all packaging, wash fruits and vegetables immediately and disinfect counters where you unpackaged items. There’s no need to go crazy.

  • Reliable Cleaning Solutions for COVID-19

The number of places the virus may be lurking is enough to make anyone a bit anxious. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions you can use to disinfect your home, even if stores have run out of brand name cleaners and wipes. Here are a few cleaning solutions for COVID-19

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

This cleaner is a natural, safe and eco-friendly disinfectant that gets rid of mold, stains and, most importantly, the coronavirus. Don’t dilute with water or other solutions. Instead, spray or pour directly on surfaces you wish to disinfect. Then, wipe with paper towels or a clean cloth. 

  • Isopropyl Alcohol 

Isopropyl alcohol is also effective against the virus. Before applying this cleaner, wash the surface with water and detergent. Then, use the solution — which should contain at least 70% alcohol — on hard surfaces. Let it sit for at least 30 seconds, then wipe clean. Typically, isopropyl alcohol is safe to use on most hard surfaces but may discolor some plastics. 

  • Bleach 

Some stores may have already run out of bleach. However, if you happen to have some at home, this chemical is a powerful virus-fighting agent. First, check the label to ensure the product isn’t expired. Then, make a solution by mixing one-third cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Spray down hard surfaces and leave them to sit for at least one minute. After disinfection, the solution should continue to kill germs for 24 hours. 

  • Stop Germs at the Door 

Of course, the best method of preventing COVID-19 at home is to reduce the risk of it entering in the first place. While easier said than done, there are precautions you can take to minimize the risk of bringing the virus into your home.

For example, taking your clothes off immediately upon entering and disinfecting the entryway will prevent germs from spreading. You might also remove your shoes before stepping inside. Another brilliant idea is to set up a sanitizing station right inside the door with hand sanitizer and cleaning solutions.

This strategy has been used by the families of health care workers across the country. A cleaning station can help reduce the risk of transmission and be a helpful reminder to take precautions even after a long day of work.

  • Deep Clean Your Home During COVID-19

Regardless, you’ll still want to give your entire a home a good wipe-down every few days as long as the coronavirus continues to make headlines. The best strategy for deep cleaning your home is to begin at one end and work your way across each level room by room.

This strategy will prevent you from tracking germs through the house as you clean. Plus, it’ll keep you from getting distracted, allowing you to clean quickly and efficiently.

Holly Welles is the editor of The Estate Update and writes home improvement pieces to help readers figure out what to do with their living spaces. You can find more of her advice by following her on Twitter @HollyAWelles.