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Disinfect, disinfecting, disinfection. Exactly how many times have we heard that?
As we know full well in the time of COVID-19, a proper disinfection plan should be in place. The way we handle deliveries, groceries and other packages have never been more important. This global pandemic of COVID-19 has forced non-essential businesses to close and grocery stores have limited hours, which directs customers to online pickup and delivery services. Even then you may not get what you need.
Regardless of stay-at-home orders, you may have to shop in person. No matter how you shop, many hands are involved to get you what you need from the warehouse to the store.
If we didn’t think about it much before, it’s definitely on everyone’s minds now. “How many hands touch my package(s) or food?” How to disinfect is the real question.
Look at how we shop as customers:
- Personal (in-person) Shopping
How to Disinfect: Limit Your Exposure
Effectively disinfecting your items starts at limiting personal exposure to it.
Try to shop at a time when the foot traffic is low. You can find this information on Google after you type your store in the search bar. (See image above)
How to disinfect before you go?
- Wear clean clothes and amask or bandana even if you’re not sick.
- Bring disinfectant to use in the store. Wear gloves if you have them.
- Stick to your shopping list. Stay 6 feet apart. Use a card to pay not cash.
How to disinfect at home?
- After you return, leave your groceries and shoes at the door.
- Put your clothes in the washer. Shower. Put on a clean set of clothes.
- Prepare to disinfect your grocery items.
Once you checkout online, most mail carriers have a “delivery information” section so you can tell the driver how to deliver your packages. You can ask for them to drop it at your door, which many are already doing.
And people are still arguing about it. The World Health Organization says it’s safe to accept packages because the survival rate of the virus on those packages is low. Dr. Shah, Medical Director at Next Health agrees and says it’s due to the harsh conditions the packages travel through but admits catching the virus is possible. At Refinery 29, he states: “Another risk is your delivery person. If they're carrying COVID-19, you could potentially pick it up from them.”
Even the CDC mentions it’s possible. Though it’s not the main way it spreads right now, research is still developing so be cautious.
How to Disinfect: Use Approved Disinfectant
How to disinfect packages at home?
- The general rule is to seclude the packages away from others when sanitizing and to disinfect the surfaces you place them on. Hard surfaces are high-touch areas.
- ThePrepared.com has done a great amount of digging into how to disinfect packages in greater detail. You can let the packages sit out for a few days after sanitation, but it’s not always realistic if you live in a home with no extra space. In that case, open them.
- Wash your hands before opening the package. Use gloves or other protection to open the box and trash it immediately. Be sure to use an approved disinfectant to wipe down the contents inside. Allow them to dry, then wash your hands.
How to disinfect if you have limited space?
If you don’t have much space, leave items at the front or back door. If you have a balcony, that’s another option.
Having designated areas to disinfect and a proper method makes sanitizing less stressful. Just make sure you wipe down all surfaces and wash your hands properly afterward.
The following precautions apply to any food or a non-food item. Since curbside/pick up involves direct contact further details of disinfecting are explained.
Curbside/pickup is similar to delivery but involves a grocery associate that loads groceries in your car. Your items are in bags instead of boxes.
It would be helpful to wipe down your car door handles and trunk after getting home and best to keep disinfectant in your car for this reason.
How to Disinfect: Food + Non-Food
How to disinfect vegetables and fruit?
- Following the guidelines of disinfecting yourself first (see above), then disinfect your items. As far as veggies and fruits, loose edibles like cucumbers and bananas should be washed with warm water.
- Bagged and pre-packaged food like potatoes and apples can stay in its package unless you want to wash it. The bag needs a good wipe down though if you’re not ready to take it out. Use an approved disinfectant for this and allow it to dry before storing it away.
- After items are dried you can safely store them. Again it’s not necessary to keep them out a few days, but many are doing it. Next, wipe down and sterilize all surfaces especially countertops and anything else you used to open groceries. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly.
How to disinfect non-food?
The same rule remains for non-food items. The difference is that these items don’t spoil. If you have room, you can leave them out to dry.
However, all that’s necessary is a good disinfectant wipe and allowing it to completely dry.
Depending on the material you may not be able to use certain disinfecting chemicals on it. In this case, use your best judgment. If it’s washable, wash it instead.
Germs and other diseases can spread by 1 person’s lack of hygiene and that’s why it’s important to disinfect and take public health information seriously.