Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

Every Day and When Someone Is Sick

Clean Regularly

Cleaning with a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent reduces the amount of germs on surfaces and decreases risk of infection from surfaces. In most situations, cleaning alone removes most virus particles on surfaces. Disinfection to reduce transmission of COVID-19 at home is likely not needed unless someone in your home is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours.

When and how to clean surfaces in your home

  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly (for example, daily) and after you have visitors in your home.
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops.
  • Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed. Clean them more frequently if people in your household are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. You might also choose to disinfect.
  • Clean surfaces using a product suitable for each surface, following instructions on the product label.
Illustration of someone cleaning a light switch

Reduce contamination of surfaces

Take steps in your home to limit contamination of surfaces from airborne particles or from touching surfaces with contaminated hands.

  • Ask visitors who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks.
  • Follow guidance for people who are fully vaccinated before inviting visitors to your home.
  • Isolate people who are sick with COVID-19.
  • Have everyone in your household wash hands often, especially when returning from outside activities.
Illustration of a man wearing a mask

When Someone is Sick: Disinfect Safely

Disinfect your home when someone is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours. Disinfecting kills any remaining germs on surfaces and reduces the spread of germs. If you are caring for someone who has COVID-19, detailed instructions for caregivers are available. Keep disinfectants out of the reach of children.

How to disinfect

  • ALWAYS follow the directions on the label.
  • The label includes instructions on how to use the product and specific instructions to keep you safe. Keep disinfectants out of the reach of children. Check the label to find out what personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to use your product safely (such as gloves, glasses, or goggles).
Illustration of a bottle with the word directions
  • Clean visibly dirty surfaces with household cleaners containing soap or detergent before disinfecting if your disinfectant product does not have a cleaning agent (check the label to verify).
  • Use a disinfectant product from EPA List Nexternal icon that is effective against COVID-19.
    • Read the label to make sure it meets your needs.
    • If products on EPA List Nexternal icon are not available, bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface.
    • Many products recommend keeping the surface wet with a disinfectant for a certain period of time (look at the “contact time” on the product label).
Illustration of a computer with an EPA website on the screen
  • Ensure adequate ventilation while using any disinfectant by keeping doors and windows open and using fans to help improve air flow.
Illustration of a ceiling fan spinning in a bedroom
  • Immediately after disinfecting, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.
    • If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Illustration of a woman washing her hands

Tips for using chemical disinfectants safely

  • Always follow the directions on the label of cleaning and disinfection products to ensure safe and effective use. You may need to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, or glasses, depending on the directions on the product label.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation (for example, open windows and run fans).
  • Use only the amount recommended on the label.
  • If diluting with water is indicated for use, use water at room temperature (unless stated otherwise on the label).
  • Label diluted cleaning or disinfectant solutions.
  • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Do not mix products or chemicals.
  • Do not eat, drink, breathe, or inject cleaning and disinfection products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm.
  • Do not wipe or bathe people or pets with any surface cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Special considerations should be made for people with asthma. Some cleaning and disinfection products can trigger asthma. Learn more about reducing your chance of an asthma attack while disinfecting to prevent COVID-19.

See precautions for household members and caregivers for more information.

Image of a bottle of disinfectant with the word caution

When Someone is Sick: Clean and Disinfect Your Home

Keep a separate bedroom and bathroom for a person who is sick (if possible).

If the sick person is able to clean

  • Provide dedicated cleaning and disinfecting supplies to the person who is sick.
  • In shared spaces, the person who is sick should clean and disinfect surfaces and items after each use.
Illustration of a person cleaning while wearing a mask

If the sick person cannot clean

Put on a mask and ask the sick person to put on a mask before entering the room.

  • Wear gloves if needed for your cleaning and disinfection product(s).
  • Only clean and disinfect the area around the person who is sick when needed (when the area is soiled) to limit your contact with the person who is sick.
  • Open outside doors and windows, and use fans and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) settings to increase air circulation.
Illustration of a person vacuuming while wearing a mask

After eating

  • Wear gloves when handling dishes and utensils for the person who is sick.
  • Wash dishes and utensils with soap and hot water or in the dishwasher.
  • Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.
Illustration of a woman washing dishes

Handling trash

  • Use a dedicated, lined trash can for the person who is sick.
  • Use gloves when removing garbage bags and handling and disposing of trash.
  • Wash hands after disposing of the trash.
Illustration of a man taking out the trash

When Someone Is No Longer Sick: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

After the person who was sick no longer needs to be separated

Wait as long as possible (at least several hours) before you clean and disinfect.

  • Less than 24 hours: Follow the guidance for cleaning and disinfecting when someone is sick. Clean and disinfect surfaces in the areas that the sick person used (such as the bedroom and bathroom) if you enter these areas less than 24 hours after the person is no longer sick. Wear a mask when you enter the room, open windows and use fans to help increase airflow, and always use disinfectants safely.
  • Between 24 hours and 3 days: Clean surfaces (disinfection is not needed) in the areas that the sick person used if you enter these areas between 24 hours and 3 days after the person is no longer sick.
  • After 3 days: No additional cleaning (aside from routine cleaning) is needed in the areas that the sick person used if you enter these areas more than 3 days after the person is no longer sick.
Illustration of someone in a bedroom wearing a mask

Cleaning and Disinfecting Different Types of Surfaces

Soft surfaces

For soft surfaces such as carpet, rugs, and drapes

  • Clean the soft surfaces (carpets, rugs, and drapes) with soap and water or with cleaners made for use on these surfaces.
  • Launder items (if possible) using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Disinfect using an EPA List Nexternal icon product for use on soft surfaces, if needed.
  • Vacuum as usual. If vacuuming an area occupied by a sick person or someone positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, wear a mask when vacuuming.
Illustration of a woman vacuuming while wearing a mask

Laundry

  • Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • It is safe to wash dirty laundry from a person who is sick with other people’s items.
  • If handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick, wear gloves and a mask.
  • Clean clothes hampers or laundry baskets according to guidance for surfaces.
  • Wash hands after handling dirty laundry.
Illustration of laundry being washed in a machine with hot water

Electronics

  • Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics (for example, phones, tablets, touchscreens, keyboards, and remote controls) to make cleaning easier.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the electronic device.
  • If needed, use a disinfectant from the EPA List Nexternal icon but note that many of the products for electronics contain alcohol because it dries quickly.
Illustration of someone wiping clean a phone