CDC is updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home, Workplace, and Other Community Settings

Monkeypox spreads between people through direct contact with an infectious rash, body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Some people have been found to have infection but no symptoms. To date, however, there is no evidence that monkeypox spreads from people with no symptoms. CDC will continue to monitor for new or changing information about transmission.

It may be possible to become infected after touching a surface that has been used by someone with monkeypox. However, in most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low.

The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol before eating or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that have been touched by a person with monkeypox can also help prevent the spread to others.

This document provides considerations for cleaning and disinfecting homes, workplaces, and community settings for the monkeypox virus. It is not intended for healthcare settings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Homes When Someone Is Sick

To prevent the spread to others when staying at home (isolating), people with monkeypox should follow the guidance in this section until your monkeypox rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed.

ISOLATING ALONE AT HOME: During isolation at home, people with monkeypox should clean and disinfect their living spaces to minimize the risk of infection to others. If you have rash on your hands, wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting items. Throw away the gloves after use and wash hands with soap and water.

ISOLATING WITH OTHERS AT HOME: The isolation and infection control guidance should be followed if the person with monkeypox shares living space with others during isolation. Ways to prevent the spread to others include:

  • If cleaning and disinfection is done by someone other than the person with monkeypox (for example, an uninfected family member or friend), they should protect themselves by wearing disposable gloves, a well-fitting mask or respirator, such as an N95, and clothing that fully covers their arms and legs.
  • Do not share items that may have the virus on them such as bed linens, clothing, towels, wash cloths, drinking glasses, or eating utensils until the items are disinfected as described in How to Clean and Disinfect Types of Surfaces.
  • Cover upholstered furniture and porous materials that cannot be washed with sheets, blankets, tarps, and other covers.

People who have recovered from monkeypox and can end their isolation should clean and disinfect their entire living space, including frequently touched surfaces, shared items or items that may be used by others in the home, and any objects or fabrics that were used during isolation.

How to Protect Yourself When Cleaning and Disinfecting at Home

Protect yourself by following these steps for safe and effective cleaning practices and disinfectant use:

  • If your disinfectant product label does not say that it can be used for both cleaning and disinfection, clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfection.
  • Use an EPA-registered disinfectant from List Q: Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens. Always read the product label to make sure it can be used on the type of surface you are disinfecting (such as hard or soft surfaces).
  • Always follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
  • Check the product label to see if personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as gloves and goggles) is required for safe use.

Do not dry dust or sweep, which may spread dust particles that contain virus into the air.

  • Wet cleaning methods are preferred, such as disinfectant wipes, sprays, and mopping.
  • Vacuuming is okay if you are using a vacuum with a high-efficiency air filter. If a high-efficiency air filter is not available, make sure the person vacuuming wears a respirator (such as an N95).

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after cleaning. Be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • If hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water before using hand sanitizer.

Clean and disinfect in the following order to minimize spreading the virus in the household:

  1. Collect and throw away general waste, such as bandages, paper towels, food packaging, and other general trash items
  2. Laundry
  3. Hard surfaces
  4. Soft Surfaces
  5. Carpet and flooring
  6. Throw away waste generated from cleaning and disinfecting (such as disinfectant wipes)
  7. Wash your hands

For more safety considerations visit: When and How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home.

How to Clean and Disinfect Types of Surfaces

Laundry

  • Contaminated laundry, which is laundry used by a person with monkeypox, should not be mixed with other laundry.
  • Put used or contaminated clothing, linens and bedding materials, towels, and other fabric items in either:
    •  A waterproof container or bag that can be disinfected or thrown away afterwards
    •  A fabric bag that may be used and can be washed along with the dirty or contaminated items
  • Do not shake or handle dirty or contaminated laundry in a way that may spread particles with virus into the air
  • Wash laundry in a standard washing machine with detergent, following instructions on the label. Laundry sanitizers may be used but are not necessary.

Options when in-home laundering is not available:

While using laundry services outside of the home by a person isolating for monkeypox is not ideal, in-home laundry may not be available for all people. If possible, the person with monkeypox should wait until isolation ends and then wash and dry their clothes. If it is necessary to clean laundry outside of the home before isolation ends, the following may be considered:

  • The person with monkeypox can do their own laundry at a self-service laundry facility while following the recommended precautions for Preventing Spread to Others.
  • A family member or friend that does not have suspected or confirmed monkeypox and can follow appropriate precautions (such as, use of gloves, well-fitting mask or respirator, such as an N95, and clothing that covers exposed skin) may wash and dry clothes outside of the home.
  • If you need to use commercial laundry services for washing and drying contaminated fabric materials (such as, clothing, linens, and bedding), coordinate first with public health department and the laundry facility to make sure workers know to take appropriate precautions.
  • Dry cleaning is not recommended.

Hard (non-porous) Surfaces

  • Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items using soap and water and an EPA-registered disinfectant from List Q: Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens that can be used on hard surfaces.
    • Commonly touched items include surfaces like tables, countertops, door handles, toilet flush handles, faucets, light switches, and floors.
  • Surfaces inside refrigerators, freezers, other appliances, interior cabinet spaces, or drawers should be cleaned and disinfected if they have been used by the person with monkeypox.
  • Wash soiled dishes and eating utensils in a dishwasher with detergent and hot water or by hand with hot water and dish soap.

Soft (porous) Surfaces

  • If the person with monkeypox had direct skin contact or drainage of fluids from rashes onto soft surfaces, such as upholstered furniture, carpets, or rugs, you can use steam cleaning.
  • Disinfection may not be possible for some soft surfaces, like mattresses, if the item has been heavily contaminated with excessive drainage of body fluids from rashes and may need to be thrown out and replaced.
  • If the person with monkeypox did not have a lot of contact with soft furnishings, disinfect the surface with an EPA-registered disinfectant from List Q: Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens that can be used on soft surfaces.

Waste Disposal

The person with monkeypox should use a dedicated, lined trash can in the room where they are isolating. Collect any soiled waste, such as bandages, paper towels, food packaging, and other general trash items and make sure it’s put in a sealed bag.

  • Any gloves, bandages, or other waste and disposable items that have been in direct contact with skin should be placed in a sealed plastic bag, then thrown away in the dedicated trash can.
  • The person with monkeypox or other household members should use gloves when removing garbage bags and handling and getting rid of trash.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Workplaces and Community Settings

If employers, administrators, or operators are notified that a person with suspected or confirmed monkeypox was in your facility, clean and disinfect the space. Focus on items and surfaces that were in direct contact with the skin of the person with monkeypox.

If you use contract cleaning services or commercial laundry facilities, talk with the contractor about the risks so that cleaning staff can take the proper precautions. Restaurants, bars, and other establishments with special cleaning and sanitation requirements should also follow rules according to state and local requirements.

How to Protect Employees When Cleaning and Disinfecting at Work

Workers cleaning and disinfecting areas or performing laundry for a person with suspected or confirmed monkeypox should wear personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE can help protect workers from exposure to Monkeypox virus and harmful levels of chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection.

Provide the recommended PPE for protection from Monkeypox virus, which includes:

Do not dry dust or sweep, which may spread dust particles that contain virus into the air.

  • Wet cleaning methods are preferred, such as disinfectant wipes, sprays, and mopping.
  • Vacuuming is okay if you are using a vacuum with a high-efficiency air filter. If a high-efficiency air filter is not available, make sure the person vacuuming wears a respirator (such as an N95).

Workers should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after cleaning. Be sure to wash hands immediately after removing gloves.

  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • If hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water before using hand sanitizer.

How to Clean and Disinfect Types of Surfaces

Laundry

  • Contaminated laundry, which is laundry used by a person with monkeypox, should not be mixed with other laundry.
  • Put used or contaminated clothing, linens and bedding materials, towels, and other fabric items in either:
    • A waterproof container or bag that can be disinfected or thrown away afterwards
    • A fabric bag that may be used and can be washed along with the dirty or contaminated items
  • Do not shake or handle dirty or contaminated laundry in a way that may spread particles with virus in the air.
  • Wash laundry in a standard washing machine with detergent, following instructions on the label. Laundry sanitizers may be used but are not necessary.

Hard (non-porous) Surfaces

  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items using soap and water and an EPA-registered disinfectant from List Q: Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens that can be used on hard surfaces.
    • Commonly touched items include surfaces like desks, conference tables, countertops, door handles, toilet flush handles, faucets, light switches, and floors.
  • Wash soiled dishes and eating utensils in a dishwasher with detergent and hot water or by hand with hot water and dish soap.

Soft (porous) Surfaces

  • If the person with monkeypox had direct skin contact or drainage of fluids from rashes onto soft surfaces, such as upholstered furniture, carpets, or rugs, you can use steam cleaning.
  • Disinfection may not be possible for some soft surfaces, like mattresses, if the item has been heavily contaminated with excessive drainage of body fluids from rashes and may need to be thrown out and replaced.
  • If the person with monkeypox did not have a lot of contact with soft furnishings, disinfect the surface with an EPA-registered disinfectant from List Q: Disinfectants for Emerging Viral Pathogens that can be used soft surfaces.

Waste Disposal

Treat or get rid of waste in accordance with applicable waste management laws.

For more information, the Department of Transportation has monkeypox-specific information in Appendix F-2 of the federal interagency guidance for managing solid waste contaminated with a Category A infectious substance.

Additional Consideration for Employers

Develop policies for worker protection and train all cleaning staff on site before providing cleaning tasks. Employers must follow applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, including:

  • Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), including training workers on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace.
  • PPE (29 CFR 1910.132) and Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) standards.
  • Other OSHA requirements, including those established by state plans, whenever such requirements apply.
  • OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) applies to occupational exposure to human blood and other potentially infectious materials that typically do not include respiratory secretions, or rash lesions fluid or pus, that may contain monkeypox virus (unless visible human blood is present). However, the provisions of the standard offer a framework that may help control some sources of the virus, including exposures to body fluids (such as, respiratory secretions) not covered by the standard.

Employers and workers can learn more by visiting: Workplaces and Businesses Toolkit | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC