This page describes enhanced cleaning procedures, and provides instructions for cleaning surfaces to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

Tips on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Workspace
UTD COVID-19 Social Distancing Protocol
General Cleaning for Labs and Adjoining Offices During COVID-19 Transmission
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. However, disinfecting a surface after cleaning can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

What is the recommended practice for disinfecting surfaces?

Wear disposable gloves and eye protection when disinfecting surfaces, and ensure the area has good ventilation. If the area does not have good ventilation, disinfect and leave the area until the surfaces have dried. Discard gloves after each cleaning and clean hands immediately.

Using paper towels, first clean dirty surfaces with a detergent or soap and water, then carefully apply disinfectant and wipe to evenly distribute the disinfectant. Avoid spraying disinfectant on the surfaces to prevent the creation of aerosols. Allow surfaces to air dry. Discard paper towels and disinfecting wipes into the regular trash.

Which disinfectants kill the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?

The virus is effectively killed by using 10% freshly prepared bleach, 70% ethanol, or disinfecting wipes. Virkon-S is a safe disinfectant for use around animal areas.  Do not mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. The EPA has provided a helpful list of registered disinfectants effective against the novel coronavirus, including ready-to-use Clorox and Lysol products.

How long does it take for a disinfectant to kill the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?

Consult the product label for the contact time or dwell time.  Cleaning wipes do not kill the virus, so be sure to use disinfecting wipes and follow the instructions carefully. Disinfecting wipes must remain wet to be effective.  Be sure to tightly close the lid when not in use. 

Due to the novel nature of this virus, it may not be listed on product labels at this time. The EPA has an accelerated process in place to allow for novel viruses to be added to product labels.  If SARS-CoV-2 is not specifically listed on your product label, you may consult with the Safety team.

How frequently should disinfection occur?

Disinfection frequency depends on the amount of activity in the lab and shared office areas. At the very least, disinfection should occur daily before closing for the day. Janitorial services are providing stepped-up cleaning of cafeterias, breakrooms, bathrooms and other common areas nightly. Contact your building manager or work services for details regarding janitorial services.

What surfaces need to be disinfected?

Highly touched surfaces such as chairs, desktops, computer keyboards, computer displays, remotes, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, doorknobs, doors, door push plates, card readers, refrigerator/freezer handles and their doors; equipment panels/switches, benchtops; biosafety cabinet and fume hood sashes and their working surfaces; biowaste container lids, commonly used hand tools and small objects (pipettors), shared PPE (laser goggles). Be careful when disinfecting sensitive equipment to prevent disruption of the equipment.

What are some recommended daily hygiene practices?

Limit touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) and having close contact with others. Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently. Keep a 6-foot distance from others to reduce potential person-to-person transmission. 

Sneeze into your arm to reduce the spread of the virus in respiratory droplets (the common transmission pathway for the virus). While the virus is not thought to transmit effectively by a person’s contact with surfaces, current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in our working and living spaces.

Do not share your personal phone, pen/pencil/computer mouse with others. If using shared laptops or keyboards, disinfect before each use (take care to prevent liquid from getting inside the computer).

How can we promote effective handwashing in our labs and offices?

Where available, use hand sanitizer stations. Ensure your break areas and lab sink areas have a mounted soap dispenser with soap.  Contact facilities management to obtain a mounted dispenser and refills.

Post handwashing signs in bathrooms and break areas.  The CDC has many signs available: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/posters.html

Acknowledgement:  Significant portions of this page’s text was taken from Stanford’s web site and modified for use at UT Dallas.