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New CDC COVID cleaning guidelines emphasizes soap and water for surfaces

The CDC director said regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergent is enough to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 from surfaces in your home.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting homes and facilities to protect against COVID-19.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the changes Monday, saying that science has shown that regular cleaning of surfaces with soap is enough to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus via surface transmission.

Walensky explained that the risk of a person being infected by coronavirus through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects is low.

"Cleaning with household cleaners containing soap or detergent will physically remove germs from surfaces," Walensky described. "This process does not necessarily kill germs, but reduces the risk of infection by removing them. Disinfecting uses a chemical product, which is a process that kills the germs on the surfaces."

The CDC director added that disinfection in indoor settings, including homes and schools, is only recommended when there's been a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case. 

The CDC website now lists specific guidelines for cleaning regularly and steps for disinfecting homes, bedrooms and bathrooms when someone has COVID-19.

"The risk of surface transmission can also be reduced by wearing masks consistently and correctly, washing your hands, and by following CDC and OSHA guidance to maintain healthy facilities," Walensky said. 

According to Walensky,  fogging, fumigation and wide-area or electrostatic spray isn't recommended as a primary method of disinfection and has several safety risks to consider. 

She noted that you can also help reduce the risk of COVID-19 surface transmission by properly wearing a mask and washing your hands.

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