Disinfecting things protocol

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This page describes protocol, or, how to do things with QueerCare. You should check how to read protocol well if you're new to QueerCare.
Note regarding COVID: This page is not specifically relating to the COVID-19 pandemic pandemic, but includes information that will be useful for dealing with the pandemic.

This is the protocol for disinfecting things that you need to spread around the community- it's designed to reliably remove virus to a level where it's safe for someone immunocompromised to touch it.

You must not do this if you are coughing or show any symptoms of COVID-19.

You may also want to disinfect items which you are bringing into your own home, if you are concerned that they may have been exposed the the virus. In this case you can follow the instructions for mixing a bleach solution, but do not need to follow the other steps, since these are intended to prevent the items from becoming contaminated with any virus that you may yourself be carrying

How to disinfect things

Disinfection with bleach

  1. Do not use bleach to disinfect fruit, vegetables or anything that will be eaten directly.
  2. This should be carried out in a well-ventilated space, with windows open.
  3. Take care to avoid contact between bleach and bare skin. While mixing the solution, it is advisable to wear kitchen gloves to protect your skin from bleach splashes. (However, these gloves should then be changed before beginning to clean the items.)
  4. Wash your hands with soap and hot water before beginning. If wearing kitchen gloves which you have previously used, also wash your hands with soap while wearing the gloves.
  5. Mix 1 part home bleach with 20 parts cold water(see end note), and put it in a spray bottle, squirt bottle, or open topped container. Wipe down the outside of the bleach solution bottle with bleach solution, leave it for 10 minutes. Ten minutes later the item should only just be dry, or ideally slightly wet to the touch- if it’s not, you must add more bleach to your solution, or use more solution, then try again.
    • Make new bleach solution every 24 hours, as it will degrade rapidly.
  6. If your hair is likely to fall onto your face, tie it back before you begin to disinfect the items.
  7. Remove any protective gloves you are wearing
  8. Put on a mask or cloth face covering
  9. Wash your hands, and put on (fresh) disposable gloves if available. If you do not have any gloves, you must wash your hands very thoroughly with soap and hot water.
    • If putting on gloves, ensure that you touch only the cuff area with your bare hand, to prevent transmission of virus onto the exterior of the glove. (illustrated technique).
  10. Using a new cloth, or one which has been washed at a minimum of 60 degrees, wipe down a space to put disinfected items once you’ve wiped them down. Leave it for ten minutes.
  11. Wipe down the surface of each item you need to disinfect and regularly put more bleach solution on the cloth. Place each item on the disinfected surface.
  12. Do not talk as you work, or hold items near your mouth.
  13. With freshly washed hands, place items in a new or also disinfected plastic bag until needed. If you are wearing gloves, but have touched anything else since you touched the items, you must wash your hands and put on a fresh pair.
  14. Do not apply the bleach solution to loose fruit or vegetables, or to packaging with air holes which may allow bleach to penetrate.
    • Disinfect your sink and tap handles
    • Clean produce with a hard impermeable exterior (e.g. oranges) with soap and water, and rinse thoroughly.
    • Items which cannot be scrubbed, such as soft fruit, should be rinsed well under running water.

Removing some of the virus with soap and water.

This is a much less reliable option as compared to bleach solution. Try to get bleach.

  1. Clean each item or surface of visible dirt, as you normally would. Place items on a surface with no visible soil on it.
  2. Clean your tap handles with soap/washing up liquid.
  3. Wash your hands
  4. Using a new cloth, or one which has been washed at a minimum of 60 degrees,thoroughly scrub down a clean surface, to leave things you’ve cleaned on it.
  5. Wash your hands
  6. Using a new cloth, or one which has been washed at a minimum of 60 degrees,thoroughly scrub each item on all surfaces, and rinse in clean running water.
  7. Place it on the surface you scrubbed earlier.
  8. Do not talk as you work, or hold items near your mouth.
  9. With freshly washed hands, place items in a new or also washed plastic bag until needed.

Note on bleach dilution

The original draft of this protocol followed the World Health Organisation's interim guidance on COVID-19, which advised a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water, giving a total active ingredient of 0.5% sodium hypochlorite when standard household bleach containing 5% sodium hypochlorite is used. This has now been updated to advise an active ingredient of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, which would require standard household bleach to be diluted by 1:49 with water. However, manufacturers state that the sodium hypocholorite content of bleach degrades by 20% per year when stored, or faster if stored in warm temperatures. Since sodium hypochlorite concentrations lower than 0.1% are not fully effective against coronaviruses, we have therefore recommended a higher dilution to cover the possibility that people may be using bleach which is not fresh.