In response to the coronavirus outbreak, I am following the CDC’s guidelines and adopting a disinfecting regimen on top of my usual cleaning procedures. I’m hoping to have everything I need to start doing this by the end of the week. I’ll be using disinfecting cleaners to clean surfaces and touch points (light switches and knobs mainly) in the bathrooms and kitchen and major touch points throughout the other areas of the homes that I clean.
I’m also adopting methods to minimize the dirt I bring in from the outside. Some of this I already do–for instance, using clean cloths and mop-heads in each home–but in addition, I’ll be wearing disposable shoe covers, washing my hands frequently, wearing rubber gloves the whole time I’m cleaning, and disinfecting, between jobs, my brushes and tools used.
To help minimize the dirt brought in, I would also like to start using the vacuum cleaner you have at your home, where I’m not already using it, so that I’m not bringing other people’s dust and dirt through my own vacuum cleaner. If that’s hard to arrange, please let me know. And I would ask that you make sure you have a toilet brush at each toilet if you don’t already.
Finally, because I don’t feel qualified and I don’t want the extra risk or to pass along the risk to others, I have decided not to clean for those who have entered quarantine.
These are recommended preventative measures but it’s also helpful to have some perspective on the risk. This is from the CDC website:
“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person–between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) [and] through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes…
“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
So, fortunately, the scenario of my picking up a virus from one home and transporting it to another is apparently not the main way the virus spreads.
The CDC also says, “Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Though I won’t be cleaning for clients in quarantine some clients I clean for could have the virus without knowing it. I take encouragement from this statement from the CDC that those in this group don’t present me with a high risk of picking up the infection from them and passing it along.
Given these prevention measures I’ll be adopting and assessing the mildness of the risk, I feel good about continuing to service my clients’ homes. Nonetheless, experience from other regions that have seen much greater spread of the virus (I’ve looked into Italy and Los Angeles) shows that there may well come a time where either the authorities declare it unlawful for cleaners to continue or common sense requires that I temporarily stop providing my service. I will keep monitoring local changes and let you know when that time has come.