The general guidance below is provided in order to give good hygiene advice in case someone is ill in your household. Please note that adequate guidance should always be sought from your medical practitioner who will advise you in case specific measures need to be taken based on the actual illness of this person.

Please also read the article on targeted hygiene to break the chain of infection and help protect yourself and your family from infectious disease.

General guidance on how to do the laundry

For all clothing, towels and household linens which have been in body contact with an ill person, the good practice advice is to:

  • Wash items separately from other laundry
  • Load the laundry machine and then wash your hands immediately
  • Launder at hot temperatures (ie 60ºC or above, preferably using a laundry product containing active oxygen bleach (see the ingredients on the back of the package).

Note: Make sure that your wash cycle does reach this temperature for a sufficiently long period of time.

General guidance on how to clean surfaces
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or waterless hand sanitisers and disinfect high frequency touch surfaces with an approved disinfectant product or wipe that kills viruses (See Notes below)
  • If this is not possible (e.g. the surface or object would be damaged) avoid touching the surface at all, if you can.
  • Remember that a virus can usually be transmitted to other people in your home via computer keyboards, TV remotes, telephones, door handles, tap handles, toilet seats and flush handles etc.
  • Clean and disinfect the toilet daily.
  • Cleaning cloths and sponges can readily spread viruses from one surface to another. Make sure that cloths are disinfected immediately after each use with an approved disinfectant that kills viruses. Thoroughly dry the cloth until next use. Alternatively, use a disposable cloth or wipe.
  • Persons who are ill should not share towels, facecloths, toothbrushes, eating utensils, etc. with other family members.
  • Persons who are ill should not prepare food for others. Wash eating utensils in hot soapy water, rinse well and dry thoroughly. Keep them separate from other family eating/drinking utensils.

Notes:

  • Waterless hand sanitisers (also called hand rubs) which are effective in inactivating respiratory viruses on the hands include many authorised products based on >70% alcohol, peroxide, hypochlorite and other active ingredients. Not all products are effective against viruses, so check the label whether the product is approved for the purpose.
  • Disinfectants and disinfectant cleaners as approved under the EU BPR process.
  • Alcohol wipes containing 70% v/v alcohol are useful for disinfecting delicate or small surfaces (v/v is the percentage of alcohol by volume).

Credit and additional sources of information: The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH)