March 2020, the Covid pandemic changed all of our lives in so many ways. One of the most important changes has been the way we think about cleanliness and hygiene.
In particular, there is a newfound focus on cleaning the air we breathe.
This is especially important in indoor spaces, where we are more likely to come into contact with respiratory droplets that may contain the virus.
As the covid virus continues to spread, many people are looking for ways to protect themselves from exposure.
While there is still much to learn about COVID, we do know that the virus can spread through the air.
“Spread of COVID-19 occurs via airborne particles and droplets. People who are infected with COVID can release particles and droplets of respiratory fluids that contain the SARS CoV-2 virus into the air when they exhale (e.g., quiet breathing, speaking, singing, exercise, coughing, sneezing). The droplets or aerosol particles vary across a wide range of sizes – from visible to microscopic.
Once infectious droplets and particles are exhaled, they move outward from the person (the source). These droplets carry the virus and transmit infection. Indoors, the very fine droplets and particles will continue to spread through the air in the room or space and can accumulate.”
The CDC says that getting covid from direct contact on surfaces is low when compared to airborne particles;
“When a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 has been indoors, virus can remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours. The length of time virus remains suspended and is infectious depends on numerous factors, including viral load in respiratory droplets or in small particles, disturbance of air and surfaces, ventilation, temperature, and humidity.
Because of the many factors affecting the efficiency of environmental transmission, the relative risk of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is considered low compared with direct contact, droplet transmission, or airborne transmission.”
Since you can more easily get infected from airborne transmission, it’s important to take steps to clean the air in your home to reduce the risk.
There are a few simple steps you can take to improve the air quality in your home and help keep yourself and your family safe.
One of the best ways to clean the air is by opening up windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate by keeping your house well-ventilated. Ventilation is the process of moving air into or out of an area. It’s important to keep your home properly ventilated because excess moisture, pollutants, and the covid virus can build up in a house, causing health problems and reducing indoor air quality (IAQ).
“Like the lungs, homes need to be able to breathe to make sure that fresh air comes in and dirty air goes out. Air indoors can build up high levels of moisture, odors, gases, dust, and other air pollutants. To keep the air safe indoors, fresh outdoor air is needed to dilute these indoor pollutants.
To provide good air quality, enough air needs to be brought in and circulated so that it reaches all areas of the home. For almost all homes, windows and structural elements contribute to bringing in fresh air.”
Natural ventilation involves using windows and doors as ways to let fresh air into your house. Open up windows and doors on both sides of the house (front and back). If possible, open windows at both ends of the house as well.
Air out your home by opening windows and doors for at least 60 to 120 minutes or more each day. The more time, the better!
2. Clean and Disinfect
You will want to clean all surfaces in your home, using either soap and detergent or an EPA-approved disinfectant cleaning solution or wipes.
“Routine cleaning performed effectively with soap or detergent, at least once per day, can substantially reduce virus levels on surfaces. When focused on high-touch surfaces, cleaning with soap or detergent should be enough to further reduce the relatively low transmission risk from fomites in situations when there has not been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 indoors.”
While there are many products on the market that claim to kill covid, not all of them are equally effective. To be sure that you are using a product that will kill the virus, look for one that is EPA-registered and approved for use against covid. In early March 2020, EPA released its initial List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (List N). These have been proven to kill Covid and disinfect properly.
When cleaning surfaces in your home, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take care to ventilate the area well.
Pay special attention to high-touch surfaces like door handles, light switches, countertops, and any other surfaces that you or your family members touch frequently. Wipe down all appliances, including the fridge, stove, and dishwasher
Vacuum all furniture and carpets with porous surfaces with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to remove dust, viruses, mold spores, and other particles from floors and carpets.
3. Fog the Indoor Space
Fogging is the process of spraying a fine mist of liquid or solid particles into the air. Fogging is frequently used to control insect populations and may also be used in agriculture to control plant diseases.
In medicine, it is used to prevent transmission of infectious diseases like covid by killing pathogens in their tracks.
The method is also used in industrial settings. For instance, fogging is used to disinfect indoor spaces where people congregate, such as schools and hospitals. It can also be used to disinfect large areas with high ceilings or hard-to-reach areas such as attics and crawl spaces.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered a product using hydrogen peroxide into what is called “Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP),” which is a form of fogging. The EPA defines Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide as “a substance that destroys or eliminates all forms of microbial life in the inanimate environment, including all forms of vegetative bacteria, bacterial spores, fungi, fungal spores, and viruses”.
In a recent study, scientists found fogging with hydrogen peroxide is a safe and effective product to use against many types of harmful microorganisms and viruses. The researchers stated;
“Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP) represents a safe alternative to the use of these toxic gases and the need for their neutralization prbeforeelease into the atmosphere. VPHP breaks down into oxygen and water, both of which are environmentally benign.
Aqueous H2O2 is active against a wide range of organisms: bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores.” (Virucidal Activity of Fogged Chlorine Dioxide- and Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Disinfectants against Human Norovirus and Its Surrogate, Feline Calicivirus, on Hard-to-Reach Surfaces)
4. Filter Air with a HEPA Air Purifier
You should also use an air purifier with a HEPA filter. These devices use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove dust, mold spores, and Covid virus particles from the air.
The EPA recommends that you use a HEPA air purifier in your home if you have allergies or asthma. The American Lung Association also recommends them for people who have respiratory problems and those who want to improve their indoor air quality.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate arrestance, which means they remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size. This makes them ideal for filtering out dust, covid, and other small particles from the air around you.
HEPA filters are designed specifically to remove allergens from the air using a series of filters made from a variety of materials such as glass fiber or metal mesh. These filters work by capturing particles in their millions on each square inch of surface area, so they need regular cleaning to keep them working effectively.
5. Organize and Declutter the Home
As we all continue to battle covid, it is more important than ever to keep our living spaces clean. Bacteria and viruses can thrive in cluttered, dusty environments, so it is important to remove any clutter that may harbor these illness-causing organisms.
This means getting rid of things that are no longer useful or functional in your home. It’s not just about throwing away items either — it’s about finding new homes for old things so they’re out of sight but not out of mind.
You also want to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in your home, which boosts your immune system.
6. Change Filters Regularly and Clean the Ducts, Vents, and Fans
One of the main maintenance methods you will have once you have a cleaning system in order to help prevent the spread of the covid virus is to change the filters regularly on your HEPA filters, HVAC filters and to keep your ducts, vents, and fans clean.
These machines and devices will have all kinds of nasty dust and harmful microorganisms passing through them on a regular basis so it is important that you change and clean them on a routine basis.
A clean filter will help capture any airborne particles and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.
You will want to use what are called MERV filters with high capture efficiency to help purify the air by removing most Covid virus particles, mold spores, along with other allergens. By capturing Covid, MERV air filters help prevent its spread and results in cleaner indoor air for the occupants.
A MERV filter with a rating of 8-13 will capture 30 times or more pet dander, mold, and pollen than a standard filter, which is much more effective.
While there is no surefire way to eliminate all risk, by taking these simple steps, you can help keep your family safe and covid-free during these challenging times.
We hope that this article has helped you understand some tips on how to clean the air in your home or office from Covid.
Please share this information with your friends and family, so they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy.