Wash your hands and disinfecting household items, surfaces and electronics are the best ways to kill viruses like COVID-19 and germs that cause illness. From practicing basic personal hygiene to using disinfectants most effectively, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your family from getting sick.

Wash your hands

The Health support recommended washing your hands vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As an extra precaution, use hand sanitizers that are at least 60 percent alcohol. When you are washing and disinfect your hands frequently, it helps prevent COVID-19 from surviving and spreading.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

You and your family’s hands touch many surfaces throughout the day, so picking up germs and viruses is unavoidable. When your hands become contaminated, they can transfer the virus to you through your eyes, nose or mouth. From those entry points, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Clean and disinfect surfaces often

In surface cleaning, you can use bleach as recommended by the CDC, vinegar, commercial disinfectants or a cleaner-disinfectant. A cleaner-disinfectant can make a quicker cleaning while still killing germs. You can use cleaner-disinfectants for most surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom and all across your home.

Disinfect the right way

Before disinfecting, it’s important to clean up any dirt or grime on the surface to get the most protection from your disinfectant. Follow the guidelines for the disinfectant you choose to eliminate the most germs.

All disinfectants require a certain amount of time on surfaces to be the most effective. Some disinfectants take up to ten minutes to kill common germs and viruses. That means you should keep the surface wet with disinfectant for the duration of the recommended time. To keep surfaces wet long enough, you may have to reapply the disinfectant.

Commonly touched surfaces such as cell phones, door handles, light switches and toilet flush handles should get extra attention. Since it’s uncertain how long the coronavirus can survive on surfaces, disinfecting these areas frequently is recommended.

Home Appliances Can Help Fight COVID-19

Some washing machines have a sanitize or steam settings. Using these settings along with detergent, bleach and peroxide can kill germs. Drying laundry on the dryer’s hot cycle for 45 minutes also is effective against certain viruses and germs.

If you have a sanitizing dishwasher, you can disinfect pet bowls, scrub pads, some kids’ toys and more.

Household air purifiers can help, but shouldn’t replace thorough cleaning and sanitizing. Some purifiers use ultraviolet light, which has been shown to kill germs, but effectiveness can vary by model. While some purifiers and air filters advertise the ability to capture viruses, bacteria and common allergens, they don’t necessarily kill germs and viruses.