This guidance describes safe cleaning and disinfecting practices for businesses, parks and other public spaces to ensure cleanliness and safety. Find safe operating guidance for food service, schools ad childcare on the DOH Resources and Recommendations website.
To control the spread of COVID-19 everyone must exercise the following important preventative measures to protect others and themselves.
In addition to physical distancing, cloth face coverings, and hand washing, reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfecting our workplaces and homes safely.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces using soap or detergent. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but thorough cleaning will significantly decrease their numbers and lower the risk of spreading infection.
Sanitizing reduces germs on surfaces to levels that are safe.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
Establish a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, service counters, bathrooms, and athletic areas based on their use. Commercial kitchens, medical facilities, and childcare facilities need to follow their specific regulations for appropriate cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection.
1. How to clean and disinfect
2. Guidance for specific areas and surfaces. Frequency will depend on use
Clean and disinfect elevator buttons, door handles, push bars, automatic door buttons, and other high-touch surfaces routinely. Cleaning and disinfect high touch areas four times per day, depending on use.
Thoroughly clean and disinfect restrooms, including all high touch areas such as door handles, flush buttons or levers, counters, sink and shower handles, and light switches. Keep restrooms stocked with soap and paper towels. At remote locations without running water, provide alcohol-based sanitizers. Clean and disinfect high use restrooms twice a day if possible. At remote restrooms that cannot be cleaned and disinfected regularly, post signs to that effect and remind people to wash their hands thoroughly.
Ensure exhaust ventilation systems are running continuously and as much fresh air is coming in as possible. If safe, keep windows open to increase ventilation.
Public drinking fountains and bottle fillers
Clean and disinfect the button or lever. Public drinking water supplies are safe. Clean and disinfect surfaces and buttons. Consider posting signage that includes:
Keyboards and other sensitive electronics
Use alcohol wipes or spray 70% isopropyl alcohol into a cloth to wipe electronics. Use a separate area of the cloth for each device. Wash and dry cloths after use. Wash hands before and after use of electronics and do not touch your face while using. Do not share items if you do not need to.
Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces that may contact skin at least daily and between use by different people. Surfaces (including mats) must be intact, without rips and tears, to be cleanable. Have separate cleaning mops and buckets for athletic areas.
Close seating on buses makes person-to-person transmission of respiratory viruses more likely. Reduce the number of riders to maintain a physical distance of 6-feet between riders and encourage riders to wear cloth face coverings. Keep windows open to reduce virus transmission, including airing out the bus between routes. Clean seats and rails with soap, water, and microfiber cloths. Disinfect handrails with an EPA approved disinfectant.
Do not spray disinfectants on outdoor playgrounds. Clean if needed. Require children to wash their hands with soap and water when they come inside or prior to eating or drinking.
Face-to-face respiratory droplet transmission of children playing close together is the primary concern for virus transmission. Encourage children to maintain a physical distance of 6-feet from other children they do not live with.
Wash soft or porous children’s toys in the highest water temperature appropriate for the item and dry completely.
Clean hard plastic toys thoroughly. In general, thorough cleaning with soap and water is all that is necessary. Disinfectants can be harmful to children, especially if small children put them in their mouths. Select chemicals carefully and consider:
Soft (porous) surfaces
Surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes require only routine cleaning appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to launder items. Use the warmest water possible and dry completely.
To clean carpets use truck-mounted hot water/steam extraction. Spot treat as needed first. Use the minimum amount necessary of low-odor and low-sudsing carpet shampoo. Thoroughly remove cleaner and dirt. The water should run clean. Carpet should dry thoroughly within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold and bacterial growth.
There is no special cleaning or disinfection recommended for heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems. If the HVAC system uses a cooling tower, ensure proper maintenance prior to reopening after extended closures. For more information about cooling towers and HVAC systems see:
Ventilation is an important part of maintaining good indoor air quality and reducing transmission of respiratory diseases. Ventilate with as much outside air as possible before, during and after occupancy, and while cleaning and disinfecting. Open windows when possible. Upgrade to MERV 13 filters where feasible. Filters must fit tightly. Two-inch pleats provide greater filtration with less pressure drop.
Cleaning and disinfecting an area after a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been in a facility
If it has been more than 7 days since the sick person visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. If it has been less than 7 days:
Additional cleaning and disinfection guidance
More COVID-19 Information and Resources
Stay up-to-date on the current COVID-19 situation in Washington, Governor Inslee’s proclamations, symptoms, how it spreads, and how and when people should get tested. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
The risk of COVID-19 is not connected to race, ethnicity or nationality. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Share accurate information with others to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading:
Have more questions about COVID-19? Call our hotline: 1-800-525-0127. For interpretative services, press # when they answer and say your language. (Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) For questions about your own health, COVID-19 testing, or testing results, please contact your health care provider.