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Cleaning and disinfection for COVID-19 in sectors outside the healthcare service

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Advice about cleaning and disinfection.

Advice about cleaning and disinfection.

Survival on surfaces and textiles

The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads by droplet and contact transmission when it is thrown into the air by sneezing or coughing. The droplets fall onto surrounding surfaces and can lead to indirect contact transmission.

It is assumed that SARS-CoV-2 can survive on different types of surfaces for varying lengths of time, from minutes to days. The risk of becoming ill after indirect contact transmission depends on a series of conditions; the infectious dose needs to contain sufficient amounts of virus and anyone who touches the contaminated surface must touch their face (nose, eyes, mouth) with contaminated hands within a short time.

With the exception of surfaces that are heavily contaminated with secretions from the respiratory tract (saliva, snot, mucus), it is assumed that there is little risk of indirect contact transmission via contaminated objects after a short time (minutes to hours).

SARS-CoV-2 can be removed by manual cleaning with water and cleaning products.

General recommendations for cleaning common areas

  • Review local cleaning schedules in terms of organisation, responsibilities and resource needs, and whether adjustments are necessary.
  • Daily cleaning of areas where many people pass through is recommended. Use regular cleaning products according to standard procedures.
  • Common contact points, like door handles, toilets, sinks, payment terminals, stair handrails, chair armrests, and other frequently touched objects or contact surfaces should be cleaned frequently, depending on the number of people and contact frequency.
  • Use regular cleaning products according to standard procedures.
  • Use disposable cleaning cloths where possible. Reusable cloths should be cleaned according to standard procedures.
  • Pay extra attention to kitchen and dining room hygiene. Hand hygiene should be performed before using the kitchen / dining room.
  • Follow normal waste management procedures.
  • There is no need for hygiene checks with, for example, ATP measurements in companies that normally do not do this.
  • People who develop symptoms of COVID-19 should go home as soon as possible. The surroundings where the person has been in contact over time must be cleaned in the usual way before being used by others (e.g. work desk). Hotel rooms, treatment rooms and similar rooms must be cleaned as normal before the next guest / customer.


  • There is no need to introduce disinfection routines in workplaces because of COVID-19. However, disinfectants can be used as an alternative to washing for extra cleaning of contact points.
  • Disinfectants will have a reduced effect on surfaces and contact points contaminated with biological materials (blood, body fluids, secretions) and on surfaces that are visibly dirty. Therefore, biological spills must be removed with a paper towel or cloth before applying disinfectant.

Disinfectants that have an effect on COVID-19, for use outside the healthcare services:

  • Alcohol 70 per cent for environmental disinfection. Use undiluted. Apply to the area with a clean cloth or paper towel, enough to make the surface visibly damp. Allow the area to air dry for a few minutes. The surface does not need to be cleaned afterwards. Please note that products intended for hand disinfection are not suitable for surface disinfection.
  • Household bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Follow the advice on mixing ratio and effect time from the supplier carefully. Check whether the surface can withstand bleach. Apply diluted bleach is applied to the surface so that it is visibly damp. Follow the specified effect time before cleaning the surface in the usual way.
  • For use of cleaning products in spray form: STAMI – National Institute of Occupational Health in Norway

The table below gives some suggestions on how often different items should be cleaned. The advice is based on the current epidemiological situation and may change. Local assessments must be made based on premises, number of people present, user group, contact frequency and local epidemiological conditions.

The advice must be seen in the context of current recommendations for hand hygiene.



Cleaning suggestion



Premises frequently used by many different people

Daily cleaning and as needed


Few people, limited use

Clean if required


Table and other surfaces

Short-term use with moderate touching, such as meeting room tables.

Daily cleaning

Leave unused for 24 hours after use

Prolonged use with a lot of touching (e.g. desk).

Clean after each user

Leave unused for 24 hours after use

Other fixtures and fittings

Furniture that may be touched over a longer period of time, such as armrests in a treatment chair / hairdresser's chair

Clean after each user

Leave unused for 24 hours after use

Fixtures that are rarely touched and then for short periods.

Normal procedure


Common showers

Common showers used by many people

As a minimum, daily cleaning. Regular supervision to assess the need for extra cleaning.


Common showers that are rarely used (a few people per day).


Normal procedure


Equipment used by several people

Equipment used in group sessions and touched by hands over time (e.g. weights).

Hand hygiene before and after the session. Clean equipment after use

Hand hygiene before and after the session and equipment left unused for 24 hours after use.

Equipment frequently touched by the hands of several people during the activity (e.g. basketball).

Hand hygiene before and after the session. Clean equipment after use

Hand hygiene before and after the session and equipment left unused for 24 hours after use.

Equipment used by several people, but less frequently touched with the hands (e.g. footballs, cones).

Normal procedure


Outdoor play equipment

Outdoor play equipment

Normal procedure



Textiles that are used close to the patient's body (e.g. towels, cloths, bed linen).

Clean after each user.


Equipment used close to the face (e.g. hairdressers’ cloaks, dry suits, survival suits).

Clean after each user.

Equipment left unused for 24 hours after use.

Textiles that are normally used for several people and that are not close to the face (e.g. life jackets).

Normal procedure



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SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that is causing the outbreak of COVID-19 disease.

The virus is related to another coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 but is not the same virus.