COVID-19: Disinfecting Guidelines to Remove Nasties Effectively at Home

COVID-19: Disinfecting Guidelines to Remove Nasties Effectively at Home

NEA has also provided a list of active ingredients and household disinfectant and cleaning products for disinfection of the COVID-19 virus.

With Singapore soon to exit Circuit Breaker on 1 June with further easing of measures, we will see an increase in businesses resuming operations, and employees heading back to work. But there could still be risks of community transmission of COVID-19 for those travelling in and out of their homes.

In tackling that, some would resort to disinfecting their home—a measure more essential than we think.

According to a recent NEA report, the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 can survive on environmental surfaces for two to three days. And all it takes is for one to come into contact with a SARS-CoV-2 contaminated surface to possibly contract COVID-19. 

How can we then ensure the proper cleaning of our homes to prevent the possible spread of virus to our loved ones? In the rest of the article, we share NEA’s guidelines (22 May) to effective surface cleaning and disinfection for COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Disinfecting Guidelines: Applying Chemical Disinfectants on Surfaces

As far as the chemicals you are using may be effective, the way you apply them could affect their results. This is in addition to factors like choosing the right household disinfectants or cleaning products effective against coronavirus

Here are the guidelines of doing so at home, safely and effectively. 

COVID-19 Disinfecting Guidelines

COVID-19 disinfecting Guidelines: Wiping down on the table with effective disinfectant to prevent risk of COVID-19 transmission. | Photo: iStock


For general disinfection, it is recommended to do a wipe-down of surfaces with an effective disinfectant. Doing so reduces biorisks with two modes of action:

  • Disinfection
  • Removes virus and dirt/organic matter that could interfere with disinfection

Hand-held misters

This method involves spraying a mist of disinfectant liquids onto the intended surface for disinfection.

NOTE: Hand-held misters should be used together with wipe-downs in order to disinfect surfaces/homes effectively. 

Remember these pointers: 

  • Ensure that you are properly protected when using the chemicals (the limit of exposure to hydrogen peroxide stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower is 1 ppm over 8 hours) and keep others away during the disinfecting process
  • Spray an even layer of disinfectant liquid on the targeted surfaces – and allow appropriate time needed for disinfection
  • Ensure that targeted surfaces are fully covered – this includes hidden but frequently touched surfaces (e.g. side of a door handle facing the door)
COVID-19: Disinfecting Guidelines to Remove Nasties Effectively at Home

Be sure to wipe down those hard to reach areas. | Photo: iStock

  • The surface should not be grossly contaminated. If not, pre-cleaning is required
  • Pay attention to moisture-sensitive areas or equipment during the disinfection process

Household Products for Effective Disinfection 

While detergent and water is sufficient for general precautionary cleaning, it is not effective in eliminating COVID-19 risks. 

We often see products stating “kills 99.9% of germs”. Does that make it an effective disinfectant against COVID-19?

According to NEA, while products “have been shown to reduce bacteria or other virus count”, not all are effective against the coronavirus. The presence of active ingredients in products are what makes them effective, with the right concentration and contact time needed for the chemicals to work. 

COVID-19: Disinfecting Guidelines to Remove Nasties Effectively at Home

Household products suitable for kitchen disinfection. NEA lists other general products that are effective against coronaviruses. | Photo: Screengrab from NEA

You can refer to NEA’s interim list of common household products and active ingredients for disinfection of the coronavirus

With these measures put in place, do remember that they are not replacements for regular sanitisation and personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing. 

ALSO READ: Avoid Bringing COVID-19 Home With This Doctor’s Comprehensive Checklist

COVID-19: Disinfecting Guidelines to Remove Nasties Effectively at Home

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Written by

Jia Ling

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