Coronavirus: Dyson microbiologist reveals how to keep your home clean and healthy during COVID-19


Vacuuming both sides of your mattress, washing bed linen at 60 degrees Celsius and dusting walls with a damp cloth once a week will keep the air in your home pure and clean during coronavirus, according to a senior microbiologist.

Gem McLuckie is an advanced research scientist at Dyson, the iconic technology company which makes household appliances like vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, hairdryers and air purifiers.

Ms McLuckie created a weekly household cleaning plan which specifically improves air purity by eliminating common germs like dust, fungus and dead skin particles known to trigger and exacerbate many respiratory conditions. 

COVID-19 is part from a large family of coronaviruses that cause respiratory infections, which means it’s important to rid the house of bacteria lurking in plain sight as we continue to spend more time at home than ever before in isolation.

Experts say vacuuming both sides of your mattress to remove dust, allergens and dead skin flakes will keep the air in your home pure and clean during coronavirus (stock image)

MONDAY

Bed linen should be stripped and machine washed at 60°C on Mondays to remove dust, allergens and any other germs which have accumulated in the week past.

Sydney virologist Sacha Stelzer-Braid previously told Daily Mail Australia that washing or tumble drying at temperatures above 56°C kills all traces of COVID-19 on clothes, cushions and Doonas.

Dyson microbiologist Gem McLuckie created a weekly cleaning plan to keep homes healthy

Dyson microbiologist Gem McLuckie created a weekly cleaning plan to keep homes healthy

56 degrees Celsius is the temperature at which the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) specifically breaks down, according to a recent study by the US National Library of Medicine.

Dr Stelzer-Braid, who studies the transmission of infectious diseases at the University of New South Wales, said cleaning laundry on a regular cycle will cause the virus to disintegrate and die, which means you’re unlikely to catch coronavirus from soft fabrics if you simply wash loads as normal. 

While linen is laundered, both sides of the mattress should be vacuumed to remove dust mites, fungus and dead skin particles which can aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma and cause infections like bronchitis when they are inhaled night after night.

Removing these germs often lurking in plain sight will create a healthy environment for you and your family during isolation.

A Dyson approved cleaning plan 

MONDAY

· Wash bedding on a 60°C or 90°C wash to help to break down and reduce allergens

· Wash or replace duvets and pillows to reduce the amount of dust mites and skin flakes present in your bed.

· Vacuum both sides of your mattress to remove dust mites and skin flakes.

TUESDAY

· Remove dust from kitchen cupboard tops, using either a vacuum with an advanced filtration system or by dusting with a clean damp cloth or cleaning wipes.

· Clear kitchen counters and cupboards to deep clean. Vacuum to remove dust and debris, then wash with warm water and detergent. Follow up by drying all surfaces.

· Empty the fridge and freezer, and clean all surfaces with warm water and detergent or cleaning product. Vacuum round the back and under the fridge and freezer, without forgetting the cooler element on the back as this will improve performance.

WEDNESDAY

· Vacuum the places not regularly vacuumed, such as under furniture.

· Vacuum your sofa and armchairs, which can harbour large debris along with dust mites, skin flakes and other allergens such as pollen. Wash any coverings and cushions to reduce the level of dust caught within them.

THURSDAY

· A lot of dust can gather in curtains and blinds. Make sure you vacuum them with a soft brush tool or launder them if possible and practical.

· Remove dust from walls by dusting with a damp cloth, cleaning wipes or using a vacuum with advanced filtration. Dust on certain wall types can contribute towards the growth of mould.

FRIDAY

· Dust lights and light fittings. Dust can gather in lampshades and light fittings which can burn on hot bulbs producing VOCs and odour, and be moved around the room by the production of warm air around the bulbs.

· Dust behind radiators – a hidden place often missed during normal cleaning. Significant dust collects behind the radiator and this can be distributed around the room by the air flow produced by the warm air from the radiator.

Source: Dyson Australia 

TUESDAY

Kitchen counter tops and cupboards should be dusted and ‘deep’ cleaned on Tuesdays to remove any viruses or bacteria which has been transferred from food, packaging or the air.

What does a microbiologist do?

Microbiologists are scientists who study the microscopic organisms that cause infections, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae.

Cupboard tops and the inside of presses should be vacuumed to remove loose debris and then wiped down with soap and warm water. 

Surfaces should be thoroughly dried to prevent mould from developing. Mould can grow on any material when moisture is present.

Fridges and freezers should be emptied and carefully cleaned with soap and warm water or cleaning spray, taking care to focus on common ‘touchpoints’ like door handles and the plastic vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge.

COVID-19 has been shown to survive on hard surfaces like glass, plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. Hard, shiny materials are non-porous which means water, air and vapour cannot pass through, and instead rest and accumulate on the surface.

How soap destroys SARS-CoV-2

Most viruses consist of three key building blocks: ribonucleic acid (RNA), proteins and lipids.

The fat-like substances in soap ‘loosens’ the connections between these three building blocks, breaking them down and ‘killing’ the virus –  or rendering it inactive.

Just washing with water isn’t strong enough to loosen the connections, which is why soap is such a useful protector.

Fridges and freezers should be emptied and carefully cleaned with soap and warm water or cleaning spray once a week (stock image)

Fridges and freezers should be emptied and carefully cleaned with soap and warm water or cleaning spray once a week (stock image)

WEDNESDAY

Hard to reach spaces under sofas and behind fridges where large volumes of germs and debris accumulate should be vacuumed on Wednesdays.

It’s also good practice to vacuum armchairs and sofas to remove dust mites and dead skin cells which may have nestled into upholstery.

Soft furnishings like cushion covers and throws should be washed above 56 degrees Celsius to kill all traces of viruses and bacteria.

World Economic Forum researchers have found coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on soft, porous fabrics. 

Hard to reach spaces under sofas and behind fridges where large volumes of germs and debris accumulate should be vacuumed once a week (stock image)

Hard to reach spaces under sofas and behind fridges where large volumes of germs and debris accumulate should be vacuumed once a week (stock image)

THURSDAY

Curtains and blinds should be brushed down or vacuumed on Thursdays to remove dust and any airborne germs which have settled there.

Walls should be dusted with a damp cloth or antibacterial cleaning wipes to remove particles that encourage the growth of mould, which – as previously discussed – causes and exacerbates respiratory infections.

Walls can also be vacuumed with any device which has an advanced filtration system, like the new Dyson V11 Outsize.

The vacuum has a built-in digital motor which drives stiff, nylon bristles deep into carpet to remove ingrained dirt, and carbon fibre filaments that capture and collect fine dust that other machines miss on hard surfaces like walls and wooden floors.

Walls should be dusted with a damp cloth or antibacterial cleaning wipes to remove dust particles that encourage the growth of mould, which causes and exacerbates respiratory infections (stock image)

Walls should be dusted with a damp cloth or antibacterial cleaning wipes to remove dust particles that encourage the growth of mould, which causes and exacerbates respiratory infections (stock image)

FRIDAY

Lights, lampshades and radiators should be thoroughly dusted on Fridays to improve the purity of the air circulating around the house. 

Large quantities of dust which collect behind radiators and atop light fixtures are carried around the house by the warm air generated by electricity.

The backs of televisions, which are often missed during standard cleaning, should also be cleaned and dusted.     

HOW LONG CAN COVID-19 SURVIVE ON SURFACES?

In the air: Infectious disease researchers have found COVID-19 remains infectious in contaminated airborne respiratory droplets for at least three hours, however they have not determined whether humans produce enough of the disease in a single cough or sneeze to infect another person.

On soft, porous surfaces: COVID-19 can survive on porous surfaces like cardboard, paper, clothing and soft furnishings like pillows and Doonas for up to 24 hours. Porous surfaces allow air and water to pass through, which makes them much less likely to hold infectious volumes of the virus compared to non-porous objects like door handles, taps and phone covers.

On hard, shiny surfaces: COVID-19 has been proven to stay active on hard surfaces like glass, plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. Hard, shiny materials are non-porous which means water, air and vapour cannot pass through and instead rest and accumulate on the surface.

World Economic Forum researchers have confirmed the virus does degrade over time, reducing the likelihood of infection the longer contaminated droplets have sat on a surface, but you should still avoid touching handles, buttons and other objects in public spaces. If unavoidable, you should avoid touching your face until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 

Frequently touched household surfaces like taps, door handles, computer keyboards and toilets should be cleaned using bleach or alcohol solutions of at least 70 percent alcohol.

On hair: There is no evidence to suggest coronavirus can be carried in strands of beards or facial hair.

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