Cleaning guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19

April 20, 2020 -

Due to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, we at Optima Cleaners created specialised cleaning guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus.

From disinfecting to stocking the right supplies, here’s what you need to know.

We know that many of you continue to work right now. If you’re continuing to serve clients, it’s important to revisit your cleaning routine to make sure you’re doing what you can to protect yourself and your clients.

We want to help, so we’ve put together some guidelines based on insight and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Why cleaning is more important than ever

It’s even more critical at this moment as we all aim to reduce the spread of infection. According to the CDC, it’s possible for someone to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface—like a doorknob or light switch—and the virus may live on some surfaces for several hours or even days. That’s why it’s essential to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

The difference between disinfecting and cleaning

When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, it helps to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the act of removing germs, dirt, and impurities (like when you use a soapy sponge to wipe off a visibly dirty counter or stovetop). Disinfecting is when you use chemicals to kill germs (like spraying with a bleach solution). By cleaning first, then disinfecting, you can lower the risk of infection. More information on the topic you can find here.

Follow these cleaning guidelines

Here are some guidelines to follow when cleaning your space between guests. If you work with a cleaning professional, instruct them to use this list, too.

1. Ventilate workplace/rooms before you clean. Allow fresh air to circulate for at least 20 minutes. If possible, leave all windows open during the entire cleaning process.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after each cleaning. Use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If that’s not possible, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about proper hand washing

3. Clean, then disinfect. Use detergent or soap and water to remove dirt, grease, dust, and germs. Once the surface is clean, spray with a disinfectant. Let it stand for a few minutes, then wipe—and if you’re not using paper towels or disposable wipes, it’s best to use a new cleaning cloth for each new property.

4. Use the right disinfectant. You don’t need any hard-to-find cleaning products—most common household disinfectant which we recommend is the one from the picture below, as well as cleaning solutions with diluted household bleach or at least 70% alcohol, are believed to be effective against the coronavirus. Pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces, like light switches, doorknobs, remote controls, and faucet handles. (See our full list of surfaces to disinfect at the bottom of the page.)

5. (For Regular Housekeeping) Don’t forget about sofas, rugs, drapes, and other soft, porous surfaces. If you have to work in a furnished property, carefully remove any visible dirt or grime, then clean with the appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces.

6. Wear disposable gloves while you clean. Gloves should be thrown out after each cleaning. And make sure to wash your hands immediately after gloves are removed.

7. (For Short-Let Cleaning) Don’t reuse microfiber cloths, mops, and sponges when cleaning your space for a new guest. Consider stocking up on supplies that you can throw away after each cleaning. If you prefer to clean with reusable products, make sure to machine-wash them at the highest heat setting that’s appropriate for the material.

8. (For Regular Housekeeping) Wash all linens at the highest heat setting recommended by the manufacturer. That includes bed sheets, mattress covers, hand and bath towels, kitchen towels, and blankets. Remember to wear gloves when handling dirty laundry.

9. (For Regular Housekeeping) Clean and disinfect laundry baskets and hampers. If possible, consider using a liner that is either disposable or that you can throw into the washing machine.

10. Empty the vacuum cleaner after every cleaning. You should wipe down the vacuum cleaner with disinfectant, along with appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine.

11. While restocking your supplies, take a moment to check expiration dates. And remember to never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning solution that can release toxic gases that are dangerous to inhale.

Telling your clients about your enhanced cleaning routine

Clients will want to know about all of the additional steps you’re taking to reduce the spread of infection. So it’s a good idea to mention your enhanced cleaning routine in your listing description. If you do, please be careful with the words you choose—while it’s okay to say that you’re taking extra care to disinfect your space due to COVID-19, you can’t make unsubstantiated claims, like calling your space “COVID-free.”

We hope you find these cleaning guidelines useful as you return to your daily routines in this difficult time. We’ll continue to update our recommendations as the situation evolves. In the meantime, please visit the CDC website for more information on COVID-19.

*This content is based on publicly available information from the CDC. The CDC does not endorse this content or Optima Cleaner. Optima Cleaners and its Franchisees make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to this content provided for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Checklist of items to clean and disinfect


  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Remote controls
  • Tables
  • Fan and lamp chains
  • Window sills and window handles
  • Thermostats
  • Keys
  • Hairdryers
  • Railings
  • Ironing boards and irons
  • Garbage and recycling bins


  • Sinks
  • Cabinet handles and pulls
  • Appliances: oven, toaster, pressure cooker, coffee maker, etc.
  • Condiments: oil, salt and pepper shakers, commonly used spices and containers, etc.
  • Kitchenware that isn’t dishwasher safe: ceramic bowls, kids’ plasticware, etc.
  • Hard-backed chairs


  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Faucet handles
  • Showers and tubs
  • Shower curtains and doors
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap dispensers


  • Hangers and luggage racks
  • Nightstands
  • Sinks
  • Faucets

Cleaning appliances:

  • Dishwashers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Washer/dryer units

Kids’ items:

  • Toys
  • Portable cribs and playpens
  • High chairs

Other amenities:

  • Bikes
  • Surfboards
  • Games
  • Books

Author Profile

Mark Wisken
Mark is a managing director at Optima Cleaners, but copywriting has been one of his passions for many years. When he's not hunched over his keyboard, you'll find Mark exploring quaint bookstores for inspiration or sipping espresso at his favorite local café, always on the hunt for the next big idea to ignite a brand's success. With a pen in one hand and a coffee cup in the other, Mark continues to captivate audiences and breathe life into every brand he touches.

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