Many germs and virus are found on the surfaces in your workplace and home. It is important to keep all your work surfaces clean, especially during a pandemic or emerging disease event. Work surfaces that should be cleaned and disinfected regularly include telephones, computer equipment, and other frequently touched surfaces. Be sure that any cleaner you use is safe to use and will not damage office equipment. Use only disinfectants registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and follow all directions and safety precautions indicated on the label.
How long can viruses and germs live on surfaces in the workplace?
Influenza virus can survive on surfaces and still infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.
What kills viruses and germs that live on surfaces in the workplace?
Most viruses are destroyed by heat (167-212°F). Several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodine-based antiseptics, and alcohols are effective against human viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time.
- If a disinfectant product is not available, you can clean surfaces with a chlorine bleach solution made by adding 1 tablespoon of bleach to a quart (4 cups) of water; use a cloth to apply this to surfaces and let stand for 3 – 5 minutes before rinsing with clean water. (For a larger supply of disinfectant, add ¼ cup of bleach to a gallon [16 cups] of water.)
- Wear gloves to protect your hands when working with strong bleach solutions or strong disinfectants.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs and viruses spread when someone touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air and carry viruses with them. A person can become infected by touching a surface where these droplets land before touching their eyes, mouth, or nose. Frequent hand washing prevents virus transmission from infected surfaces.
- Registered Disinfectants (EPA)