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Home Power Washing Tips Disinfecting Exterior Home Surfaces

Disinfecting Exterior Home Surfaces

Scott Tucker

Panda Powerwash


The global concern on the spread of coronavirus is fast-growing, and due to panic, buying of cleaning supplies, soap, and face masks continues to create their shortage. Experts are still debating on the best approaches to clean our homes and the choice of products that would be effective. Washing hands has become a top priority in protecting our families against coronavirus. Soaps, hand sanitizers, and antibacterial wipes are flying off the supermarket shelves as everyone seeks to create an environment that is free of any germs and viruses. However, less is talked about cleaning our homes even as the government advises the most vulnerable people to stay at home and that everyone else should confine themselves to their homes more so those in the non-essential services sector (Ong et al., 2020). While it is more diligent in washing our hands as the government advises, the increase in time that we spend at home necessitates the development of an approach to disinfect exterior surfaces as well to control the spread of the virus effectively.

Home Environment

The spread of coronavirus can effectively be controlled by routinely cleaning and disinfecting our homes. The chances of the virus living on the exterior surfaces of dwellings are considerably reduced in the absence of a household person having the virus symptoms. Still, the outcome does not mean that the threat is non-existent and more so that people have to leave the household either for work or shopping (Ong et al., 2020). Surfaces that are routinely touched are the most important to clean regularly, but wiping all exterior surfaces and especially floors become essential in reducing the likelihood of the virus transferring from these surfaces to our hands.

Global studies are yet to determine how long the virus can survive outside the body. There was a USA Today article that cited the coronavirus as still being present on a Diamond Princess cruise ship after 17 days (USA Today, 2020). Still, a comparison to other illnesses alludes that it can survive on cardboard for about a day and stainless steel and plastic surfaces for about three days. The survival rate of the coronavirus differs with regions depending on the outside temperatures, and further studies are being carried out to determine the number of viruses that would be convenient to transfer the infections. In light of these uncertainties, cleaning the exterior surfaces of our homes becomes an excellent place to start (Ong et al., 2020). Establishing hygiene routines becomes necessary preventive measures since research suggests that the virus can survive surfaces for a couple of days.

The initial approach is to wipe down high traffic areas such as door handles, entrance doors, external light switches, and remote controls that receive a high amount of traffic on a routine basis and could potentially spread the virus at a higher rate. The risk is even higher if pets live in the home, and when outdoor shoes are not removed since they can bring the virus from outside surfaces (Ong et al., 2020). It thus becomes vital to clean and disinfect the exterior flat surfaces surrounding the outside of homes and commercial buildings on a routine basis and more often if they are in heavy use.

Perfect Products

Using the right products is an essential step to keeping the exterior surfaces clean and making sure any viruses on these surfaces are killed. Detergents and diluted bleach are recommended, for external surface cleaning. For disinfection purposes, products with over 70% alcohol are the most preferred. Another alternative solution would be 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite (diluted household bleach) (Bianchetti, Devlin & Seddon, 2015). The manufacturer instructions should be strictly followed while ensuring adequate contact time, also referred to as dwell time, exceeds one minute. The products used for cleaning should not have passed their expiry date to enhance their effectiveness in killing the coronavirus germs. The household bleaches should not be mixed with ammonia or any other cleanser. Bleach is also not to be combined with other chemical products to avoid damage or discoloration of sensitive surfaces. Kitchen rolls and paper towels are considered useful in scenarios where outdoor surfaces have become contaminated, for example, touched or sneezed on by an ill person.

Potentially contaminated areas should be disinfected using a dedicated pair of rubber gloves, while cloths used for this purpose should be disinfected and boil-washed (Galimi & Jones, 2016). The gloves are to be discarded after every use. Reusable gloves should only be used for clean and disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19.


The collective importance of cleaning exterior home surfaces is to ensure that virus droplets are removed from these surfaces before transferring to our hands. The rate of transmission via surfaces is reduced compared to person-to-person transmission, but the CDC recommends the need to routinely clean the surfaces around our homes on a routine basis. Any contact with the outside world can bring the virus to our surroundings, posing the threat of infection. Managing exposure to the virus using bleaches and detergents becomes essential as we continue to gather together and make contact with the world beyond our surroundings. Inoculations are somewhat considered as the best approach to curbing the spread of certain diseases. Still, in the meantime, these exterior cleaning best practices might keep the rate of infections at a manageable level.


Bianchetti, G. O., Devlin, C. L., & Seddon, K. R. (2015). Bleaching systems in domestic laundry detergents: a review. RSC Advances, 5(80), 65365-65384.

Oliver, David (Mar 2020). Coronavirus genetic material stayed on surfaces: USA Today, Web

Galimi, I. J. M., & Jones, R. (2016). U.S. Patent No. 9,476,014. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Ong, S. W. X., Tan, Y. K., Chia, P. Y., Lee, T. H., Ng, O. T., Wong, M. S. Y., & Marimuthu, K. (2020). Air, surface environmental, and personal protective equipment contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from an asymptomatic patient. Jama.

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