Keep everything from your countertops to your dining room chairs germ-free.

By Kelly Vaughan
March 25, 2020

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, everyone is taking extra precautions to sanitize and disinfect the surfaces in their homes to avoid the spread of unwanted germs. And with the whole family at home more than usual due to school closures and mandatory work-from-home policies, the kitchen is receiving plenty of foot traffic. As everyone stocks up on extra canned goods, non-perishable foods, and other must-have ingredients to stay nourished during quarantine, you're probably wondering how to disinfect the food you bring from the grocery store, as well as other key areas in your kitchen.

To start, experts recommend that you clean the kitchen in two parts, according to The Huffington Post. Start by cleaning countertops, the dinner table, kitchen floor, microwave, and refrigerator with soap and water or other specialized cleaning products designed for materials, such as wood or granite. These products do not kill germs, but they will polish each surface and rid them of sticky spots, stains, and other messes. "Cleaning removes dirt and the organisms that cling to dirt," William F. Carroll Jr., a chemist at Indiana University, tells The Huffington Post.

Related: How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Clothes?

Next, it's important to sanitize these areas with bleach or disinfecting liquid to kill coronavirus and other germs. A previous study from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection found that coronavirus can live on porous surfaces, such as cardboard for up to 24 hours, and hard surfaces such as stainless steel for two to three days.

When cleaning your home, experts suggest wearing disposable gloves to avoid contracting the virus or other germs on your skin. If you don't wear gloves, thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds after you've finished cleaning.

Once you arrive home from the grocery store, experts say that you should rinse fresh produce under water as usual. "You do not need to soak your produce in a sanitizing solution," says Aubree Gordon, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan. According to the European Food Safety Authority, there are no known instances of produce or food itself transferring coronavirus. However, if you've purchased packaged foods such as canned goods pasta, cereal, or prepared salad mix, consider transferring the food to an airtight container and disposing of the original packaging, as the virus or other germs could live on boxes or bags.

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