The threat of coronavirus is a continued worry for all, with positive cases of the Covid-19 strain being confirmed across the world.
So far, medical advice has focused mostly on the importance of washing our hands (every two hours, with soap and hot water, for 20 seconds each time), which is said to be the most effective way of protecting yourself against the new disease.
However, germs can also be spread by touching unclean equipment or surfaces. Experts advise that the cleaning and disinfection of visibly dirty surfaces is the best way to prevent the passing on of Covid-19 at home or at work.
Here are some practical tips from the NHS to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses in your home.
Focus on certain areas
To stop the spread of germs, focus your efforts on cleaning areas in the house where germs are more likely to spread, such as the kitchen and the bathroom.
Make sure you dry surfaces, such as worktops and chopping boards, thoroughly after cleaning. Dampness helps any remaining germs to survive, and - if there's enough water - multiply.
Clean then disinfect
In terms of disease prevention, cleaning and disinfection are considered different things, but it’s important to do both.
Cleaning is the removal of germs, and disinfectant is killing them. So cleaning first helps reduce the risk of germs spreading, and using a disinfectant after this helps to go one better.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated recently that "studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days."
Basically, it’s not enough to do a deep clean every few days, and you should make a habit of cleaning and disinfecting your surfaces at least once a day, but more often if they are in heavy use.
Soak and wash sponges and cloths
You should use disposable cloths or paper towels when possible, and reusable cloths should be disinfected or washed at 60C (140F) after each use.