The coronavirus has changed the routine of millions of people, and one of the most direct effects is that we are now stuck indoors because the country is in lockdown.
Our homes have, in many cases, suddenly become an enclosed space shared with other people which may include young children, elderly relatives, patients at risk and even pets. This means we have more contact than usual, but we also need to keep our homes clean and tidy to make sure they are comfortable and, above all, safer.
Numerous questions spring to mind. Is it safe to keep our shoes on indoors? Should we be wearing gloves and masks at home? How often should we change the towels? What about washing our clothes? Are there specific products which guarantee disinfection of surfaces? One answer is clear, however. "Our cleaning routines should be the same as usual, unless someone in the family is infected with coronavirus. In that case, people should follow the advice given by the health authorities," says José María Bellido, who runs the Cuisad company which specialises in domestic cleaning.
It is a good idea to be careful about footwear that we use outside, and Bellido recommends that we always wear the same pair of shoes on the few occasions when we do go out during the lockdown. Experience in China and the work there on disinfecting the asphalt in the streets shows that the virus can remain on this surface for between nine and 12 hours, so "when we get home we should take those shoes off and wear a different pair indoors. It is also advisable to disinfect the outdoor shoes completely, not just the soles, using a solution of bleach and water". He says this should be done throughout the lockdown.
Diluted bleach in spray form is an ally at times like this, for use on light switches, door handles, tables and worktops.
Bellido says it isn't necessary to wear gloves and masks indoors unless someone in the family is suspected of being infected. Laundry can also be done in the same way as usual, although if someone is contagious their clothes and bedding should be washed separately in hot water (60 to 90 degrees).
Avoid damp towels
José María Bellido also says we shouldn't use damp towels: "Change them as often as necessary," he insists. As we are all having to wash our hands frequently nowadays, this is more likely to make the towels damper sooner.
He also says that when we bring our washing in, we should make sure it is absolutely dry and aired. It is best to dry clothes outside if possible, rather than in a tumble dryer.
Finally, in recent days people have been wondering whether they ought to ventilate their rooms before making the bed or starting to clean. "Of course, it is recommended to open the windows wide for 20 to 30 minutes," says Bellido.
Apart from the advice given here, he says the best thing is to keep homes clean and tidy in general. That way, they will be more pleasant and more comfortable spaces for people to share the space, and that is pretty important.