The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Tips for Cleaning Our Work Areas and Common Spaces

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has forced us to rethink how we go about our daily lives as we all try to stay safe and healthy. As such, EHS would like to remind the UI research community of the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting work areas and common spaces if a person with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility within the last 7 days. Note: per CDC guidance, if it has been more than 7 days since the person with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Full CDC guidance can be found here.

The efficacy of disinfectants is evaluated on pre-cleaned surfaces. Thus, surfaces that are visibly dirty should be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. Disinfection of work and common areas can be achieved with an EPA approved disinfectant. EPA List N covers disinfectants approved for coronavirus. Follow disinfectant label instructions for adequate contact time to disinfect. If possible, wet towels or wipes with disinfectant rather than spraying; spraying may aerosolize anything that is on surfaces. Do not mix different types of disinfectants and/or cleaning solutions; some may react with each other and may produce dangerous fumes. Always wear appropriate PPE while cleaning.

Note: Cleaning chemicals should only be used by staff trained on the hazards of those cleaning chemicals.

Examples of Work Areas (labs, shared core areas, etc.):

  • Benchtops, fume hood and biosafety cabinet sashes and work surfaces, centrifuge lids and bucket caps, waste container lids and handles, etc.
  • Handheld devices (pipettors, pipetman, etc.) and other commonly used items.
  • Shared PPE (laser goggles, safety glasses, etc.).
  • Frequently touched surfaces, such as light switches, door handles, knobs and push plates, refrigerator and freezer handles, equipment touch screens, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Clean electronics according to manufacturer instructions.

Examples of Common areas (lunchrooms, offices, etc.):

  • Refrigerator/freezer handles and shelves.
  • Microwave keypad and handle.
  • Sink faucets and surrounding surfaces.
  • Tables and chairs
  • Door handles, knobs, and push plates.
  • Clean electronics according to manufacturer instructions.

Wash your hands often (20 seconds of scrubbing) with soap and water after removing gloves, before leaving the laboratory, before eating, and after using the restroom. Hand sanitizer should only be used if soap and water are not available.