Our Blog | Advice

Cleaning and Disinfecting During Coronavirus

Updated on 22/10 2020

According to the new Government guidelines, hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, and boarding houses for commercial use must remain closed right now, unless they are temporarily hosting key workers. For this reason, we have launched our Stays for Heroes platform, where we aim to facilitate the placement of key workers into much-needed accommodation. To find out more details and how to sign up, click here. For more information about who classifies as a key worker, click here.

The Government have released information on how to properly clean and disinfect surfaces during the COVID-19 outbreak, and we’ve compiled this information geared specifically toward lodging providers based on their recommendations.

To help prepare your business for when this pandemic is behind us, we also wanted to mention that a study from the popular TV show Four in a Bed has revealed that guests are willing to pay up to 33% more for a cleaner accommodation. Click here for more information on this study and how it was conducted.

Although the following guidelines are specifically tailored to reducing the spread of coronavirus, maintaining high standards of general hygiene in your property is crucial at all times.

Cleaning and disinfecting

According to the Government website, places where a person exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms has passed through, but spent minimal time in, such as corridors, must be cleaned thoroughly, but without any significant changes to your normal cleaning routine.

However, all surfaces that have come in contact with a symptomatic person must be thoroughly disinfected, including:

  • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells
  • all hard surfaces, including floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings must be cleaned with disposable cloths, or paper roll and disposable mop heads, following one of the options below:

    1. Use a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine.

    2. Use a household detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm av.cl.). Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants.

    3. If an alternative disinfectant is used within the organisation, check and ensure that it is effective against enveloped viruses.

Approved disinfectants

To check if a disinfectant has been approved for use in England, Scotland and Wales, click here to access the dedicated list by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). You can find more information on which disinfectant to use for each purpose here.

Preparing to clean. How to clean and disinfect safely:

The infection risk from an environment that has been contaminated with coronavirus decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.

To clean a room, you want to ensure you’re using appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hand Hygiene:

  • Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling garbage.

  • The minimum PPE to be worn for cleaning an area with potential exposure to COVID-19 is disposable gloves and an apron. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds after all PPE has been removed. If there are signs indicating that an infected person has utilised the area, additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s eyes, mouth and nose might be necessary.

  • Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area. Be sure to clean your hands after removing gloves.

  • Avoid creating splashes and spray when cleaning. Any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and put into double waste bags.


  • For hard surfaces:
    • Using a disposable cloth, clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with Defra-approved products. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles.

  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes:
    • Remove visible contamination if present. 
    • Clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. 
    • Use Defra-approved products that are suitable for porous surfaces.

Linens and laundry

  • Do not shake dirty laundry; this minimises the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.

  • Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.


  • Waste from potentially infected areas (including disposable cloths and tissues) should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. You must keep it stored safely for at least 72 hours, and then add it in with the normal waste.

  • Gloves should be removed after cleaning a room or area occupied by ill persons. You must wash your hands immediately after gloves are removed.

  • Cleaning staff and others should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Download our cleaning and disinfecting checklist

Download the Cleaning and Disinfecting checklist here.

Washing your hands

Washing your hands is vital in reducing the spread of germs and viruses. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Follow Boris Johnson’s handy tip, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Learn more

For more information, check out the Government guidelines on cleaning in non-healthcare settings here.

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