How to use Bleach for to disinfect surfaces from COVID-19 in non-health care settings?

What concentration of bleach should be used to disinfect surfaces from COVID-19 in non-health care settings?

Non health cares are places where medical assistance is provided without any professional media trainers or equipment. It is important for workers to understand the difference in both the sectors in terms of sanitizing and disinfecting the surfaces. Non health cares are usually on the safer side so it requires less concentration of bleach as compared to health care. However, with the increasing number of covid cases health care centers are scarce and inefficient. The demand for non health care centers has increased drastically and they have become equally risky of the infection. There are various measures by which you could disinfect the areas.

How to use Bleach for to disinfect surfaces from COVID-19 in non-health care settings?

In times like these where the spread has increased so much, it is essential that e as citizens take good care of ourselves and our surroundings. The shortage of beds, oxygen and basic medical equipment has overwhelmed the healthcare system. The ferocious second wave has hiked the number to cases to nearly 4,00,000 cases per day. India has recorded 24 million cases, roughly 2,50,000 deaths and around 2 million recovered cases by far. However, the actual numbers are believed to be higher since these are just the recorded cases. According to WHO, the cases in India are rising in the same number as the rest of the world combined. 

With the rising number of cases India has administered roughly 17 million vaccinations, Maharashtra being on the top in receiving the jab at 2 crore mark with 1,96,64,063 total doses followed by Rajasthan at 1,49,91,425 and Gujarat at 1,48,32,722.  Although, the situation seems upsetting due to the lack of vaccines. Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, a doctor and vaccines, public policy and health systems expert from Delhi says the India needs 200 to 250 million vaccines a month to reach full capacity but the country only has 70 – 80 million vaccines a month. 

India share only 36 billion or 1.23% of its total GDP on health care systems. Nearly 80% of the Indian population does not have health insurance and 68% has lack of access to medical facilities. The second wave turned out to be highly dangerous and the third wave is around the corner if measures are not taken widely. The country’s struggle continues with 98% of the population under lockdown. Almost every state is experiencing either partial or strict lockdown. India did see a dip in the rising cases but the situation still remains problematic. Every state has increased their health care centers to fight against covid 19. 

It is necessary to clean and disinfect high – touched areas or exposed also to the virus. Places like hospitals are highly dangerous and infected. In addition to this, it is also important to disinfect the non health care. Areas like doors, knobs, remotes, lifts, handles, floor, switches, tables, telephones etc. are touched the most. However, the chance of catching corona virus from the surfaces is less still it is important to be cautious and safe. The only way to reduce the spread is to kill the germs. Transmission can be avoided by disinfecting the areas. Avoiding physical touch in frequently touched areas can be an effective way.

Sodium hypochlorite(inorganic sodium salt) is a yellow colored solution used in non – healthcare or healthcare to disinfect and clean surfaces. It is a bleaching agent also used antiseptic for wounded areas. It is a mixture of sodium cation (Na+) and hypochlorite anion. It is used according to the affected surface. For instance, in healthcare it is used as a strong chlorine solution with 0.5% of hypochlorite. However, in non healthcare and washing hands it is diluted with water to weaken its chlorine intensity to 0.1% or 1000ppm (parts per million).  Household bleach contains one part of bleach 9 parts of water. You can increase the solution by adding the 10 more parts of bleach and increase in parts per million. 

For example – 20000 parts per million will contain 1 part of bleach and 19 parts of water making the total volume of the bucket to 500ml. A minimum of 500ppm is enough for everyday use which includes 2 spoons of bleach and 4 cups of water (1 litre). You need to keep it for 1 minute (air dry). To remove body fluid from the floors you can keep the solution for 2 minutes or increase it to 1000ppm. 

According to The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization bleach or Sodium hypochlorite can be used to fight against corona virus. The CDC also said that one third cup of chlorine bleach can be mixed with 1 gallon of water which is enough to fight against the infection. The solution can be used in a spray form or can be applied with a cloth on the surface. Products including ethanol up to 70% and alcohol up to 60 to 70% can also be used as an agent as it contains anti – microbial traits. 

You can follow some steps to properly store the solution. These disinfectants are supposed to be stored properly into air tight containers. Make sure to not keep it under sunlight. It is also important to store the solution in a clean and dry container. The container should be then labeled so that people are cautious.  Bleach reduces its effective traits after the bottle is opened once unless and until it is covered properly and in time. Bleach generally expires in a span of a year. Homemade bleaches should be used within 24 hours. If the bleach expires it has to be disposed properly. So take the expired bleach and dilute it with water so that it loses its harmful traits. Bleaches works best when the surface is already rinsed soap and a water solution. It is important to differentiate between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the process of getting rid of the germs by washing with soap or detergent. On the other hand, disinfecting is the process of removing the infection by strong bleach. Some surfaces will not require bleaching. Sanitizing also reduces the number of germs on the surfaces. 

Bleach Solutions are highly dangerous for the skin . So keep in mind the following tips to protect yourself from it.

  • Protect yourself at all times while using bleach.
  • Wear protective masks, goggles, shoes and gloves before using the bleach on the surface.
  • Be aware while spraying the bleach as you could come in contact with it.
  • In addition to this, you should also be cautious after coming out of the infected area since there are possibilities of catching the infection.
  • Make sure you sanitize your hands with alcohol based sanitizer. If you are entering a patient’s room try to limit your contact with the patient and try to spend less time in the room.
  • Remember to change beds and bed sheets after patients leave to create room for new patients. 

According to the government a hospital holding 300 patients require 200 reusable or rubber gloves, 1500 respirators, 150 medical or surgical masks(N95), 1500 gowns or ppe kit(fluid and non – fluid resistant), 130 alcohol based hand sanitizers, 20 liters of disinfectant of surfaces. These guidelines can also be used in non health care centers to stay protected at all times. Even after disinfecting the surfaces it doesn’t mean that the infection won’t come back. So disinfect at least two times a day if necessary. 


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