COVID-19: Find the latest information on vaccines, testing, and how to get care.

Forgotten areas to disinfect against coronaviruses and other germs

Safety | Wellness | March 5, 2020
woman's hand pulling on handle of fridge door
It's easy to overlook these items and surfaces you touch every day.

The discovery of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has many people rushing to disinfect their homes and offices.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces as a way to prevent diseases from spreading.

Many of those high-touch items are well known – doorknobs, light switches and cell phones.

However, there are many objects people may not think of. Here is a list of surfaces you may want to add to your cleaning routine or to be sure to wash your hands after touching.


  • The soap dispenser in the bathroom
  • Toothbrush holder and toothpaste tube
  • The knobs and handles on the kitchen cabinets and drawers
  • The handles of the refrigerator and freezer
  • The handle of the water pitcher
  • The buttons and handles on the coffee pot
  • The buttons and handles on the microwave, stove and dishwasher
  • The knobs and handles on the washer and dryer
  • Garage door buttons
  • Keys and keyring
  • Tablet and home office items (e.g., buttons on printer)
  • Your purse or bag
  • Wearable device (e.g., fitness tracker)


  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Work ID badge
  • The candy dish
  • Conference room phones and video equipment
  • Buttons on printers and other equipment
  • Water cooler handles
  • Vending machines


  • Soap dispensers
  • Gas pump handles and buttons
  • ATM and store checkout pads or screens
  • Elevator buttons

How to clean and disinfect

Overall, the CDC recommends the following steps to clean and disinfect hard surfaces:

  1. Wear disposable gloves.
  2. If the surface is dirty, use a soap or detergent and water to first remove the grime.
  3. Disinfect the item or area using a solution such as one of the following:
    1. Bleach diluted with water (about 4 teaspoons per quart of water).
    2. Rubbing alcohol of 70% or higher -- either full strength or diluted with water.
    3. EPA-registered household disinfectant -- follow the manufacturer's label on diluting and use. Note:  you might need to leave the disinfectant on the surface for several minutes.

For soft surfaces such as carpet or rugs, remove visible dirt and spray with a cleaner appropriate for the material. 

For clothing, linens, towels, etc., launder according to the instructions on the label in the warmest water setting possible. 

hand cleaning a tabletFor your cell phone, tablet or other high-touch devices, check your manufacturer instructions. In general, many recommend using disinfectant wipes or a microfiber cloth lightly dampened with a solution of diluted alcohol (about 5 ounces water to 3 ounces alcohol). Avoid getting moisture in the openings. 


Related Content