How to create a sanitation area in your home

It’s been five months since the country was put under quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Still, thousands and thousands of people have still contracted the deadly virus. Recently, some celebrities shared that they have gotten the disease through package deliveries that they have failed to sanitize.

It is important to clean your homes to help prevent the spread of the virus. As an added measure, you can create a sanitation area in your home to make sure that you and your family are safe from COVID-19. The sanitation station can be set up outside your house or by the door if you live in a condominium. 

Here are some ways to create your own sanitation area: 

Place a shoe rack outside

Before entering your home, take off your shoes and place these on a shoe rack by the door. By removing your shoes, you reduce germs entering your home. Aside from dirt, a study from the University of Arizona has shown that shoes can track in germs and diarrhea-inducing bacteria ― making them dirtier than a toilet seat. 

In relation to the recent health crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the novel coronavirus can live on the soles of shoes of medical staff. However, experts have also said that there is minimal chance that the disease can survive on your clothing or shoes and be transmitted to others. But just the same, it’s best to just leave your shoes by the door. Another thing you can do is to just wear one pair of shoes every time you go out.

Another option is to place a sanitation mat outside your door. Sanitation or disinfecting footbath mats have become popular in the last few months. Normally used by food production warehouses and the like, sanitation mats are designed to disinfect the soles of any footwear from germs and bacteria. You can buy one in stores, or online, or you can make your own. Remember to clean and disinfect the mat at least once a week. 

Have a washing and gargling station

After disinfecting your shoes, wash your hands and gargle your mouth. Since the outbreak, we’ve been told that washing your hands for 20 seconds is beneficial to help stop the spread of the virus, but gargling is also important. Researchers from Chang Gung University College of Medicine in Taiwan suggested that throat gargling may have a beneficial effect, as this can reduce the viral load in the throat and the severity of the disease in cases of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Though gargling cannot replace the use of face masks and social distancing, it doesn’t hurt to add another step towards keeping you and your family safe. 

If there is an area in your house like a garage or dirty kitchen, or if there is a hose line where you can wash your hands and gargle, just place a basket with soap, saline solution and tissues or towels. If you live in a condo, before heading out, prepare a small wash bin or palanggana, soap and towel, and a bucket of water by the door so that you can wash your hands once you get home. 

Set up a sanitation station

If washing your hands before entering your home is not a viable option, set up a table or shelf or trolley as a sanitation station and place this near the entrance.

Place all the disinfecting essentials there such as alcohol, disinfectant sprays, wipes ― the works. By having this sanitation setup, you can also sanitize packages and mail before bringing them inside. You can even store your stock of face masks here so you won’t forget to wear one before stepping out of the house. Do not forget to disinfect keys, wallet, doorknobs, gate handles, doorbells, and your gadgets. 

Have a trash bin specific for face masks and gloves

We have seen images of face masks and gloves being carelessly discarded in different areas. This increases the risk of infecting other people through aerosolization, or the process wherein spit or mucus is dispersed and transmitted through the air. Not to mention, it pollutes Mother Nature even more. If you are using single-use face masks, place a wastebasket that is only for used masks and gloves. 

How to properly dispose a surgical face mask: fold the mask in half inward, fold it in half and again until the mask looks like a roll. Use the straps to wrap it tightly so it won’t unravel. Wrap the roll in tissue and throw it in the trash bin. 

Set up a makeshift changing room

Or go one step further by taking a bath before entering the house. If your garage is covered or there’s an area where you can change clothes and take a bath without being seen, do so. 

My family and I do this. Whenever any of us arrives from work or from buying essentials, we take a bath in our laundry area. There, we have a stack of shampoo and soap, malong, towels, and clean clothes. We then place our dirty clothes inside the laundry basket or shoot these into the washing machine. Again, it’s an added step to ensure the health and safety of your family ― but only if it is possible with the layout of your home. 

With so many uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is always best to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the health and welfare of you and your loved ones.