- Mikhail “Doctor Mike” Varshavski is a family medicine physician and popular YouTube influencer with more than 5 million subscribers.
- Washing your hands, cleaning your mobile phone, and removing your shoes when you come inside are the easiest ways of keeping the interior of your house clean, he said.
- Check the labels of your cleaning products to see if they list coronavirus as one of the viruses and bacteria they can kill.
- If you have pets that go outside, don’t let people pet them and wipe their paws before they come into the house.
- View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.
This story is based on a Business Insider Today interview produced by Meg Teckman-Fullard.
While working from home and staying inside to help the spread of the coronavirus, I’ve started to realise just how dirty everything is around my apartment. I try to keep things fairly tidy, but every now and again, I get the urge to do a big, deep clean.
But this time around, I wasn’t sure what things to prioritise or which cleaning products to use to help protect us at home.
To put my mind at ease, I got some help from Mikhail Varshavski. A family medicine practitioner, he’s also known as “Doctor Mike” on YouTube. Beyond clinical duties, he’s been posting informative coronavirus videos to his millions of subscribers.
His first tip is to make sure we disinfect ourselves after coming inside: “That doesn’t mean taking a full shower,” he said.
He recommended washing your hands very thoroughly, as well as removing your shoes and leaving them by the door. He says that since our hands are the main spreaders of the virus, the next item to make sure we clean is the one we touch all day: our mobile phones.
Apple and Samsung both put out guidelines on how to disinfect their smartphones. While they both recommend using a soft microfiber or lint-free cloth, Apple does explicitly state that disinfecting wipes are acceptable to “gently wipe the exterior surface of your iPhone.”
For cleaning other things around our homes, Varshavski urged people to read the labels on disinfectants carefully.
For products containing bleach, use them in an open-air environment to avoid irritation from the fumes. For non-bleach disinfectants, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Often, coronavirus is listed alongside other harmful viruses and bacteria that these disinfectants treat. I hadn’t noticed it before, but my Clorox-brand wipes did say that in the fine print that one of the viruses it can kill is the “human coronavirus.”
“So if it says it cleans coronavirus, trust it,” Varshavski said.
I’ve been using disinfecting wipes on many things around my home like my doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
Varshavski noted that research is ongoing to see how long the virus survives on different surfaces and in the air. One study by the National Institutes of Health suggests that it can live up to three days on plastic.
“The majority of our household products, our mice, our keyboards, they’re made of plastic,” Varshavski said. “So it’s easy that if your hands are dirty to have it live for a long period of time on these products.”
There’s also still more research to be done about how the coronavirus affects the non-human occupants of our homes. I have two indoor cats in my apartment, but several friends and family members with dogs that need walking have had questions.
“What we have seen is pets acting like a surface contaminant,” Varshavski said. The doctor, a dog owner himself, strongly recommended that when walking your dog, maintain social distancing and do not allow strangers to pet them. Also be sure to wipe their paws before coming back inside just as you would remove your shoes.
“Practice proper social distancing, clean them just like you’re cleaning yourself, and you’ll be able to be safe,” he said.
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