Environmental Cleaning Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

Cleaning and disinfection of residences exposed to the COVID-19 virus

Members of the public can refer to NEA’s Cleaning and disinfection guidelines for households on home recovery for steps and items required for cleaning and disinfecting your residence, as well as the List of household disinfectants and self-disinfecting surface coating products against COVID-19 virus for the types of products to be used.

For cleaning and disinfection of residences that may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should wear PPE like disposable gloves and surgical masks to protect yourself from potential exposure to the virus and irritants that may be present in some disinfectants. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth once you have put on the PPE. Once soiled or damaged, gloves should be removed and discarded, and a new pair should be used after you have washed your hands with soap and water. After cleaning and disinfection has been completed, you should shower and change your clothes immediately.

Please refer to NEA's Cleaning and disinfection guidelines for households on home recovery for steps and items required for cleaning and disinfecting your residence.

Please refer to the List of household disinfectants and self-disinfecting surface coating products against COVID-19 virus for a list of disinfectants that can be used. Disinfectants should be prepared and applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Bleach can also be used as a disinfectant for cleaning and disinfection (dilute 1 part bleach in 49 parts water, or 1000 ppm). Bleach solutions should be prepared fresh. The contact time may differ with the types of disinfectant used. Refer to the product label’s direction of use on the proper usage and appropriate contact time. Contact time is the amount of time needed for the disinfectant to come in contact with the microorganism (such as viruses, bacteria) so that a significant number of microorganisms are killed.

Alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable.

The effects of exposure to bleach varies according to the concentration of the bleach, the duration of exposure and the amount of bleach used. Commonly, a bleach allergy will cause swelling, inflammation and redness at the site of contact. It is not toxic to the skin itself but may cause adverse physical reactions such as itching. Please consult a doctor if the irritation persists after a few days or becomes severe. It is also important to follow the product label’s direction of use to minimise the risk of adverse effects from the use of the disinfectants.

After disinfection, ensure that the area is well ventilated and allowed to dry completely before touching the surfaces. Keep young children away from the disinfected areas until the surfaces are completely dry.

Environmental surfaces are areas and objects in your home which may be exposed to COVID-19. This will include areas like floors, walls, blinds, tables, kitchen tops and furniture. Pay attention to high touchpoints and surfaces that are frequently touched or come in contact with the human body, such as doorknobs, arm rests, seat backs, tables, keyboards, light switches, etc.

Toilets and accessible surfaces like toilet bowl and taps should also be disinfected.

Yes. Wash all bed sheets, pillow covers, blankets and other fabrics with detergent in the washing machine. Do not use a spray pack to apply disinfectant as it may create splashes which can further spread viruses. However, other household members should not use the same mattress for at least 3 days after your recovery.

If a person is being tested for COVID-19, do not use mattress(es), pillow(s), carpet(s), cushion(s) that have been used by him/her until he/she is determined to be free of infection. Please refer to NEA’s Cleaning and disinfection guidelines for households on home recovery for steps and items required for cleaning and disinfecting your residence.

No. However, it is recommended that people not involved in the cleaning and disinfection should stay away from the area that is being disinfected.

It is recommended that pets such as cats and dogs be kept away from the area as these pets may introduce microbes onto the disinfected surfaces.

Cleaning equipment like pails may be reused. However, ensure that that they are washed thoroughly with disinfectants and dried before reusing them. All cloths and rags used should be placed in double-lined plastic/trash bags which have been tied securely and disposed of immediately as normal waste.

All waste should be placed in double-lined plastic or trash bags which have been tied securely and disposed of immediately as normal waste.

No. However, do open your windows and doors to ventilate your home. Fans can also be used to increase the air flow and help to remove disinfectant chemicals.

Please refer to Environmental Cleaning Guidelines for a list of cleaning companies that provide disinfection services.

Please contact the cleaning companies directly for a quote as the price is dependent on factors such as the size of the house.

Monitor your health and seek medical attention if you are feeling unwell. Ensure that a high level of personal hygiene is maintained at all times. For more information, please visit www.moh.gov.sg.

Cleaning and disinfection operations

Public areas with high human traffic are typically cleaned more frequently compared to other areas. For example, areas popular with tourists, including Orchard Road, Chinatown and Bugis are cleaned almost hourly. In light of the COVID-19 situation, NEA has increased the cleaning frequency of frequently touched surfaces and public spaces with high human traffic like hawker centres.

Since the end of January 2020, NEA has stepped up our inspection of public toilets to plug hygiene gaps like inadequate or missing liquid soap. We will also increase enforcement efforts against public hygiene offences, like spitting and littering to safeguard public health.

Viruses may survive on surfaces of different materials for at least 2 to 3 days, and as a result, potentially contaminated surfaces may play a role in the transmission of the virus when persons come in direct contact with these surfaces. Therefore, it is important to clean and disinfect areas that are frequently touched, to prevent transmission of viruses.

Working closely with the Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, NEA will update the guidelines whenever there are new developments on the COVID-19 situation.

NEA issues licences to cleaning businesses that provide general cleaning services. However, we do not authorise cleaning businesses to carry out cleaning or disinfection works. We urge the public to be mindful of claims made by the cleaning companies.

Based on information made available to NEA, a list of cleaning companies providing COVID-19 disinfection services was put together to provide owners and operators of premises with an easy reference.

For non-residential premises where confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported:
NEA will engage the management of the premises to provide guidance and direction on the cleaning and disinfection operations. This is to ensure that the cleaning and disinfection of areas where the confirmed cases had spent prolonged periods of time, are done in accordance with NEA’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. All the common areas of these premises will also need to be wiped down and disinfected with the appropriate disinfectants in accordance with our guidelines.

For residences where confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported:
NEA will engage the Town Councils or the MCSTs/MAs of private residences to review their cleaning and disinfection works of frequently touched surfaces in the common areas such as lifts, lifts buttons, letterboxes, tables and chairs amongst others so as to maintain high standards of sanitation to minimise the disease transmission.

Although common cleaning and disinfection agents, including those in the List of household disinfectants and self-disinfecting suface coating products against the COVID-19 virus, are generally safe for use in public premises, prolonged exposure to high concentrations of chemicals may cause some discomfort to the occupants. It is a good practice to ensure good ventilation during and after cleaning and disinfection activities.

Building owners and facility managers can refer to the Technical Advisory on use of air-cleaning technologies to mitigate COVID-19 aerosol transmission risk for precautionary measures to minimise the build-up of chemicals from cleaning and disinfection activities, while also reducing the risk of disease transmission.

Transmission of the COVID-19 virus

The COVID-19 virus is spread through close contact and droplets, but not through the bites of mosquitoes.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted through swimming pools. The management and owners of premises are required to conduct daily testing of the pool water for pH and disinfectant levels and maintain a regular cleansing regime to ensure that the water quality complies with the Environmental Public Health (Swimming Pools) Regulations at all times

Users of swimming pools are advised to observe good public hygiene practices such as showering before entering the pool to remove impurities typically found on bodies, and to not spit into the pool. If you’re unwell, please avoid using the pool.

The COVID-19 virus is transmitted mostly through respiratory droplets when people sneeze or cough. As soiled tissue paper may be contaminated with these droplets, we urge the public to always observe good public hygiene practices and dispose of all litter and soiled tissue into rubbish bins. A clean environment will help stop community transmission of the COVID-19.