Cleaning and Disinfection

Guidelines for In-House Cleaning and Disinfection of Areas Exposed to COVID-19 Cases in Non-Healthcare Premises

Released on 27 October 2021

This document provides guidance by the National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore, on the cleaning and disinfection of public areas  to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to cleaners and members of public.

NEA strongly encourages all stakeholders and premises owners to take precautionary measures to implement a structured cleaning and disinfection regime which can be carried out by in-house cleaners to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

 With the community spread of COVID-19, this set of guidelines on regular cleaning and disinfection will apply to all public places visited by members of public and the community.   

For residences exposed to COVID-19 cases, please refer to the "Cleaning and Disinfection Guidelines for Households on Home Recovery".

1.       Introduction

1.1   As the virus can survive on surfaces of different materials for at least 2 to 3 days, surfaces potentially contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. commonly touched surfaces, surfaces which may have been exposed to respiratory droplets such as sneezes or coughs, and floors) shall be disinfected.

1.2   COVID-19 can also be spread through virus aerosols in the air under certain settings, such as enclosed environments which are poorly ventilated. Spaces should therefore be well ventilated at all times, including before and during cleaning to introduce fresh air. This can help to reduce the concentration of airborne contamination, including viruses. Please refer to the Updated Guidance on Improving Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in Buildings for a Healthy Indoor Environment for more information.

1.3   The principles of safe cleaning and disinfection are:

a)       Wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE),

b)      Disinfection of potential infectious matter on surfaces using appropriate disinfectant,

c)       Proper disinfection of washing tools after use, and

d)      Proper removal of PPE when cleaning is completed.

e)      Good ventilation in all areas to be disinfected where feasible.

B. Cleaning of Premises

I. Items to Prepare for Cleaning of Premises

Prepare these items before you start to clean the premises:

1.   Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Disposable gloves
Surgical mask
Face Shield (optional)

2.   Preparation of disinfectant

Prepare the disinfectant for surface disinfection according to manufacturer’s recommendations.  Bleach solution (For bleach, dilute to 1000ppm or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite; bleach solutions with 5.25-6.00% sodium hypochlorite can be diluted with 1-part bleach in 49 parts water), alcohol (75%) or other disinfectant listed in NEA list of active ingredients for general disinfection can also be used.

3.   Trash bags

4.   Disposable cloths or rags

5.   Pail

6.   Mop

 II. Cleaning Instructions

1.   Put on the required PPE.

2.   Keep windows open for ventilation.

Surface Disinfection and cleaning

1.   Soak cloths with prepared disinfectant or bleach solution and use them to wipe all frequently touched areas (e.g. lift buttons, handrails, doorknobs, arm rests, seat backs, tables, air/ light controls, keyboards, switches, etc.). Observe recommended contact time according to manufacturer’s instruction.

2.    A steady wiping motion should be used when cleaning either floors or horizontal surfaces, to prevent the creation of aerosols or splashing.

3.    After the appropriate contact time, surface may be wiped again with a clean wet cloth, allow to air dry after wiping.

4.    All linens need to be washed as the virus can stay on surfaces such as curtains, carpets, mattresses, pillows, or cushions for 2-3 days: 

i.            Laundry should be placed directly into the washing machine or a pail of water and washed with laundry detergent. Avoid tossing or throwing the fabrics.
ii.            Set items you are unable to wash or disinfect aside, and do not use them for 3 days. Otherwise, you may engage a cleaning contractor to properly disinfect these items. Please refer to our website for the updated list of companies* that can carry out disinfection works.

* The list is for reference only and is non-exhaustive. NEA neither endorses the companies nor the views they express or the products/ services they offer.

Cleaning of Floors

1.   Fill a bucket with an attached wringer with disinfectant solution.

2.   The bucket used for mopping should have a wringer attached. Mops should not be hand-wrung.

3.   Dip the mop head into bucket with disinfectant solution, wring dry and mop the floor from one end of the premises to another. Avoid going from an area that has not been cleaned to an area that has been cleaned, to avoid dirtying the cleaned area.

4.   A steady sweeping/ wiping motion is recommended to prevent splashing.

5.   Allow to air dry.

Toilet Cleaning

1.   Prepare bleach for disinfecting of sink U-trap, floor trap, urinal, and toilet bowl (dilute to 5000ppm or 0.5% sodium hypochlorite; bleach solutions with 5.25-6.00% sodium hypochlorite can be diluted with 1-part bleach in 9 parts water).

2.   Sink U-trap and floor trap shall be disinfected to reduce the risk of aerosolisation from wastewater before cleaning starts.

3.   For disinfection of sink U-trap, pour a cup (approximately 250mL) of 0.5% bleach solution into the sink.

4.   For disinfection of floor trap, pour 2 cups (approximately 500mL) of 0.5% bleach solution into the floor trap.

5.   High pressure jetting of toilet should not be performed to prevent aerosolisation of the COVID-19 virus.

6.   Conduct toilet cleaning according to NEA Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of  Public Toilets in Non-Healthcare Premises

Post cleaning disinfection and disposal of cleaning equipment

1.   Throw away disposable cleaning equipment after cleaning each area.

2.   Double bag and seal (eg. cable tie) waste generated during cleaning and dispose as regular waste.

3.   For reusable cloth and mops, prepare a bucket of fresh disinfectant solution to disinfect the cloths and mops separately. Soak cloths and mop head into bucket and observe appropriate contact time. Separately use a disinfectant-soaked cloth to wipe the mop handle.

4.   Disinfect buckets by wiping with cloth soaked in disinfectant or bleach solution.

5.   All used equipment including cloths and mops should be disinfected with appropriate disinfectant after each use and air dried.

Removal of PPE

1.   Designate a well ventilated “clean area” to remove PPE.

2.   Remove glove and perform hand hygiene (eg. wash your hands with soap and water or perform hand rub with hand sanitised).

3.   Wipe face shield or goggles, if used, with an appropriate disinfectant after each use, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

4.   Double bag, seal and dispose PPE as regular waste.