Health

How to Move Safely Right Now If You Absolutely Need To

Every time someone touches one of your items, there’s potential that they’re contaminating it with the virus. Plus, having them pack and move your belongings means spending more time around people outside your household.

7. Wrap up furniture that has a soft surface or is covered in fabric.

Most of your belongings will be packed away, but what about softer furniture, like your sofa or mattress? First, some good news: Experts believe that the coronavirus doesn’t survive as long on soft surfaces like fabric, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. But it’s understandable that you might want to play it safe while moving from one place to another.

Consider wrapping furniture like your sofa or mattress in plastic or using a clear vinyl furniture protector. That will also give you the added advantage of keeping dirt and debris off your furniture during the move. Remove the wrapping and dispose of it once you’re settled in your new place, and make sure to wash your hands after.

The CDC has thorough guidance on how to disinfect furniture (and just about everything else in your home) if someone in your household seems to have COVID-19 or is confirmed to have it. Assuming the movers and everyone you’re living with seems healthy, “a light disinfectant spray will be sufficient” for making your furniture safe, says Knighton. You can probably skip this step if you wrapped your furniture, though, as only your germs should be on it.

8. Wipe down the surfaces of tools, equipment, and vehicles before using them.

Germs have the potential to live on just about everything you touch during your move, including things you might have gotten from a moving company like a dolly, truck, and trailer. Wipe down high-touch surfaces (handles, steering wheels, radio buttons, touchscreen monitors, car keys) with disinfectant wipes or a rag and disinfectant spray before you get started, says Knighton.

It’s best to use disinfectants that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed effective against the coronavirus. Make sure you’re following the instructions for the products you’re using. Some cleaning supplies, like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, require that the surface stay visibly wet for four minutes after you wipe it down.

It’s probably not realistic to sanitize every tool and surface you’ll wind up touching during your move, and that’s okay. As long as you’re washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching these surfaces, you’re doing a lot to protect yourself.

9. Sanitize high-touch areas of your new home.

You probably have no idea who lived in your new home before you moved in and whether they were symptomatic for or exposed to COVID-19.

“It’s wise to assume someone might have been. In this case, any surface that hands may have touched should be wiped down with soap and water or disinfectant,” says Dr. Heinz.

Just like with moving supplies, you should devote your cleaning efforts to surfaces that are frequently touched (doorknobs, light switches, locks, oven knobs, refrigerator and freezer handles, countertops, etc.), as these are the places with a greater likelihood of potential contamination.

If you had movers, you should also disinfect any items they handled that aren’t wrapped up or packed away in boxes, says Knighton. This includes things like tables, TV stands, desks, and other furniture with a hard surface.

10. Unpack your own items too.

There are a few different strategies you can use to try to avoid exposure to the coronavirus while unpacking your items after other people have touched them. If you really want to and it’s actually feasible for you, you could avoid touching your cardboard boxes for 24 hours after they’re in your new home, based on how long research suggests the virus may be able to live on this surface. “That’s a very cautious approach, but you don’t need to rush to unpack if you don’t feel comfortable doing so,” says Dr. Heinz.

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