Should you be sanitizing groceries and what steps can you take after shopping?

Over the weekend they advertised the video above on Alexa devices, which I found helpful and comforting, unlike most of the other videos they feature. (Why can’t you opt out of those?) I had not looked up how to sanitize groceries or what to do after shopping and was simply spraying the crap out of everything and even washing my Coke Zero bottles with soap every time. This was of course short-sighted of me but I was still operating under the old information that the virus can survive over a week on surfaces. In fact the virus can survive only 2-3 days on hard surfaces and just one day on cardboard. That almost makes me want to buy groceries, set the non-perishables aside for three days and then not worry about it. There are some steps you can take to be more comfortable and safe with your groceries though. The video is short, upbeat and worth watching. They talk to Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a Michigan-based doctor whose video of grocery sanitizing went viral. He says that the virus surviving for three days is a worst case scenario. He recommends using caution, but says to just do your best job. I’ve paraphrased most of the main points below.

Don’t be too worried about groceries, but you can still clean them or set non-perishables aside
Dr. Jeff: The main mode of transmission is from person to person. We don’t have data that it can be transmitted on the packaging of groceries. We can’t say there’s zero risk and it may be worth the extra measure to use some caution. We should not fear the food, but these extra measures mitigate risk around packaging.

Narrator: Don’t be too concerned because most products spend longer in transit than the virus can survive. If you want to be extra cautious, set non-perishables aside for a few extra days.

If you want to clean all your groceries, set up a dirty side and clean side
If you’re extra cautious you can spray and wipe everything down
If you want to take even more precaution, set up an area to clean your groceries with a dirty side and clean side. You can also just take items out of their packaging (i.e. cereal that’s in bags, individual microwave popcorn, etc.)

For fresh fruits and vegetables without packaging, rinse them with water. (I still use soap on items with hard skins like apples, oranges and cucumbers.)

The risk is small of catching anything from a surface, but the best we can do will help reduce risk. Just do the best you can.

Gloves can just move germs around, be careful. Soap and water can be more effective than germs.

Wear face protection to remind yourself not to touch your face and to be careful.

Take your shoes off before you go in the house.

I went shopping Sunday afternoon and it wasn’t that crowded. It feels like things are becoming a bit more “normal,” however the cashier licked her fingers to open the plastic bag (I’m no longer bringing my own bags as per recommendations) and it bothered me so much. I did not say anything to her because I decided that no matter how I framed that it wouldn’t be helpful, she’s already putting herself at risk with that job. I do have one giant structured bag and I think I’m going to ask to pack my own groceries from now on and just wash the bags when I get home. Now that I’ve seen this video I feel like it’s a smarter move to use my own bags and pack it myself.

When I got out I wear a mask but not gloves. My wallet and phone go in a plastic ziplock bag. I also carry a spray bottle of alcohol with me (I’ve always used alcohol to clean before this, I was lucky) and keep a handwashing station in my car. It’s just a plastic storage box with a gatorade bottle with water in it, liquid hand soap and some washcloths. Whenever I get gas or groceries I wash my hands afterwards. I do think I’ve already caught the virus and recovered, but I’m not taking any chances.



Photos credit: Anna Shvets from Pexels

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69 Responses to “Should you be sanitizing groceries and what steps can you take after shopping?”

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  1. Ali says:

    I still use recyclable grocery bags.

    The worse thing is cross contamination. People using gloves then touching their face.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I have a cart on wheels that’s basically just a big cloth bag on a wheeled frame…I’ve been using it at my grocery store and no-one has batted an eyelash. I don’t personally ‘disinfect’ any of my stuff once I get it home, but I do clean the bag with Lysol spray just to be on the safe side.

      IDK maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t stress about grocery shopping, unless I do see people being gross / cross-contaminating like you said. Or worse, touching everything with their bare hands, ew. Last time I was there one woman must have handled 5-6 loaves of bread before finally taking one. Needless to say I made sure not to touch them afterwards, haha.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Exactly, overthinking things may create more hazards.

      Packing your own stuff in your own bag will always be safer for the cashier, yourself and the other shoppers because it reduces contacts between people. Using water + bleach or soap to clean are the fresh produces increases the risks of intoxication (and reduces their shelf life). Using gloves and a mask means that you have to be very careful as you remove your gloves and take off your mask… Gloves are really useful to avoid potential pathogens get into a cut on your skin, but they spread potential pathogens around just like hands would. The worst is people washing their gloves like they’d wash their hands: gloves become permeable and thus useless when you do that.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Stores in my area won’t allow reusables, it’s ridiculous. If I’m packing, I don’t understand the issue.

      Plastic/oil lobbyists have seized the opportunity to force the issue and make more money.

      • Ol' Miss says:

        We aren’t allowed reusable things in our store either, so I just get them to put it in the cart, without bags. At my car, I put them in a plastic bin(s) I have. When I get home, everything can get a wipe with bleach containing cleaner if it needs to be unpacked right away, and the rest just sits in the corner for a few days. The bin can easily be wiped down when i unpack the non perishables in a few days. Seems to work…

      • AMA1977 says:

        You bringing your bags from home potentially brings contaminants into the store. I try to look at it this way (I miss using my resuable bags, too): I know that I keep my bags clean and that I practice good sanitation, but the store doesn’t know that, and they have to make policies that embrace the lowest common denominator, unfortunately. There are still people in my area touching all the things, shopping with 2+ able-bodied adults, touching their faces, standing too close, using cash…the stores are trying to do what they can to keep people (their people and the public) safe. It’s not personal.

  2. Royalwatcher says:

    We have a little screened in porch so we put the groceries in there to unpack (no outside bags coming in the house and we don’t wear shoes in the house anyway but just saw it can also live on your shoes for days too!). Then one of us wears gloves (although they are only food grade gloves so don’t know how much they protect?) and uses wipes for all of the refrigerated/frozen food and passes to the other person who puts it away (in the back of the fridge to wait a few days, if we can, before using). For the non-perishables we just leave those in the porch for 3 days and then bring them in. Same with fruit, wait 3 days to eat, and only washing apples with water like normal. It’s probably overkill to wait 3 days but makes me feel less anxious, so I’m doing it.

    I heard a local infectious disease doctor on the radio saying at his house they wash their hands, then just bring the groceries inside (but not the bags), put the groceries away like normal and then wash hands again. They don’t wipe anything down or soak in soapy water or anything! He also as saying frequent hand washing and avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth is the key. I’m still doing my system though lol.

    • cer says:

      There’s been criticism of this Md. by actual subject specialists:

      I’m a food microbiologist. Would you like me to give you advice on how to care for your sick kids? I don’t think so. Don’t take food safety or microbiology advice from MDs that don’t understand food, science or very much about microbiology. (3/33)
      There are a few things that he gets right, but I’m not going to focus on those. I’m going to spend my time here focusing on the things that he gets partly or completely wrong. (4/33)
      He completely misrepresented the 17 days figure from CDC. This was based on finding viral RNA, not infectious viral particles. The CDC report also does not give the methods used but cites personal communication… impossible to peer review. (5/33)

      • Prof Trelawney says:

        thanks for this, it’s all been so confusing, worrying my banana may be the thing that kills me, or that box of pasta… mainly, I haven’t been in a grocery store since 3/13, using delivery and pick-up (direct into my trunk) instead. it’s forced me to change my habits a bit, but I’m supporting local farms and businesses in the process, and have gone vegetarian too. good luck to all, and thanks to celebitchy and cer for the info, lots to “digest.”

      • Arpeggi says:

        YES!!! Thank you for the link

        TBH most of the microbiologists I know (myself included) are scratching their heads when they hear some of the “decontamination” recommandations because they just don’t make sense and some can be harmful.

      • Thinking says:

        Ok. Y’all stressin’ me out ! I dont do anything except wash my hands real well when I get home. I see people washing their hands in the car and I dont even wash my groceries or anything .
        🙁 . Please someone from this site say u r doing the same thing so I wont feel like a dirty oinky !!

      • Jules says:

        Yes. There is too much bad information and conflicting information out there. To me, this sounds overly paranoid and fear-based. Not biting.

      • Miss b says:

        Thank you! All of this is so unnecessary. Please do not bleach your food. Please do not give yourself a crippling anxiety disorder because you’re worried about the wrong thing. There have been zero known cases of transmission from food packaging. The dangerous part of this process isn’t bringing groceries into the house, it’s GOING TO THE STORE. Wear a mask. Use hand sanitizer. Wash your hands before you eat. Stay at least 6 feet apart from people you aren’t quarantined with.

      • Justme says:

        Thank you indeed. It comes down to wash your hands, maintain social distance, try not to touch your face. Things are going to begin cautiously to open up in the next few weeks across a lot of the country. Why? Because we can’t stay closed until a vaccine that’s why. We’ve all been well trained now to be extra careful and let’s hope people have learned well.

      • Anners says:

        hey Thinking – I’m the same. I do usually use some hand sanitizer (Dr Bronner’s lavender one – don’t know how useful it is, but has 70% alcohol and it smells nice) once I get in the car because i don’t like the idea of touching my steering wheel with germy hands, but then I just wash my hands really well when i get home and once again after i put away my groceries. I don’t wash them at all (unless they’re produce, which i wash before eating). I dunno – to be honest I almost didn’t click on this link because other people doing so much makes me feel panicky and scared.

    • Nana says:

      Have a similar system – I unpack straight onto shelves I moved into the glassed in porch area and leave for a day or two and then wash with detergent in the laundry tub.
      Those things that can’t be washed such as flour in paper bags, I went to a commercial catering supplies store and bought food grade large (like 20 litre) containers and buckets to store them in for a while before using, along with packets of pasta etc, to prevent any rodents or pests being attracted to them.
      Also bought some more large Bormioli rocco sealable jars for the stuff that I don’t wash and just want to open, such as lentils, and store in something airtight that will keep it fresh.

      And it’s so true @Royalwatcher, it’s personal habits that are the most important thing we can actually control. It’s just a personal choice I guess, but I try to minimise chemicals, and soap is just as effective as alcohol and disinfectant.
      So I always (for waste reasons) kept those little bottles of shampoo and body wash when I stayed at hotels and motels – they’re great for travelling and to minimise waste. Now I know why I kept so many 🙂 They’re perfect for carrying in the car or in a handbag, incase you need to wash your hands after grocery shopping or exercising and don’t want to use someone else’s soap or sanitizer

  3. lemonylips says:

    I do have a homemade little cleaning thing that i spray over some packagings wipe them and i wash my hands afterwards. i’ve been doing it for weeks. might sound crazy but it became a routine. i’ve had deliveries and have to say people doing them (like supermarket delivery) all wear gloves and masks. People at the store though (not workers they do) rarely do but it doesn’t worry me. If i go to the store I wear a little hand sanitizer and I put it on right before I pay (using my card) and after I leave. I don’t take my phone with me. I’m sorry to sound like a crazy idiot but better to be safe than sorry.

  4. Darla says:

    I just never realized how much I touch my face and rub my eyes. My eyes itch and water, my hair blows in my mouth, my cheeks itch…I guess I’m just a mess. It’s been a real eye-opener.

    • lemonylips says:

      yeah just before it all started in UK (mind you 2 weeks before) but London was still not in the lockdown (we went in right after that) my bf and I went to an event, we figured it was the last night out for a looooong time. We were on a bus and I just remember, all of the sudden, my contact lense was out of the place, my face was itchy… just like that I wanted to scratch every inch of it. I didn’t but all of a sudden, knowing that you couldn’t – everything was longing for a touch nose, mouth, eyes…. horrible.

    • Dee says:

      As soon as I read, “Don’t touch your face,” or someone says it on TV, my hands go almost immediately to my face. Also, we have really high pollen right now, and allergies make my eyes itch, my nose run, etc. I’m a mess as well.

    • Nana says:

      Try googling BBC ‘Why we touch our faces and how to stop it’ – has a few simple tips for trying to stop…

    • North of Boston says:

      Argh! Yes! Especially on the hair in your face, eyes, mouth thing. It’s like my face is a hair magnet. I’ve taken to putting it in a pony tail before going out. Otherwise my hair is constantly in my face. The other day I was trying to use the breeze to control it – turn into the wind and let the wind blow it out. But as soon as I turned in any other direction – whap! hair in my face.

      Right now, I’m only going to my elderly mother’s to help her, for a walk, and once every one or two weeks to the local farm stand… which thankfully has their own dairy products, eggs, and meats in addition to produce, oh and they have chocolate – yay!. But still: pony tail, face mask, and clothes that don’t have swaths of fabric – like no tops with flouncy sleeves that can wave up against anything and everything and then touch my face when I reach up to brush my hair from my face before remembering I can’t do that LOL!

    • Ol' Miss says:

      lol…hair in your mouth! The other day I decided to “do” my hair to go for groceries, since most days at home I’ve been clipping it back and doing nothing more! At the store it kept sticking in my eyelashes and lip gloss!!! Uuuggghhhh! I could barely do my shopping! Back to tied back hair for the duration of this nightmare!!

  5. Lucy2 says:

    That’s basically what I’ve been doing. Stuff that can sit for a couple of days, I let it do so in a room I don’t really use, and everything gets wiped down and cleaned. Better safe than sorry.

  6. C-Shell says:

    Wow. I’m doing most of this by happenstance. Early on, I got a 3-pack of Clorox wipes and keep one in the car. After every outing, while in the parking lot, I wipe down everything I touch after wearing gloves in the store — the starter button, steering wheel, door handles, etc., then use hand sanitizer until I get home and can wash my hands with soap. I’m using the wipes on all the packaging before putting stuff away, then disinfecting the counters. I use rubber gloves to bring deliveries into the house — straight to the mud room or the garage. If it’s practical, I leave them sitting for at least a day before dealing with them. Again with rubber gloves that I then disinfect, same with counters. If this is ever over, I doubt I’ll maintain the same level of disinfection, but I also doubt we’ll ever go back to our old ways. These common sense how-to videos are reassuring as well as helpful.

  7. KellyRyan says:

    I’m using a vinegar spray on reusable plastic bags I purchased. Cardboard boxes are either air dried for 48 hours or left in sunlight for a full day. I feel safe with packaged fruits and vegies, so no special treatment.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Sadly, vinegar in this case is useless as it won’t dehydrate the virus’ membrane. Vinegar has some antimicrobial capacities (which is why we can pickle food), but it’s not a strong enough acid to inactivate sars-cov-2

  8. Mellie says:

    The first cucumber, pepper, apple etc…I touch is the one I get…I never realized how bad I was about touching more than one piece of produce before putting it in my bag. I always washed it before using, but now I was it before I put it away and before using.

  9. emmy says:

    I worry more about the people who still don’t have a sense of personal space, much less the distancing rules. I worry about the joggers who run past me with a foot between us max and basically breathe on the side of my face. And I don’t even leave my house much! I took public transportation for the first time in 6 weeks today because I had to and not everyone was wearing a mask but those who were, were the ones who didn’t keep a distance. It is not that hard. So groceries are not something I worry about to be honest. I wash my hands when I get home, I wash them before and during food preparation and before I eat. I disinfect my phone and iPod when I get home.

    • Ali says:

      “not everyone was wearing a mask but those who were, were the ones who didn’t keep a distance.”

      This. Masks do not mean now you can get right up next to other people. It seems like people were better about keeping distance before masks became the suggestion.

      • emmy says:

        Many German states are now making masks mandatory in public transportation and stores. I’m so against that. Not because I think they’re superfluous but because people really don’t know how to use them. As in, they get right up in your space, as you said. That’s just counterproductive! So much of what we’re supposed to do would be unnecessary if people used more common sense. I’ll wear the damn mask but people also still let their kids run wild in the grocery store.

      • Arpeggi says:

        Masks aren’t mandatory in Qc yet though I feel this will change this week to calm the public. But every time I see people wearing masks on the street, about 1/2 of them don’t wear them properly: I’ll see masks covering the mouth but not the nose, people push it down on their chin, to talk/eat/smoke and place it back again and I have huge doubts that all those makeshifts masks are washed after one use, no matter how short they were worn… So yeah, I really think that masks are more about to make people feel less anxious than protecting others.

    • North of Boston says:

      The number of people I saw on my last trip to the grocery store… either crowding other shoppers and workers, wearing masks improperly – eg, covering their mouth but not their nose, covering their chin… but not their nose or mouth WTH?, sliding it on and off -eg from their face to their neck or from their face to the top of their hair and back again with unwashed hands… it’s not brain science people! Wash your hands, put the mask on properly, and then leave it on, don’t touch it until you’re ready to take it off.

      At one point, I was trying to get to the checkout, and an employee coming on duty, not yet wearing a face mask, was standing in the open area on the way to the checkouts talking to other workers from a distance – which involved him yelling in the faces of shoppers trying to get to the check out … he kept pivoting and pacing around to greet and yell to different people, so it felt like a game of dodge ball or evasive bumper cars trying to avoid being in the firing line.

    • Case says:

      People aren’t taking social distancing seriously, and that scares me so much for when things start opening up again. Just the other day I went to get my mail and someone was standing RIGHT behind me waiting to get their mail. I literally only leave the house to get mail and take out trash and recycling, so it made me SO ANGRY that one of my few times out of the house — just a few steps outside — I already felt unsafe. I would love to take a walk around the neighborhood sometimes, but there are so many other walkers and runners that I’m just not sure if that’s safe.

      Because I have asthma, I’ve been getting my groceries delivered, either through Instacart or family. Even when cases start going down and things begin opening up, I’m truly not sure how I’ll feel safe going to a store until there’s a vaccine when SO many people aren’t taking very basic social distancing measures seriously.

      • ME says:

        A lot of people aren’t taking any of this seriously. I see people still having guests over, etc. Last week when I went to put my trash out, I got halfway down the driveway and then a jogger came out of no where, huffing and puffing. I turned the f*ck around and went back inside…waited about 20 mins and then looked carefully, then walked super fast down my driveway with my trash can lol. I haven’t checked my mail in weeks. My bills are all e-mailed so I thought why bother. The last time I checked my mail it was all coupons for fast food and other junk mail.

  10. lowercaselila says:

    In my community , you are required to wear a mask shopping and also grocery workers have to wear masks. Checkouts have splash guards. Key pads at checkout are cleaned every time a customer uses it. Conveyer belt is cleaned every time a customer checks out. The carts are sprayed and given to you. Also, for now you can’t bring your own bags in. The stores pack your food in recycled paper bags. I shop first thing in the morning , I put my grocery bags on the floor and I pick up each item and wipe. Then I put it away. Since I shop early , I don’t touch anything until the afternoon. Let the groceries get some air time.

    • Larelyn says:

      Quick commentvabout keypads – bring qtips with and use those instead of your fingers. Dispose when finished. It takes the guessing game from whether the store sanitizes the buttons between customers. My drugstore actually has two cups at check out – one for new, clean qtips and one to collect used ones. I thought this was brilliant!

      • North of Boston says:

        Oooh, I like that idea!

        And if your store doesn’t have the 2 cup system, you can do it yourself with two baggies in your pocket… one for clean and one for used.

      • Lady D says:

        Q-tips for bank machine number pads too.

      • Anna says:

        Such a great idea! Thank you!

      • Anna says:

        I worry about my credit card in the machine because those are such dirty receptacles and so many people are careless about their usage. I spray my credit card with alcohol after every usage. People are touching them, putting them in wallets, etc. without thinking about it and then that goes into the slot and then you take the virus home on your card. Even thinking about it makes me queasy. I actually spray everything–boxes, entire outside surface of my shoes left in front hallway, my jacket, door knobs and latch, any boxes that come in (and then leave them to sit for a day in hallway), keys, sunglasses or anything else that was outside. And then I mop the floor in entry after that with bleach. I live in an apartment complex where people are constantly trying to crowd on the elevator even though it’s tiny, not wearing masks (even maintenance who largely are awesome and amazing but the manager doesn’t give a shit). I haven’t done laundry for a month and was looking online for a portable mini-apartment-size washer so that I don’t have to do it all by hand. The laundry downstairs can be messy on a good, pre-covid day though it was recently renovated and looks nice, but now, I’m petrified to even go down there.

  11. MellyMel says:

    I wipe down everything that needs to go in the fridge/freezer with a Clorox wipe and let non-perishables hang out in the bag for a couple days in a separate area. None of the stores in my area are allowing reusable bags (and you have to wear masks), so I keep all the paper bags in another area before I take them out to recycle. I also go to the store close to opening time, as there are less ppl and the later you go, you’ll have to wait in lines, since they only let so many ppl in at once. This whole thing was nerve wracking last month, but now I’ve gotten into a rhythm that I’m comfortable with.

  12. heygingersnaps says:

    I wash everything that comes in the house that can be wash, if it’s not possible, sanitise with a disinfectant spray. I pop our groceries from our kitchen window so they all land in the sink and then wash them in hot water that’s at least 40C degrees. Spray and sanitise carrier bags and leave them out to dry for a couple of days.
    I used to do that with my shopping many years ago but relaxed my standards but now I’m being hyper vigilant particularly when I’m out doing the shopping and accepting parcels.

  13. Mumbles says:

    The VanWingen video was making the rounds heavily a few weeks ago and I watched it and at first I found it panicky and unsettling. The same weekend an actual food scientist went on Twitter to lambaste him for creating unnecessary fear and panic, and argued that VanWingen is out of his wheelhouse to talk of such things. The food scientist pointed out it makes good sense to wipe down a cart but that the actual groceries are highly unlikely to have the virus on them. And the FDA released a notice last week saying that wiping down groceries is unnecessary.

    That said, if this is something that calms people down, in this day and age do anything that accomplishes that.

    • lucy2 says:

      I figure it’s probably overkill too, but it’s just mentally reassuring.
      I’ve also been lucky enough to have gotten 2 deliveries so far and just scheduled a third, but that means someone else who is out in the stores a lot has touched everything, and just for peace of mind I wipe it down or let it sit.

  14. ME says:

    I have noticed for years now that a lot of cashiers lick their fingers when giving you a plastic bag. It is so damn gross and it is frightening that your cashier did this NOW, curing a f*cking pandemic. WTH?

    • North of Boston says:

      Yes! But also I can see how it could happen. Those plastic bags are really hard to separate or open sometimes.

      Pre-COVID-19 I’d done it myself with those little produce bags… but only the ones I’d be using. On my last trip to the local farm stand/grocer who has switched to nearly impossible to open compostable bags it was a whole project to get those suckers apart and open without resorting to licking my fingers (had a mask on so that wasn’t happening). I wound up pulling like 10 off the roll and then stepping into an empty corner to wrestle them all open at once… it took no kidding like five minutes.

      But that’s yet another reason for cashiers, baggers to be provided with masks AND to for them to actuall wear them. Can’t lick your fingers if your face is covered with a mask… so can’t spread your germs to shoppers/employers and can’t infect yourself by putting your fingers in your mouth after touching a contaminated surface. It protects everyone.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        Office supply stores sell little fingertip moistener pads that stores should be buying in bulk and providing to cashiers for safety reasons, to avoid licked fingers. You can also carry a small moist sponge in a ziplock baggie if you know you’ll be dealing with a bunch of these thin plastic bags while out getting groceries. My fingers are very dry and I always have trouble getting them open too.

      • Kathie says:

        I grab a few bags and then when I get to the produce I want, I pick the ones like the green onions for example that have been misted to get my fingers wet and then open all the bags. But I do buy the green onions 🙂

    • Kebbie says:

      The last time I did my own grocery shopping was about a month ago and it was nearly impossible to get those plastic produce bags open. It was infuriating because I wanted to get out of the store as quickly as possible and it took me a full minute each time. I get the impulse for sure, especially when you’ve got a line of people anxious to get out of there, but they need to pre-separate the bags or use one of those rubber finger tip things because licking your fingers right now is just not okay.

  15. Lila says:

    I fill half my sink with soapy water and use the other half to rinse. All the stuff that can’t get wet like that gets wipes down with wet wipes.

    Maybe it is overkill…but honestly at this point I.Don’t.Trust.Official.Recommendations. They’re all being shady, they’re all lying, they’re all motivated by factors other than public health. If it takes me extra time and effort to deal with my groceries, whatever. I’ll take being too-cautious over being not cautious enough.

    • Faye G says:

      @Lila Same with me! We have been given so many different recommendations and misinformation so far that I don’t trust anyone. I take the maximum precautions because tomorrow they might change their tune yet again.

  16. North of Boston says:

    One of the stock photos shows a person with a giant purse slung over her shoulder.

    I’ve decided for the duration that I’m not going to carry a purse … it became just one more thing I had to worry about making contact with surfaces and thinking about how to disinfect it when I get back in my car, house. Yeah, the possibility of the virus getting on my purse and then in my mouth, nose, eyes is small, by why not just eliminate that risk altogether. Also, it’s amazing how much stuff I DON’T need to carry around when I’m running errands in a very focused way … don’t need all my frequent shopper coffee or garden center cards, the dry cleaning slip in case I go by there, all the stuff I usually have with me for a day at work or a day out with friends.

    So now it’s: license, keys, small hand sanitizer, maybe lip balm in my right pocket; phone in a inner or back pocket so I’m not tempted to reach for it in the store; payment card / cash in my left pocket. Use left hand to get stuff out of my left pocket, reach for door handles, etc. Use right hand to get and apply hand sanitizer as needed.

    • Kebbie says:

      I’ve switched purses to a small pleather crossbody that I don’t mind wiping down with Lysol. I carry my license, my credit card, my car key, and my phone and then wipe it all down. Like you said, the risk is probably close to nothing, but I feel better. Same with wiping down my groceries, it just makes me feel more in control so I do it.

  17. Ash says:

    Any tips on sanitizing the car? I do some of the same, bring the wipes/alcohol spray, ziploc for clean and dirty gloves, one for mask etc. But I worry about ruining my car! I haven’t had very nice cars growing up and my husband bought me a very nice own and I love to keep in good shape and clean and worry about harsh products! I can’t use a baby wipe even, it smears, just asking! Thanks for these tips but all this for a severely OCD person sometimes makes my head spin!😫
    PS I did find a Tide Antibacterial spray just sitting alone in the Lysol aisle! You can spray clothes/couches/blankets stuff like that! It says you can also spray hard surfaces too you just have to give them a rinse so that might be an option if Lysol is out!!

    • Arpeggi says:

      If you’re not sharing your car with people you don’t live with, there’s not reason to sanitize your car. Wash your hands before you leave, avoid touching your face when the car is stopped and wash your hands once you’re back home and that’s about it. Viruses don’t crawl

    • Dara says:

      Rather than focusing on cleaning the car itself, I do everything I can to clean myself and whatever else I’ll be putting in it before even touching the car. I wash my hands before leaving the house, but I don’t put gloves on until I’m at the store and out of the car. Once I’m done shopping, I remove and discard the gloves after I leave the store but before I get to the car. I remove my mask and tuck in a bag in I carry just for that. Then I use a disinfectant wipe to clean the outside of the shopping bags, everything I touched while I had gloves on (credit card, wallet, purse, mask bag), and finally my hands before I carry the items to the car. Once at the car I put the groceries or whatever in the trunk on a large plastic sheet I’ve put down (a large garbage bag works too). Theoretically, my hands are clean at this point so I just drive my car as normal.

      Like @Arpeggi says, if you are the only one driving your car then you don’t really need to worry about deep cleaning it. And even if someone else drives or rides in it, just don’t drive it for a few days after that and any virus will be gone at that point and you can just clean it as you normally would.

  18. Leah says:

    My mother has been doing that (and she says it’s been making her crazy as a result) but I can’t be bothered. The only things that are washed are the fruits and veg as usual. I just bring the stuff home and throw away the bags. Then I do my three step cleaning of the hands thing: wash my hands with hot water/soap, then use hand sanitizer and once they are dry I use shea butter lotion because the alcohol dries out my hands. The mask is enough of a pain as it is, damned suffocating but that’s the way it is.

  19. Other Renee says:

    I wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes including the paper bags. I don’t buy fruits or vegetables unless they’re frozen or in a bag. I wipe down all of those bags. I then wipe the kitchen and entryway floors with disinfectant wipes as well as any counters I’ve used. My husband is a nurse and he showed me how to remove the mask and gloves over a garbage can quickly and toss immediately. I won’t use soap on vegetables or fruit. The very thought makes me sick. If I touch something in the store, I buy it. Even though I’m wearing gloves. Gloves can transmit germs too.

  20. (TheOG) jan90067 says:

    I can’t go out so I have to use Instacart, and have my sister fill in whatever I can’t get delivered. It’s left outside my door, in plastic bags (only market that uses paper is Trader Joes). I’ll bring it in, and place the bags on a towel I set down on the granite floor. From there, wearing gloves and my mask, (and hair pulled back), I start with perishables. Things go right into to the sink and are scrubbed with soap and water. Then they’re placed on a clean towel on the side of the sink to dry. I’ve also started to use 1/4 c of bleach in a huge salad bowl to dunk in cans and give those a “wipe around”, esp. the openings…then those are set aside to air dry. I wash my hands and change gloves, and then I will wipe the clean perishable and froz. foods with a paper towel and put them in the fridge/freezer. All the other stuff just gets washed and let to air dry. I was told that the “cleaning agent” (ie bleach/alcohol) needs to air dry on it for 3-5 min. to actually sanitize. After that, they can be put away.

    Mail is taken in, (wearing gloves) by putting it into a small cardboard box and that goes into the bar sink to sit for at least 24 hrs. before opening.

    Maybe I’m a bit “overboard”…and yes, it’s exhausting to do this! lol. But there is STILL SO MUCH we don’t know, I’d rather err on the safe side. I have underlying bronchial issues, asthma, as well as a few other things, and my dad is old. Why take chances? Besides, it gives me a good workout! 😊 Like Monty Python sang: “Always look on the bright side of life…”

    • Case says:

      I’m doing a lot of the same things! I have asthma too and even though I’m quite young, I’m taking it seriously. This virus does not discriminate and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be extra careful! Especially since I’ve been home now for almost 40 days. I don’t want my self-isolation to be for nothing!

  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Sadly, we haven’t dunked our living space in Clorox. And I don’t wipe everything down several times a day. So I’m probably failing in some way lol. I spray, wipe and toss just like I always have…for daily and weekly cleanups when and as necessary. I rinse produce with water. My fresh herbs are rinsed, placed in water, covered and stored in fridge. My son and I haven’t ventured out and about, but my husband is still going out daily for his job, and when he comes home, he does the same things he’s always done — clean up. Between him and Instacart, I don’t attack as soon as inside, but I do like to spray and wipe.

  22. February Pisces says:

    I wipe down all my food shopping before putting it away, either with a wipe or a damp soapy cloth. Even after I’ve done this, I still wash my hands after handling all outer packaging at home. Also when food shopping I always pick the item at the back of the shelf, so less people have come into contact with it, less chance of someone having coughed on it or touching it. I also wipe down and wash all plastic carrier bags, then wash all my clothes I’ve worn outside.

    • Some chick says:

      I was at the grocery store recently and some dude went for the fourth back bag of chips – touching the three in front of it in the process. Thanks, dude.

      I only touch a thing if I’m 90% sure I want to buy it. No more touching every apple or lime. Look; see; put in cart.

      I also saw a lot of people wearing hoodies with the hoods up. Some places that could get you shot. It only even makes a difference if someone sneezes on the back of your head!

      Also: the virus lives a lot longer on plastic (including bags) than on fabric (including bags) or cardboard. It’s about 24 hours for cardboard/cloth, and 48-72 on hard surfaces. Getting more plastic bags and blowing through wipes unnecessarily doesn’t help anything.

  23. Valiantly Varnished says:

    My mother always wiped down groceries when we brought them home before putting them away, and I have taken up the mantle of doing so during this time in my house. I wash plastic with soap and water and wipe down cardboard or paper with a cleansing wipe.

  24. Jaded says:

    I carry a baggie with a few Lysol wipes when I shop and everything non-perishable I pick up gets an instant wipe, as does the grocery cart handle. I wipe all bottles, cardboard and plastic down at home, and wipe all doorknobs, keys, purse, credit card, etc. I dump fruit and veg in the sink with 4 tbsp baking soda and a cup of extra strength white cleaning vinegar and fill it up with cold water. I let them soak for 30 minutes, then give them a rinse before putting in fridge. I also use the clean/dirty side process on the kitchen counters.

  25. FHMom says:

    I feel like maybe I’m a little lax. I leave boxed non perishables in the garage. I wipe down cans and bottles with rubbing alcohol. I dont want to use my small supply of Lysol wipes for food items, and anyway I’m afraid of getting it in my food. Anything that needs to be frozen or refrigerated gets the alcohol wipe down. I stopped buying fresh produce unless it’s bagged., and then I put them in ziploc bags before putting away. I keep reminding myself that even though I’m in a hotspot, only 2% of the people in my town have tested positive. Of course, that number is probably low, but I’m trying not to drive myself crazy.

  26. Onnit says:

    I can honestly say that I like that people are giving each other person space. I keep on the right side of the aisle, and treat the situation as if I’m driving a car…am I crazy for doing this? I find that there are people who either: 1. Expect me to move out of their way, but I’m staying to the right side to keep maximum distance 2. Just try to block the entire aisle with a cart (but they can only block one end, not both…so what are they really doing???

  27. Bavarian says:

    I dont do any of this ( Germany). I take reusable Shopping bags, try not to go too many times Shopping and Support local small stores and farms. My fruits and veggies come once a week in a box from the local organic co-operation. I only desinfect my Hands at work.