Expert reveals how to unpack your shopping to stop coronavirus contamination

9 April 2020, 11:24 | Updated: 9 April 2020, 11:35

An expert has explained the importance of cleaning your shopping when you get home
An expert has explained the importance of cleaning your shopping when you get home. Picture: Getty
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

The experts from Channel 4 show Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House? explain how to safely bring groceries in - and keep nasty germs out of your cupboards.

We need to wash more than just our hands when we come in from the supermarket, we need to be washing down our groceries, too.

This is the advice of A&E doctor Dr Javid Abdelmoneim and virologist Dr Lisa Cross, who are fronting new Channel 4 show, Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House?

The programme reveals how the battle against deadly covid-19 extends further than just making sure you're washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day.

One extra precaution Brits can take against the killer bug is to make sure that they are mindful of items that are coming in to their home, and take action to limit any harmful germs that might have hitched a lift on shopping bags or containers.

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Scientists have shown that the virus can survive on cardboard for 24 hours, and on plastic for three to five DAYS.

With groceries, Lisa explains that it's important to wipe down any non-disposable packaging, e.g. cans, bottles, or tertrapaks, and to removed plastic packaging from perishable produce and put it straight in to the fridge or another container as soon as possible.

Use your own food containers, or cleaned out empty jars and bottles to remove as much external material from your home as quickly as you can.

She adds that if you have brought the items in using a reusable cloth bag, to put it in the wash as soon as you can. If you have a plastic reusable bag, make sure you wipe it down with a bleach solution or a soapy cloth, and be sure to clean the area the bag has been in, too.

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Dr Javid Abdelmoneim explains how to fight coronavirus at home
Dr Javid Abdelmoneim explains how to fight coronavirus at home. Picture: Channel 4
Virologist Dr Lisa Cross has some practical advice
Virologist Dr Lisa Cross has some practical advice. Picture: Channel 4

And then of course, wash your hands.

Similar steps should be taken when you bring home a takeaway, which could potentially have the virus living on the packaging.

Lisa adds: "When it comes to inactivating the coronavirus, we only need two cleaning products. 

"A correctly diluted bleach solution (cheapest bleach you can get in the supermarket will work 100% effectively against the virus), or soap and water. 

"Bleach is good for high-traffic spots with hard surfaces, like light switches, most floors and worktops. Always use gloves, in a well-ventilated area, make sure you follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to dilute the bleach, and how long to leave it in contact with the surface you’re disinfecting and remember to rinse off after use.

"Bleach is a highly toxic chemical though, so you may prefer to use a simpler solution that is equally effective against the virus - soap and water. 

"Soap and water is hugely versatile and particularly suitable for destroying the virus on items that come into contact with food, and for cleaning children’s toys safely and effectively. "

Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House? airs Thursday night at 8pm, and will be available to stream on All-4.