The world during COVID-19 has dramatically changed, and the cleaning service industry has been keeping up. With new discoveries about how the virus spreads, it’s important to stay updated on what you can do to prevent the spread and “flatten the curve.”

A big part of this are the methods and tools you use on the job. Cleaning residential homes and buildings require an extra degree of caution. We’ll go over what you need to know and the tools you’ll need to clean effectively and stay safe on the job.

Top Tips for Cleaning During COVID-19

Assume Everyone Has the Virus

The best method of protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 is assuming that everyone has the virus. This ensures that you’re taking the proper precautions to sanitize and distance yourself from others to stop the spread.

Follow Safe Work Practices

For more information and to see in what situations you may be at risk, OSHA has details on their site.

Workers should avoid touching their faces, including their eyes, noses, and mouths, particularly until after they have thoroughly washed their hands upon completing work and/or removing PPE.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment

When cleaning a home, condo, or any residential building, wear the appropriate PPE on the job. Face masks, gloves, and uniforms that cover your skin are essential equipment to keeping you safe. Learn how to remove these items to make sure germs aren’t spread. The World Health Organization has a guideline here.

Wash Your Hands After Cleaning

It’s necessary after cleaning most things but cleaning your hands while on the job is vital to your health and lessening the spread of coronavirus. If you’re cleaning and are about to take a break, wash your hands before removing your face mask or touching your face.

If water and soap are not available to you, use hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Most hand sanitizers have 60% alcohol and can kill germs and bacteria. It’s recommended you wash your hands for about 30 seconds and completely dry them.

The CDC shares its tips on how to effectively wash your hands in this video

Essential Residential Cleaning Checklist

If you are currently running a cleaning business, you may already have most of these in your cleaning toolkit. Here’s a list of what you’ll need on the job when cleaning a home, condo, or other residence.


  • Rags
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mops
  • Buckets
  • Brooms + dustpans
  • Dusters
  • Toilet brushes
  • Grout brush
  • Scrub pads
  • Spray bottles
  • Squeegees
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet steam cleaner
  • Trolley or bin to hold supplies

Cleaning Products

  • Garbage bags
  • Window cleaner
  • Surface/all-purpose cleaner
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Descaling agent
  • Air freshener
  • Dish soap
  • Carpet cleaner

Cleaning Supplies for COVID-19 200

With the strict rules around cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are required cleaning supplies to add to your cleaning supply checklist if you haven’t already.

As well, make sure your cleaning products are approved by the EPA for disinfecting as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


  • Paper towels
  • Disposable floor wipes
  • Disposable cleaning wipes
  • Disinfectant hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Disposable gloves
  • Face masks
  • Disposable booties
  • Face shield (optional, for added protection)

Cleaning Products

  • Laundry disinfectant spray
  • All-purpose disinfectant spray
  • Lysol, Clorox, or Wet Wipes disinfectant wipes, or any product that kills germs
  • Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom cleaner
  • The Works Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Dish soap

Adjusting Cleaning Services to a Client’s Needs

Ask Clients If They Are At Risk

Since you’ll be visiting clients’ homes, ask them if they’ve been in contact with COVID-19, have felt ill in the past few weeks, or have traveled outside of their state recently. As a cleaning business providing a service, you have the right to refuse unsafe work if it potentially means coming in contact with coronavirus.

If a client is at risk or is immuno-compromised, check in with them before coming to do a residential cleaning.

Remember, if anyone has been sick or feels sick with any of the symptoms of COVID-19, make sure they self-isolate. They should get tested for COVID-19 when they are able and tell everyone they have interacted with recently that they have potentially been exposed to the virus.

Can You Still Be Eco-Friendly When Disinfecting?

During COVID-19, there’s an emphasis on using disposable items to disinfect and use cleaning products that are not eco-friendly. If your business wants to focus on more eco-friendly options, it is possible to use washable and reusable rags, cloths, and PPE. Make sure you’re not reusing them without putting them through a laundry cycle.

Keep in mind that the health of yourself and others is the most important part of staying safe during the pandemic. Some eco-friendly alternatives are:

  • Using a vapor cleaner/steam cleaner to sanitize rooms and surfaces
  • Cleaning with hydrogen peroxide (a non-toxic chemical but keep safety precautions in mind)
  • Any certified eco-friendly products that kill 99% of bacteria

How to Interact with Clients while Physical Distancing

It's important to consider the health and safety of yourself, your employees and the clients you're providing a cleaning service for. Follow physical distancing protocols when you're interacting with clients.

Stay 6 feet away from anyone who is not in your immediate social circle and wear PPE when entering a client's home. When cleaning residential homes, it's safest if the client is not in the home. Ask your client if they're able to leave the inside of the house while you're providing your cleaning service.

COVID-19 brings with it an extra degree of caution. Remember to stay safe on the job by following guidelines from the WHO and the CDC as to what to do while you’re at work. Being extra cautious and cleaning where necessary ensures everyone’s safety in a new and challenging situation.