Groceries and shopping: Tips to keep your home safe against germs

Shopping for food can be done safely to keep germs away from your home. Here are the answers to your grocery shopping questions to help keep you and your home safe.

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We all want to protect ourselves against germs and viruses. In addition to following social distancing guidelines and washing our hands properly, there are a few other things we can do to keep germs at bay. We are here to answer your questions surrounding shopping for food and maintaining hygiene whilst doing so.

Do I need to clean my shopping cart or basket when shopping?

It is always worth carrying hand sanitizer and alcohol-based disinfectant wipes with you when you leave the house. You can use an alcohol-based wipe to clean your shopping cart, basket and bags - the supermarket itself may provide these for you. 

Can I catch germs or viruses from touching groceries?

Although there is little evidence to suggest you can be infected with COVID-19 from food and food packaging, it is still worth taking precaution when out in public. Do not touch your eyes, mouth and nose after touching any surface or item in the shop. Always carry alcohol-based sanitizer with you when you are going out of the home. If you need to touch any part of your body, sanitize your hands before doing so. 

Do I need to wear a mask and gloves?

  • The PH Government has made wearing face masks in public mandatory. Gloves haven't been suggested as a protective measure against COVID-19 as of yet, but if you decide to wear them, be sure to use them properly. Masks and gloves should be used and disposed of correctly otherwise they aren’t effective. Masks should be removed with clean hands, by the ear loops. You should not touch the mask itself and it should be cleaned after use if it is a cloth mask.

Should I use a contactless card instead of cash?

There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest COVID-19 can spread from money and bank cards. However, contactless payment is the most effective payment method in order to avoid contact with others. If you decide to use cash, be sure to put it in an envelope and leave it for a few days after shopping to ensure all germs are killed. You must wash your hands after handling money. 

Will water be enough to clean fruit and veg?

It is very unlikely you can catch COVID-19 from loose food. Using cold running water will be more than sufficient when cleaning loose fruit and vegetables. Be sure to wash your hands properly before and after handling any food.

Do I need to wipe down food packaging when I return home?

It is suggested that wiping down food packaging after you’ve been shopping isn't necessary. If you would prefer to disinfect food packaging, an alcohol-based wipe will be fine in ensuring any germs are killed. When it comes to items which don’t need to be stored in a fridge or freezer, leaving them in a safe area for 72 hours will make sure all germs are killed. You should always follow good hygiene practice by washing your hands after handling any outer packaging.

Do I need to clean the surfaces where my bags/groceries have been?

It is always worth cleaning surfaces which have been in contact with outside objects. A food-safe disinfectant or hot soapy water will be sufficient in disinfecting surfaces.

Should I clean reusable cloth bags?

It is always worth cleaning reusable cloth bags as these can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Fabric bags can usually be cleaned in a standard wash cycle with laundry detergent. 

It can be worrying to bring outside objects into your home at the risk of contamination. Maintaining good hygiene standards and following social distancing guidelines is the best way to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Washing your hands regularly after coming into contact with outside objects is always recommended. 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is accurate at the time of publishing. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some guidance may have changed since publication. While Cleanipedia is trying to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using GOV PH and DOH.

Originally published