7 Things You'll Never Want in Your Home After Coronavirus
Once seemingly innocuous, you'll never look at these items the same post-pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has indelibly changed parts of American life, from how we shop to how we clean our houses. However, even after the stores have reopened, the schools are back in session, and a face mask is no longer a standard accessory, we will still be dealing with the impact of coronavirus—including right in the safety of our homes.
One of the major remnants of the pandemic? Many of us will be wary about what we let into our houses, taking extra caution to ditch anything that could be cross-contaminating our space. With the help of experts, we've rounded up the things you'll definitely think twice about before bringing them home after the pandemic subsides. And for more ways this period in history will change things forever, check out these 10 Weird Ways Life Will Be Different After the Coronavirus Lockdown.
While, at one point, you may have grabbed a used swing set from a friend or brought home a secondhand puzzle from a tag store, that's unlikely to remain true going forward.
"The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that kids are especially likely to be carriers of certain diseases and illnesses that can harm adults. So avoiding buying secondhand toys is a good call, as it's unclear where those toys have been before, and they can later easily wind up in your child's mouth," says health and wellness expert Linda Morgan.
That stash of cash in your safe may be so repugnant to you after the pandemic that you consider ditching it altogether. In fact, a recent study published in The Lancet found that coronavirus could be detected on banknotes for up to four days. And that's not even accounting for other germs like MRSA bacteria and E.coli, which were found on a sample of international currencies (including the dollar), according to a 2013 study published in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.
"[One] very important item to avoid is currency notes and coins," says Urvish Patel, MBBS, MPH, a medical advisor for eMediHealth, who recommends using cashless transactions whenever possible.
Knowing that coronavirus can survive on surfaces for days at a time may have you rethinking how much product packaging makes its way indoors.
"Realizing that even cardboard boxes can help bring viruses and germs into the home will make people much more likely to toss the boxes before they reach the front door," says Morgan. And if you want to keep yourself safe, Here's Exactly How Doctors Say to Sanitize Your Mail and Packages.
While shopping secondhand may save you money, your thrift store habit may be put on the back burner after the pandemic passes.
"You should be mindful of things like clothes and handbags," says Aragona Giuseppe, GP, a medical advisor at Prescription Doctor. While Giuseppe notes that washing clothes can help reduce contamination, "you should ideally be throwing out items that could have particles on them… to ensure that there are no droplets left sitting on any surfaces."
Getting a gift basket from a friend or family member may have once been a happy occasion, but after the pandemic subsides, you may be second-guessing those presents.
"People will have to be especially careful with these as they could have been in multiple homes and areas, thus having more chance of holding virus particles on their surfaces and promoting further spread of infection," says Giuseppe.
Restaurants are held to relatively high standards when it comes to their cleanliness. Your friend's kitchen? Not so much—and that's why accepting a homemade lasagna or batch of brownies from a pal may never be as appealing again.
"Any dishes that a neighbor may have popped around with should not be kept as these have been touched by other people who may not be as vigilant [about hygiene] as yourself," explains Giuseppe.
You might want to pause before opening those takeout containers in the future. While Patel says they're unlikely to be major sources of coronavirus transmission, he notes that "plastic bags and food storage containers… come in contact with many people," making many folks loath to bring them inside. And if you want to keep your whole house clean and sanitized, discover these 15 Expert Tips for Disinfecting Your House for Coronavirus.