Should I wipe down my groceries?

Here’s what we know. Some experts have said that there is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted by handling food or food packaging. And the FDA hasn’t specifically recommended wiping down groceries after you bring them home. Most recommend washing your hands and keeping a safe distance when you shop. But those opinions change depending on who you ask. So basically, follow your own judgment.

Here’s why we’re doing it. (And it’s by no means what you should do. As people who fall in the “at-risk” COVID-19 category, we’re slightly more cautious than most.) It has been said that the virus won’t survive in food, but wrappers are still a concern to a number of experts. The virus can survive a number of days on different surfaces and can live in a frozen environment for up to 2 years. That’s why we do what we can to keep the virus from spreading in our home, starting at the store. Here’s what we do…

Before Getting to the Supermarket

1. We try not to go often. Apps like Instacart, curbside pickup and Produce boxes from local farms have been a great resource. With a little research, we learned that many of these options are just a few extra dollars. It’s what we’ve been using between our grocery runs and we make sure to provide a decent tip.

2. We plan our trips. At least in Chicago, it feels like people are giving up on social-distancing and not everybody is very respectful, so we only go to the supermarket every 3 weeks or so with a list of essentials in mind. We also go late, since there are hardly any people.

3. We never leave without protection. The risk of infecting others or getting infected is so much lower when using a mask. (The statistics of countries using masks and following protocols properly speak volumes.) We never leave our home without a mask, some disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. 


At the Supermarket

1. We wipe our cart and are mindful of what we touch. We avoid grabbing items just to look at them and return them. We avoid touching our faces, and if possible, try to grab things with the same hand.

2. We don’t pay with cash. If you use a card to pay, put it in your pocket. Wipe it when you get home before putting it back in your wallet.

3. About the reusable bags. We either don’t take them (and recycle the new bags) or place the reusable bags with our “corona clothes” bin as soon as we get home. We wash clothes and bags after every trip.

Upon arrival at home

1. The corona entry corner. We place our keys, our shoes and groceries in a corner next to the door. We trash our disposable masks.

2. We wash our hands for 20 seconds. And place bags and used cloths in a special bin and take a shower.

3. We wipe our cold and frozen foods. Using disposable wipes and a solution of rubbing alcohol, we wipe everything before placing it in the fridge or freezer.

4. We scrub our produce. This is something you should do anyway to get rid of dirt and pesticides.

5. About cans and boxes. We usually wipe our cans and leave our boxes in a corner for a couple of days until they are safe to handle. Cans can also be left untouched if you’re not going to use them right away.

6. We wash our hands again. Another 20 seconds, for good measure.

7. We disinfect counters and the floor. We also spray our keys and shoes.

Is this extreme? Maybe. Is it a pain in the butt? ABSOLUTELY! But do we do feel a lot less anxious knowing that we’re doing everything we can to reduce the spread of the virus at home? Yes, we do.

For more tips on how to properly clean and disinfect your home, you can visit the CDC’s recommendations, including cleaners that work best against the virus.

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