Ordering grocery deliveries is a luxury for many during the best of times, and a necessity for most during the worst of times (like during a pandemic). Now that many of us are working from home, watching children or relatives, or stranded in quarantine, delivery services have become lifesavers. If you can practice social distancing by having your groceries delivered, don't let that nasty virus cross those last few feet past the threshold of your home. Here are some ways that you can clean and sanitize your deliveries to keep your home safe.
In the car curbside pickups
Perhaps you live in an area where door-to-door grocery deliveries are not available, or perhaps there are certain products that you can only get from a particular store. Thankfully, many grocery stores and retailers are offering some sort of curbside or contactless pickup.
In some cases, you can order and pick up your items when it's convenient for you, but for a lot of retailers, you'll have to plan ahead and schedule a pickup for a specific day and time. Stores like Walmart and HEB will have you park in designated spots, and then ask you to phone or text the store your location. Then, an employee will bring out your items and load them into your trunk, or pass them off to you to do so (in a contactless way, of course).
While this method beats going inside and risking exposure from others, there is always the possibility that viruses and germs can get passed from those in the store to you through your groceries. We advise that you wear a face mask during pickup, and if possible, safety gloves as well. Try to keep a can of disinfectant spray and/or disinfectant wipes in your car trunk so that you can wipe down bag handles and larger items handled by the store workers.
At the doorstep delivery drop-offs
If you live in an area where you can receive grocery deliveries to your door and are fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of these services, you still need to exercise some of the same cautions we mentioned above for the same reasons. The safest place for you during this pandemic is in your own home, but anytime you bring in something from the outside world, you increase the risk that you're also bringing in what you don't want.
While most delivery services that we've seen are now offering contactless delivery as a standard practice, it never hurts to double-check that this is an option before you place your order. That way, when your delivery arrives, it will be placed at your doorstep rather than you having to interact directly with the delivery person. This will help to minimize person to person and airborne contact.
Even though the store workers and delivery drivers are most likely required to wear facemasks and gloves, your items have still been handled by others that you don't know. Therefore, we recommend that you have a bottle of disinfectant spray and/or wipes by the front door so that you can spray or wipe down bag handles and boxes before you bring them further into your home.
In the kitchen putting items away
Now that you've taken some initial steps to disinfect your groceries, it's time to put them away in your cupboards, pantry, and/or fridge. As you take items out of their bags/boxes, try to at least wipe them down lightly before putting them away.
If you're like me, you often bring your grocery bags into the kitchen and set them on the counter while you put things away. Resist the habit to do this, and try leaving the bags on the floor while you unload. If you can't do this for whatever reason, remember to disinfect your countertops and surfaces after you've put everything away. While you're at it, go ahead and mop the floor where you sat your bags (it probably needs it regardless!).
For items like fruits and vegetables, you should always make sure to wash them before eating raw, but it's a good idea to do this with anything you plan on cooking with as well.
If you ordered any bottles, cans, or other receptacles that you plan on drinking out of, be sure to wipe around the tops and lids and wash and dry them thoroughly before use. Even still, it's probably a good idea to pour those beverages into one of your own containers before drinking them.
Chances are your groceries were delivered in some kind of disposable bag, be that paper or plastic. Collect these bags and spray them with disinfectant. Use the paper bags for your household recycling, or put them directly in your recycle bin. Store the plastic bags someplace out of the way (under the kitchen sink, in a utility closet, or the garage) and save them until you can go back out to recycle them at your grocery store or recycling center.
Having your groceries delivered is certainly a more hygienic option right now to going to the grocery store yourself, so if you can take advantage of these services, we highly recommend it.
We also know that obtaining cleaning supplies like disinfectant wipes and sprays is difficult right now, so do the best you can. The important thing to remember when shopping for cleaning products is that you want to make sure they are not just cleaning products, but disinfecting products as well. Many cleaners do a good job on dirt, stains, and smells, but don't necessarily do a great job killing germs.
Finally, remember not to touch your face while handling your new groceries, and to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. There's no reason to let your guard down when you can follow some simple steps to stay safe and healthy!
Our top equipment picks
Here are some of our most trusted cleaning supplies for disinfecting our gadgets, gizmos, and groceries.
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
The original wipey
If you can get your hands on these, be sure to keep a container in your kitchen, bathroom, and maybe even your car trunk and by the front door. These can kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses and are a great step towards disinfecting your home.
Spray it, don't just say it
Lysol Disinfectant Spray
This may also be hard to find right now, but if you can obtain some, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck. It also pledges to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, and will leave your spaces smelling fresh too!
Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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