Doctor shares tips on how to decontaminate groceries during COVID-19 outbreak


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — By now, we all know the importance of safety while grocery shopping amid concerns of COVID-19. But what happens once we bring our groceries home?

According to the National Institutes of Health, the coronavirus can remain on plastics and metals for up to three days, and cardboard for one day. Dr. Jeffery VanWingen is going viral for offering different tips on how to keep your home safe from contaminated items in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Imagine there might be a bit of glitter on groceries as you bring them into your home,” Dr. VanWingen asked. “And our goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in our house, in our hands and especially not our face.”

His tips are pretty simple.

“Don’t go unless you must,” he says. “Pay with plastic if you can.”

As many make the mad-dash to grocery stores during the health crisis, Dr. VanWingen says its crucial to buy at least two weeks worth of supplies. To limit your time inside a store, make a list for items and commit to buying those items so you don’t overspend, he adds. Once you’re home, VanWingen says to make sure you wipe your counter down, then divide items between a clean side and dirty side.

“I’m not gonna wash my hands before I deal with the dirty side, but I am definitely going to wash my hands before I engage with the clean side,” he added.

If an item is bagged in plastic, you can wipe it down. You can also put the bagged item into any container you have at your disposal in the kitchen. Also, be sure to wipe down any canned goods. For perishable items like chicken, Dr. VanWingen suggests a wipe down or placing into a container.

As for box items, Dr. VanWingen says, “no human hands have touched this for more than a few days, so I can just dump that and I can get rid of the box.”

As far as fruit and vegetables, you’ll want to make sure you thoroughly clean them with water and wipe them off. Once that’s done, you should dispose of all dirty items and clean off surfaces.

Lastly, and most importantly, wash your hands!

As for those non-reusable bags, Dr. VanWingen suggests throwing out them out. And remember, avoid touching your face.


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