Practical Ideas for Covid-19 Vigilance: Set up a decontamination area in your home

By Eoin Howe, UK [Submitted by Linnea Hanson, Pine Mountain Club]

We will all still need to go out occasionally during this isolation/lock-down, so here are some basics for not bringing the virus back into your house with you. This is especially important if you live with people at higher risk.

•Select Your Decontam Area. By the front door is the obvious choice, or by the door from your garage. Clear anything non-essential out of it, as you will need the space.

•Select Your Outdoor Outfit. You want something large enough to go over whatever you happen to be wearing—a coat, some over-trousers, a jumpsuit—something you can wash hard if need be. Forget what it looks like, no-one is going to care. Add a hat and a pair of solid outdoor footwear.

This is what you wear when you go outside now.

You take it off when you get back, right there in the area you have chosen, and you leave it there until you next need to go out. You do not take it any further into your house, other than to wash it.

•Mix up some bleach and water. This is going to come in handy. The Centers for Disease Control—CDC— recommends 1/3 cup bleach per one gallon of water, or 2 tablespoons of bleach per one quart of water.


“…if it does happen to turn out that this is an insane overreaction, we can all have a good laugh about it….after.”


Give everything you bring home a good wipe-down with it. Steam cleaners are also great. Both these things will smush viruses.

•Make Yourself A ShoeBath. Bleach and water again should be fine, in a basin big enough to step in. Put in just enough [1/2-inch or so] to cover the soles of your boots or shoes. Put it outside the front door (or garage door, if that’s where your area is).

Step into it when you come back, then onto an old towel you have picked to sacrifice for this purpose. Take off your outside footwear and leave in the decontam area.

Replace the solution periodically, and also if it gets watered down by rain or snow.

•Learn Your Procedure:

1) Process any purchases: remove and discard packaging if possible, give a wash or bleach wipe if possible.

2) Shoes into bath and remove.

3) Take off outside outfit, leave in decontam area;

4) Wash your hands.

The main point is to not bring outdoor stuff into your house, especially not into food preparation or living areas.


This might all seem a bit over the top, but it is really very basic. And if it does happen to turn out that this is an insane overreaction, we can all have a good laugh about it after…and just throw those towels in the trash.

Editor’s note: Our thanks to Eoin Howe’s friend Linnea Hanson for sharing this with us.

This is part of the April 3, 2020 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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