Safe Cleaning and Shopping

Safe cleaning and shopping

The most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently. Here's how.

The below guidance provides specific recommendations for surface cleaning and safe shopping.

Surface Cleaning

This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of households in the KAUST community.

An article from the New England Journal of Medicine shows that SARS-CoV-2 can remain stable on surfaces for up to 72 hours. To help reduce the chance of exposure, community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with household cleaners and disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. 

Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, including precautions you should take during application. Examples are wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Community members should be mindful of these two words.

  • Cleaning: Refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infections.
  • Disinfecting: Refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infections.

Consider cleaning and disinfecting these highly touch surfaces as needed:

  • Floors
  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Faucets
  • Remotes

When cleaning and disinfecting, use the below guidance:

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning.
    • If reusable gloves are used, the gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and should not be used for other purposes.
    • Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned first by using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol and common household disinfectants can be effective.
    • If using bleach: Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning product.
      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 75 mL (5 tablespoons or 1/3rd cup) bleach per 3.8 L (1 gallon) of water, or
        • 20 mL (4 teaspoons) bleach per 950 mL (1 quart) of water
    • If using alcohol-based solutions or other household disinfectants: Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floors, rugs and drapes/curtains, remove visible contamination (if present) and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on the surfaces. After cleaning:
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and allow them to dry completely.


Personal Sales or Exchange of Items

The Health, Safety, and Environment team have issued guidelines for personal sale transactions or exchange of items between different households within KAUST. Examples include:

  • Sales and giveaways arranged through KAUST - For Sale Facebook page and similar.
  • Sales and giveaways within KAUST pregnant and new parent community.
  • Borrowing/lending items between different KAUST households.

Please be sure to review the Hygiene Guidelines for Personal Sales or Exchange of Items before you shop, borrow, or deliver items between houses.

Grocery Shopping

One of the most asked questions related to food safety is whether COVID-19 lurks in food and food packaging. Can fresh fruit in the supermarket be contaminated? Is food packaging safe to keep at home? How long does coronavirus survive on surfaces?

The good news is that there is currently no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of coronavirus, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Saudi Ministry Of Health. However, it remains possible that the virus can get onto food if an infected person is in contact with it, or has coughed or sneezed on it, so there are some sensible precautions we can all take.

Please consider the following tips to keep yourself and your food safe during this time.

Tips before shopping

  • Write a list of what you need for the coming week.
  • Check the Tamimi Qcam before heading to the store.
  • Shop considerately. There is plenty of stock and there is no need to panic buy.
  • You must wear a face covering while queuing and inside the store.
  • Bring hand sanitizer.
  • People with risk factors may want to avoid going shopping. Contact the COVID-19 Operations Hub at or 012 808 0950 if you need assistance.

Tips during shopping

  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth) with unwashed hands. If you must touch your face, sanitize your hands before and after.
  • Respect social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet/2 meters between you and other individuals.
  • Wipe your shopping cart before using it.
  • Avoid touching items on shelves other than the ones you plan to buy and minimize touching of other surfaces such as countertops or door handles.
  • Go contactless: Avoid cash payment and use a credit card.
  • Keep your face covering on until you have left the supermarket. Learn more about using face coverings.


Tips once home

  • Wash your hands properly (20-40 seconds) immediately after your return home, and before touching any household items or family members.
  • Consider removing secondary unnecessary food packaging material before storing.
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables just before preparation/consumption. Do not use bleach, chlorine, isopropyl alcohol, or disinfectant wipes directly on foods as these could make you sick.
  • Wash your hands after handling food packaging.


Germs move more easily than you may think!

This video shows how germs can spread while you shop:


You can also check out this video from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA):


Learn more

For more information about food safety at KAUST, visit the Food Safety & Quality page on the Community Life website.



If you have any concerns about the safety of food or practices by your food handlers, please get in touch with or