Should I disinfect my groceries? Safe grocery shopping Tips During COVID-19

My husband and I braved the outside world yesterday, to tackle our once a week grocery shop. We have a pretty good method now, and I was proud of us for getting the shopping done quickly and safely. We had separate grocery lists, and basically split the store up between us. We moved quickly, managed to always keep a minimum of 6 feet between ourselves and other shoppers, and didn’t touch any surface unnecessarily. Whew! (And yes, we wore gloves, but no masks. We don’t have any masks to wear!)

But, once you’re home from grocery shopping – then what!? How can you make sure that the groceries you just purchased are clean, and safe? Is there any way to guarantee that your food isn’t infected with the coronavirus? Yes, there are a few extra steps you can take to unload those groceries and prevent contamination. Here’s what we do:

5 Tips for Safer Grocery Shopping – Unpacking groceries at home

  1. Have a safe unloading zone at home. If you have an attached garage, your safe grocery unloading zone may be in your garage. If, like us, you live in a condo or apartment – then we use a storage room and the front entrance of our apartment as our unloading zone. We use this space for this purpose whether we are unloading groceries OR a package we ordered on Amazon or another online merchant. This keeps the items you’ve brought from outside in one limited area of your home – not spreading possible contaminants throughout your home.
  2. Wipe down groceries and other items with Lysol wipes. I know, easier said than done if you haven’t been able to get your hands on some disinfecting wipes! I had purchased some of these before they became such a hot commodity, so we still have some to use. If not, using a good disinfecting spray (such as Lysol or Clorox – the cleaner should say that it kills viruses) and paper towels. I’d prefer using a disposable cloth for this purpose, instead of a cloth that would then need to be washed. (Again – if finding paper towels right now is tricky, then stock up on some paper dinner napkins. I found a large pack of these for about $2 at our local grocery store and they work just as well as paper towels. And once done, you can throw them away!) Wipe the packaged products down thoroughly with the Lysol cloth or spray and paper towel. (With fresh produce I don’t use disinfectant wipes – I’m afraid the chemicals will penetrate into the fruit or vegetables. Instead, I try to buy only bagged fruit, and for things like bananas – I give them a good wash with plain old soap and water.)
  3. Allow the disinfectant time to work – On our tub of Lysol wipes, they recommend letting the disinfectant sit on the items for 4-5 minutes to allow time for the disinfectant to work. Don’t rush this step, as this is when the disinfectant is actually killing the potential virus on the items.
  4. Put the groceries away – Carefully put away your groceries – into the fridge, cupboard, pantry or wherever you are storing your supplies right now.
  5. Wash your hands – We are told this every day, about a hundred times a day! But, it’s because many of us have bad habits and still don’t wash our hands as thoroughly as we should. Especially after you’ve been out shopping – those hands need a really good wash! If in doubt, wash them again! I find that a foaming hand soap really allows me to give my hands a good scrub. But, use whatever soap you have on hand. Lather up those hands, and sing your favourite song for at least 20 seconds as you give those hands of yours a good scrub. Then rinse thoroughly. Dry your hands on a clean hand towel or a paper towel. (Again, it’s nice to be able to toss the paper towel away.) If using hand towels, be sure to launder those towels regularly – and in the hottest water the fabric will allow.

Best Tips for Safely Unloading Groceries #StaySafe

These are the tips we have found most helpful for safely unloading our groceries or parcels during the times of coronavirus. Some people simplify the entire process by just having a ‘safe zone’ and leaving the supplies there for a few days before they even unload them into their home at all. We simply don’t have the space to do that, so this is the method that is working for us, living in an apartment. It’s helping us stay stocked up on necessities, and yet doing so as safely as we possibly can. Stay safe, everyone!

If you have some safe grocery unpacking/unloading tips to share, please leave a comment below!