Back when the coronavirus pandemic started, cleaning products, like disinfecting wipes, flew off store shelves. There was certainly a much greater demand for the products than there was a supply. You probably remember going to a store and seeing an entire aisle of cleaning products that was almost or completely empty.

In the beginning of the pandemic, we didn’t know much about how the coronavirus spread, and we were worried about touching possibly contaminated surfaces. We even shared a video with you about how to properly clean your grocery store purchases after you get home or after they are delivered to your home.

Now that we know more about how the novel coronavirus spreads, we know that wiping down your grocery store purchases and immediately throwing away your take-out containers is probably not necessary. 

Melissa Bronstein is a registered nurse and the senior director of infection prevention for Rochester Regional Health. She says that the risk is not from touching containers or eating take-out but from face to face contact with someone who has COVID-19. “A more realistic risk is if (an infected) restaurant worker was face to face with you without wearing a mask.”

The latest information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that, “because of the poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely a very low risk of spread from food products or packaging.”

That also means that you don’t need to leave your items to sit for several days before touching them. Go ahead and open that cardboard box from Amazon or that grocery delivery order from Instacart, especially if the items inside are perishable.

According to current information, the best thing we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a face mask, practice social distancing and wash our hands. While touching items from the grocery store probably won’t get you sick, going to a grocery store might unless everyone is following the best practices listed above.

Bronstein stresses that wearing a mask that fits appropriately is very important. “The most important thing is to wear a mask that fully covers the wearer’s nose and mouth and is secure enough that the wearer won’t need to adjust it.”

Have you been wiping down your groceries, or did you stop doing that a long time ago? Does it help to know that you probably won’t get COVID-19 from touching surfaces or containers?