If you live with other people and you are self-isolating

Keep away from other people in your home as much as you can. Stay in a separate room with a window you can open.


  • stay away from other people and be careful not to spread COVID-19 if you have to be in the same room as someone else
  • wash your hands properly and often – use soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue – put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
  • use a different bathroom to others. If that’s not possible, clean your hands before entering, after using the toilet and before leaving
  • put your dirty laundry in a plastic bag and have someone collect it from your bedroom door
  • put rubbish like tissues or disposable face masks in a plastic bag and place the plastic bag in a second bin bag and tie the bag
  • follow our advice on safe household cleaning


  • do not share things like food, cutlery, towels or bedding
  • do not eat meals with other people – have someone leave food at your door and collect the dishes after

If you have to be in the same room as someone else

If you have to go into a room with other people in it, try to keep a distance of 2 metres. Wear a medical or respirator face mask.

Anyone in the room aged 9 and older should wear a mask. For adults and older children, this should be a medical or respirator mask.

Read more about face masks

If they get symptoms

If other people in your household get symptoms of COVID-19, they need to self-isolate (stay in your room).

Certain groups of people with symptoms should get a COVID-19 test.

Household cleaning, laundry and rubbish

Washing dishes

If possible, have someone collect the dishes and put them in a dishwasher. They should wash their hands properly after.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash dishes in hot soapy water, wearing rubber gloves. Leave the dishes to air dry.

How to use rubber gloves properly

After each use:

  1. Wash the rubber gloves while you are still wearing them
  2. Take the gloves off and leave them to dry.
  3. Wash your hands properly with soap and water.

Use a detergent or disinfectant to clean your home

Many cleaning and disinfectant products sold in supermarkets can kill the virus on surfaces.

Use your usual household products like detergent, disinfectant or disinfectant wipes. These are very good at getting rid of the virus. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label. Check they are suitable for the surface you are cleaning.

What surfaces to clean

Clean all surfaces every day, especially high contact surfaces, like counters, door handles, toilets and toilet handles, phones or other devices.

Clean remote controls, games consoles and similar items thoroughly before anyone else uses them. If you cough or sneeze on them, wipe them clean immediately.

Clean any surfaces you have touched after using the bath or shower. If you are not well enough to do this yourself, someone else in the house can do this for you.


Put your dirty laundry in a plastic bag. Have someone collect it from your bedroom door.

If possible, they should wear rubber gloves and:

  • hold the laundry away from themselves
  • wash the laundry at the highest temperature for the material, with a laundry detergent
  • clean all surfaces and the area around the washing machine
  • wash the rubber gloves while still wearing them
  • wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after removing the gloves or handling dirty laundry

If possible, tumble dry and iron laundry using a hot setting or steam iron.

Do not send laundry to a launderette or dry cleaner while you are self-isolating. There's a risk you could spread COVID-19 to people who work there. If you cannot avoid using a launderette, leave your laundry in a bag for 3 days before you take it there. This will be enough time for the virus to die off.​


Put personal waste, including used tissues, disposable masks and cleaning waste in a plastic bag. Tie the bag when it is almost full. Place the plastic bag in a second bin bag and tie the bag.

Leave the bag somewhere that is away from other people. The bags should be left for 3 days before the bin collection.

Dispose of any other waste the way you usually would.

Page last reviewed: 18 January 2022