Master Locksmith's Corona-virus COVID-19 Tips

2020-February-29 David Locksmith Calgary

Handles and locks are common surfaces that get touched every time you go in and out of public buildings and go back home to. Worst case scenario is to go out and touch bare hands to a public handle touched by all others in public with bare hands, and then come home to touch your electronic deadbolt and handle when going back home, and then your family also using that handle when they come home.

It's best for all to use gloves when touching handles and locks and not your bare hands. Don't touch your face with your gloves. When you come home before you open the door, if snow is available on your front lawn, wash your gloves in the snow. If not, spray your gloves when done for the day or often with cleaner, alcohol if you have it, and rub your gloves together. If not sprayed, time might kill the viruses, but they may also last a few days. I carry a small spray bottle of alcohol spray with me when working with locks or coming home for the day.

If you don't have gloves, I at-least like to use my sleeve pulled over my hands when going to MacDonalds, or better yet, look for doors that have an automatic entry such as large sliding doors, or alternately if a handicap button automatic swing door is available, I will take my knee and (gently) press the button.
When exiting a door in a public place you can push on another part of the door other than the handle (such as glass or other part of frame).

If coming home and you don't have gloves, instead of using a finger to press your combination, use one of your knuckles... a knuckle you didn't use in public. We will call this your home knuckle.

You can also spray or wipe your lock handles and electronic keypads with alcohol, though those might not be recommended by manufacturer specification, but the need for disinfection outweighs that requirement. I do not recommend bleach as it may damage things on locks. Just make sure it's dry before using the electronics. Basic deadbolts you don't touch as much generally as the key goes in and operates the lock.

Handles for doors comes in either round or flat lever shaped. Though we like round ones for mechanical longevity, a lever lets you open the door with least contact touched. If you use your sleeve pulled over your hands you can just push down on the lever to unlock. With a round knob, you use your whole inside area of your hand to grasp and turn.

Germs do no survive well on copper surfaces. Most locks these days are not copper surfaced, but there are a few handle knobs that are. You will more likely to find brass, a copper alloy, door knobs, especially on 1960's to 1990's homes. The trend has been towards more stainless steel / satin silver look however, or painted colors such as matte black, which would have no copper at all on the touchable surface.

Update: Emily Chung @ CBC cites that Dr. Gupta suggests that gloves can give a false sense of security if not used right, but for me personally, I tend to treat my gloves as a bio hazard zone, and with them, as a habit, I don't touch my face at all with my gloves.
And now with Covid times, I have two gloves, one I leave in the car, and then I use to go into the house with, before I have a chance to immediately wash my hands. I do the shopping for my family and the only time my hands are exposed is when I dig for my wallet and credit card (use tap), or use my designated dirty knuckle to press some touch screens at the self checkout till. Most checkout tills however work with your gloves on that I have found, maybe about 80%, depends on the touch screen technology that till uses.

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