Properly Disinfecting E-commerce Packages

Properly Disinfecting E-commerce Packages

As the founder of Behave Bras where our company is literally in the business of sending packages, you’d think I have a good idea how to handle incoming packages during this pandemic.

But I don't. Not really.

I’m confused because every day it feels like there is “new information” and “breaking news” on how the Covid-19 virus acts and spreads. 

Things got real for me last week. A good friend of mine sent me some amazing hard cider after finding out that I was running low on much needed happy hour supplies. 

Needless to say this person is now what I would call a “dear friend” after that solid move.

But the delivery was anxiety-inducing. The Fedex guy came to the door holding my box of alcohol, without gloves on and no face mask to be seen. Cradling the box to his body like an infant,  snuggling up with that box like they were about to Netflix and chill. While I appreciate the care that he used, it stopped me in my tracks. 

I froze. I was horrified to touch it.

I waved politely as I left it on the stoop, backed into the house with a wooden smile on my face, brain screaming “He’s not wearing gloves! Don’t you dare touch that box! You’re going to get COVID-19 because you wanted a sip of cider!”

I realized pretty damn quick that I need some serious info on how to deal with my influx of e-commerce packages now that we’re sheltering in place and avoiding other humans. I have a lot of questions and I’m sure you do too: 

What’s the point of self-isolating if I invite the virus right in through my front door piggy-backing on a cardboard or plastic package?  

Do I spray down the plastic bag with Lysol and wait for 6 hours or 6 days? 

Do I touch my package while wearing gloves, rip it open and then burn the gloves and the packaging on my front lawn?

Do I place them on my driveway and have the sun’s rays burn off the little virus particles that could be there while the neighborhood admires my shopping problem?

Maybe there’s a special chant and spell with some crystals and sage I can burn around all incoming packaging to “naturally” disinfect it?

WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO FIGURE OUT?!?!

Seriously though. The world is crazy right now and making me crazy with it. Because this was alcohol, and very precious to me at that moment (sense of urgency: HIGH), I hopped onto Google to look for a source of education on this matter. 

First, I found this detailed info from NIH report from March 24, 2020:

The National Institutes of Health reports the SARS-COV2 virus that causes COVID-19 is capable of clinging to surfaces for a longer period of time than originally thought. The virus can be found in aerosol particles for up to three hours, can cling to cardboard for up to 24 hours and can stick to plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.”

Ok. Let’s digest that.

I know people can breathe out little micro-particles of vapor that can float in the air for a few hours via coughing/sneezing etc; that’s why we don’t see people and are in quarantine.

But.

This nasty little virus likes to live on things way too long. I’m f*cking not ok that it can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic for up to 72 hours!

So disinfecting sounds like it’s got to happen as a first step.

I read on. 

“You’ll want to assess what kind of package you’re dealing with. If you receive a cardboard box, you should handle it with gloves (if possible) and place it in a safe, secure outdoor location — like a backyard, patio or balcony — for 24 hours. If it’s a plastic package or bag, you’ll want to leave it in your secure location for up to three days.”

So for my cider order, which needed to get into my refrigerator, this method wouldn’t work.

I’m not leaving perfectly delicious cider on the stoop for a whole 24 hours.

And if you’re ordering a Behave Bra, which we ship in plastic bags so there’s less material waste, you’d have to leave that pretty thing outside for 3 days?!?!

No way.

This was not very practical information so I continued my search, looking for something doable and that would allow me to imbibe without a side of SARS-COV-2 

I hopped on Google and decided to go straight to the source- the WHO and CDC, to look into what they have on file about packages.

I learned that there are no recorded incidents of infection by mail. Yay! 

“Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.” from the CDC

Basically, as with everything Coronavirus, the main risk is mainly person-to-person.

So, put on your cloth mask and head outside where you need to unwrap your items, box or bag, while wearing gloves (if you have them).

Likely your items inside your box or bag were handled more than 3 days ago, unless you did overnight delivery-and even if you did it still is taking MUCH longer these days. For extra super-duper precaution you can disinfect your items inside the box/bag with some wipes.

Again, very doable. 

For your  Behave bra order, I recommend wiping down the shipping bag, then pulling out the Behave laundry bag that is packed with your order inside. Go throw the laundry bag in the washing machine, that’s actually what it’s for anyways, and give the little reusable bags that the bras come in a quick wipe.

Any potential virus that could be living on the reusable product bags is likely already dead without you having to disinfect it by now because it’ll have been 3 days or more since they were packed and shipped.

Then WASH YOUR HANDS and anything you may have touched along the way. This is pretty logical and pain free. On the crazy chance that there was virus on any of the materials you touched, go give your hands a good scrub to take that possibility for infection down to nil.

Phew. Anxiety reduced! A little bit at least. 

This was a LOT of information today about something that had been stressing me out. I’m going to go drink some Tin City Cider (thanks again Daryl!!!) and relax a bit.