Should You Be Disinfecting Your Newspaper?

Could it be time to switch to an online subscription?

If you’re someone who has a physical newspaper subscription, chances are you’ve recently been wondering whether or not is it safe to keep it. During this pandemic, we’re all trying to be extra careful to keep ourselves and our homes safe, so it’s perfectly normal if you feel uneasy about getting your morning paper delivered. But if you’ve been wondering if you should be disinfecting your newspaper or turn to an online subscription, worry not. To put your mind at ease, we talked to experts to find the answers to your questions. Make sure you also read up on whether or not you should be disinfecting your groceries.

Is it safe to handle newspapers?

You will be happy to know that it’s perfectly safe to keep your newspaper subscription. “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is low,” according to the World Health Organization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also backs up this point. The CDC’s frequently asked questions section on the novel coronavirus says, while it is possible that you might get coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, it is not the main way the virus spreads. Just make sure you don’t touch your face, eyes, or mouth after handling a newspaper if you’d like to be extra safe.

How would you disinfect a newspaper anyways?

“Newspapers and milk packets can be purchased and used, however, they can’t be disinfected, well not without ruining the paper,” says Adil Bhaloda, clinical lead and pharmacist at Prescription Doctor. “Any effective chemical will at best smudge the text, at worst burn through the paper.”

Switching to an online subscription is always an option if you’d like to be extra safe. But if you’re someone who likes to read a physical paper, Bhaloda suggests washing your hands before and after handling the paper. Make sure you wash your hands after touching these 10 things as well.

“Use gloves if possible, and under no circumstances touch your face at any time. You just need to avoid touching your face and make sure you clean your hands properly,” says Bhaloda. Next, find out if it is safe to order from restaurants.

For more on this developing situation, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.