An easy way to disinfect your mail

Stacks of mail

From what I have read, COVIDS-19 can survive up to 3 days* on surfaces. That means after four days mail and packages should be safe, or at least much safer, to handle. Here is what I am doing to protect my family from contaminated mail.

  1. In an out-of-the way spot (not your breakfast table) find a spot for four stacks of mail.
  2. On day 1, place your mail in stack 1. Wash your hands.
  3. On day 2, place your mail in stack 2. Wash your hands.
  4. On day 3, place your mail in stack 3. Wash your hands.
  5. On Day 4, place your mail in stack 4. Wash your hands.
  6. On Day 5, open your mail in stack 1. Wash your hands. Then when you pick up your Day 5 mail from your mailbox, place it in the now empty stack 1. Wash your hands.

And repeat the pattern: each day you should:

  1. open your mail from the stack that is four days old, then
  2. place your newly delivered mail in its place.

If your memory is as bad as mine, you may want to place a “schedule of dates” at each stack, so you know which stack to open and replace. You may download and print the pdf below with a list of dates for each stack.

Download schedule here.

Some have commented that a Post-It note that you move from stack to stack will work without the need for a calendar. That is great if you are systematic enough to move the note exactly once each day. I am the guy who cannot remember if he has taken his pills yet. The method I describe above is the equivalent of the daily pill box. Now if I can only remember what day it is…

* “Three days” survival of the virus comes from Harvard Medical School’s COVID-19 site. Some reports say that the virus decays exponentially so that the virus may remain at low but detectable concentrations for much longer times. If you wish to be more conservative, add more stacks to your rotation!

Photo credits: 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and Eielson Air Force Base.

2 thoughts on “An easy way to disinfect your mail”

  1. We know you’re online shopping, which means that you’re getting tons of packages. When it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, how cautious should you be about surfaces in your home.

    1. Sorry to be so slow to approve your comment and respond. I must admit that I do not check often enough.

      To your question, since I first created this post, considerable evidence has been collected to indicate that COVID-19 is rarely spread through contaminated surfaces. While in summer of 2020, I quarantined my mail and packages for days, I am now comfortable with opening immediately, followed by hand-washing.

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