The what’s and how’s of home disinfecting

By April 18, 2020Cleaning

Our homes are a safe haven where we can relax and recover from the outside world. Unfortunately, we wind up bringing home the world and all its germs too through dirty hands, shoes, clothing, and phones.

Good household hygiene means cleaning and disinfecting the same areas you tackle in normal times, but now at this time of heightened awareness of one’s hygiene – we have to level up our cleaning a bit more frequently or with industrial-strength type products. 

First up: cleaning vs disinfecting

Cleaning shouldn’t be confused with disinfecting. The former means you’re removing germs but not killing, while the latter means you’re actually killing them. This difference is important because you might clean surfaces effectively but you might not be disinfecting, leaving germs and bacteria to fester and grow. 

The where’s:

For a more comprehensive ‘where to clean’, check out our article on “Cleaning the forgotten areas of your home” here

But generally, pay attention to food preparation surfaces and other high-touch surfaces, including light switches, remote controls, doorknobs, refrigerator door, and microwave handles, and your computer keyboard. You don’t need to panic-clean. Smart, targeted hygiene throughout the day and week is the best way to go.

The tried and trusted disinfectants:

  • Before disinfecting, remove any visible dirt and grime; this will help the disinfectant do its job. 
  • The tried-and-trusted disinfectants such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide expires six months after opening but can last up to three years unopened), chloroxylenol (the active ingredient in Dettol) and rubbing alcohol. Look for any product that has an alcohol content of 60 percent or higher.
  • Also, any soap is good soap – for hands, body and, clothes washing – but for deep household cleaning, we recommend chemicals a bit stronger. 

The method:

  • When using any type of disinfectant, emphasize the importance of waiting 30 seconds to a couple minutes for the product to effectively kill a germ or virus. 
  • Bleach is one of the most economical disinfecting agents. Create a bleach/water solution using the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended recipe of a quarter-cup bleach per 2L of water. 
  • Safety tip when using bleach: Never mix bleach and ammonia together, as it creates a dangerous and potentially deadly chlorine gas. Generally, don’t mix chemical products. 

Let’s get disinfecting!


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