So there’s this pesky virus floating around, and it’s the reason why we’re stuck inside. Since we are confined to our homes, multiple games of Uno, the darkest corners of Netflix, and the same damn pair of sweatpants every day, it’s important to learn how to disinfect the right way. To help, we’ve turned to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because, as their name suggests, they know a thing or two about disease prevention!
The good news is, it’s pretty simple. A standard household soap or detergent reduces the number of germs on a surface and decreases the risk of infection. This alone can be enough to remove most virus particles in the home.
Disinfecting your home is a crucial way to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Read on to find out how to keep your space sparkling clean and virus-free!
When and how to disinfect homes the right way
- High-touch surfaces (doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops) should be cleaned daily and after you have visitors (when that is allowed again).
- Other surfaces should be cleaned when they are visibly dirty or more frequently if you have high-risk family members.
- Clean with a suitable product for each surface, and always follow the label instructions.
Reducing the contamination of surfaces
Limiting the contamination of surfaces in your home from airborne particles or contaminated hands is also a good idea. This can lessen the amount of cleaning you have to do whilst also ensuring things are as safe as possible. Consider these tips:
- Ask visitors to wear masks.
- Isolate people who may be ill.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially when coming home from outside activities.
How to disinfect your home safely
It is important to disinfect your home regularly because it kills any remaining germs that may be hanging out on surfaces while also reducing the spread of germs. Follow these steps to disinfect your home, and always remember to keep disinfectants out of the reach of children:
- Read the directions on the label.
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, glasses, or goggles.
- Start with visibly dirty surfaces and opt for household cleaners containing soap or detergent before disinfecting (some disinfectant products have a cleaning agent – the label will verify).
- Keep the surface wet with disinfectant for whatever period the label recommends.
- Always make sure you have some ventilation while using disinfectants. Open doors and windows or use fans to improve airflow.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after disinfecting.
How to use chemical disinfectants safely
- The directions on the label are important. Follow these carefully to ensure you are practising safe and effective cleaning methods.
- Wear PPEs, especially if the directions on the product label recommend it.
- Ensure adequate ventilation.
- Extra disinfectant doesn’t mean you are extra clean. Stick to the amount recommended on the label.
- If you need to dilute the water, stick to room temperature (unless the label says otherwise); germs aren’t like the Wicked Witch of the West, so boiling water isn’t always effective.
- If you are diluting cleaning or disinfectant solutions and putting them in a DIY container, make sure you label them. We don’t want anyone thinking it’s your freshly squeezed orange juice by mistake!
- Store chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
- Never mix chemicals to try and create your own super chemical. It doesn’t work and is very unsafe.
- Do not eat, drink, breathe, or inject disinfection products, as this will cause serious harm.
- Your pets are probably particularly filthy as we (and they!) know mud is fun BUT you must never try and clean them with surface cleaning or disinfection products. To be clear, the dog is not a table.
- People with asthma may have it triggered by specific cleaning and disinfection products. You can learn about reducing your chance of an asthma attack while disinfecting here.
How to disinfect home surfaces and gadgets
Various areas of the home and certain gadgets require different disinfecting processes. For example, the method for how to disinfect iPads is different to how to disinfect sofas. Here are some of the key ones:
Soft surfaces (carpet, rugs, and drapes)
- Clean with soap and water or with cleaners specifically made for these surfaces.
- Launder whichever items are possible with the warmest appropriate water setting (ensure they dry completely before popping them back to their spot).
- Disinfect if needed.
- Vacuum regularly.
- Use the warmest setting allowed.
- Dry all items completely.
- Clean the clothes hamper as well.
- Wash your hands after touching dirty laundry.
- Consider using a wipeable cover on any electronic items (phones, tablets, touchscreens, remotes, keyboards) to make cleaning easier.
- Always check the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to cleaning electronic devices.
- Be aware that many cleaning products for electronic items contain alcohol which dries quickly.
How to disinfect your iPhone or iPad
Your iPhone or iPad (or other similar devices) are handled regularly, so it is important to clean them regularly (you’ll need some lint-free cloths).
- Power down the device.
- Wipe with a dry lint-free cloth.
- Avoid any liquids or moisture getting into the openings.
- Avoid compressed air or incorrect cleaning products.
- Use specific electronic disinfectant products and follow the steps on the packaging.
- Allow the device to dry properly before using (this will be quick).
Frequently asked questions
What is the best household disinfectant for surfaces during COVID-19?
Standard household cleaning and disinfection products will effectively eradicate the virus from surfaces. Cleaning and disinfecting households during COVID-19 involves surface virucidal disinfectants that include 0.05% sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) and other cleaning products that feature ethanol (at least 70%).
What is the recommended bleach concentration to disinfect surfaces from COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings?
In non-healthcare settings, sodium hypochlorite (bleach/chlorine) can be used at a concentration of 0.1% (1 part of 5% strength household bleach with 49 parts water). Alcohol at 70-90% is also effective for surface disinfection.
Is fumigation effective against COVID-19?
In indoor spaces, the routine application of disinfectants to surfaces by spraying or fumigation (misting) is not recommended to combat COVID- 19.
How do you properly wash your hands to avoid getting COVID-19?
It is important to wash your hands often and thoroughly using soap and water for roughly 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitiser is also effective if your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if your hands are unwashed. If putting on or taking off gloves and masks, it is essential to wash your hands.
A cleaner lockdown is a more pleasant lockdown
While lockdowns are about keeping us safe in our homes and away from the virus, you must ensure your home itself is also safe. The instructions above are simple and a great way to fill all this extra time at home!
If allowed based on your state’s lockdown rules, plenty of Taskers are available to help with cleaning around the home. You can also get other forms of assistance during this trying time with grocery delivery and fresh food delivery.
If you are reading this article because cleaning has become your new lockdown hobby, we have some more helpful reading for you! One of the trickier places to clean is the oven, so learn the best way to get in there for a clean with this helpful article.
Stay safe during lockdown and keep a clean home so we can all do our part and say “bye, Felicia” to this virus once and for all!