How to Properly Disinfect Areas of Your Home

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Dennis Nottingham
July 27, 2020
7 minutes, 41 seconds
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“We are still learning about this new coronavirus, but it is likely that one way it spreads is through contaminated surfaces. Frequently cleaning surfaces should help.”

— Daniel M. Parker, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine

  1. Bathroom

Keeping the bathroom free from germs is especially crucial in the wake of a pandemic, as the bathroom contains lots of bacteria and viral matter. Here are some main areas you want to focus on:

  • Shower/bathtub
  • Handles
  • Sink and counters
  • Toilet
  • Light switches
  • Floors
  • Bath mats

These areas of the bathroom are high contact surfaces. They carry lots of bacteria and should be disinfected on a routine basis. Bacteria thrives in warm areas. Keeping moisture out of the bathroom is crucial for this reason. After a shower, the bathroom is filled with steam and warm air. Prevent bacteria from multiplying in this time period by opening the window or by turning on the exhaust fan. After this, pull the shower curtain open so it stretches across the tub. This will allow the curtain and liner to fully dry and prevent moisture from growing mildew. Water repellents are also a great tool to utilize. Try using a water repellent like RainX on shower doors and walls to halt soap scum, water and minerals in its tracks. Who knew this powerful product could also be beneficial in the home! Use disinfectant sprays and wipes to wipe down door handles and counters on a daily basis.

  1. Living Room Furniture

Human beings shed a variety of items from our bodies and skin, including insect parts, pollen, chemicals, cosmetics, oils and so much more. Gross! There are a few ways to disinfect furniture to help rid your furniture of this. A few cleaning methods include spot cleaning, vacuuming, good hygiene and the use of disinfecting sprays; regular use of these methods goes a long way! Use Lysol over surfaces when all major cleaning is done. Waiting to spray a disinfectant spray last seals the deal and captures any additional bacterial/viral matter that was missed in the main clean. Some furniture will have removable cushion covers or a removable slip. Remove these covers and clean them in hot water. Once finished, place them on a rack and position it in an area of your home where it can air dry while being coated by the light of the sun. The sun's rays surprisingly helps kill bacteria. This is said to disinfect even wood from bacteria. Pretty cool! Be sure to also slap the cushions and fabric to release any dust or debris that has likely built up over time. Don’t be shy; you can really go to work. You may see clouds of dust collect into the air if a lot was built up. Follow through with a thorough vacuum cleaning with the attachment.

  1. Kitchen

The kitchen can harbor a lot of bacteria, so it’s important to pay close attention to this area of the home. There's a big difference between cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning means everything looks clean on the surface level, but bacteria and germs are still present. Sanitizing rids the surface of those germs. You need the right product to properly disinfect your home. Using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved product ensures you properly disinfect your home. The EPA has highlighted several brands that are proven to be most effective at combating COVID-19. These brands include Lysol, Clorox and Sani-Cloth sprays and wipes. If you can't find any at your local shops, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommend creating a DIY disinfectant solution. Look up DIY solutions on websites such as Pinterest and Youtube who have lots of recipes to create decent home cleaners, most of which are free from harmful chemicals and use essential oils for smell. A daily cleaning schedule is crucial to stop germs in their tracks. It is important to note that when using wet wipes, surfaces need to remain wet for up to 10 minutes in order to be effective. Many brands contain alcohol, which can cause the liquid to dry quickly. This can make it difficult to keep the surface wet without re-wiping multiple times, meaning a waste of money and time. Choose quality wipes that will remain wet for up to 10 minutes for effective disinfection.

  1. Bedroom

With COVID-19 on the rise with each passing day, understanding how to clean and disinfect rooms or areas where people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections have entered is vital to protect others who may enter that same space. This includes bedrooms. The virus has the ability to live on certain surfaces for days, making it easy to spread to those who come in contact with it. To prevent the spread of those germs, all hard surfaces such as nightstands and headboards need to be disinfected on a regular basis. Bedding should be washed in hot water. Dry them on high heat or allow them to air dry if the material is sensitive to heat. Pillowcases are especially important, as they have the most contact with your nose and mouth when sleeping. When using cleaning products, follow the instructions to ensure the product is able to do its job. If you use a spray, leave it on for a few minutes before wiping off. As we mentioned above, the surface that is being disinfected needs to stay wet for a duration of time. It’s the equivalent of using dry disinfecting wipes. They would be ineffective in this state.

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