Last Updated on March 26, 2020 by Yuvika Iyer
Do you want to disinfect your home in this virus season? Here are 8 effective ways to sanitize your home and keep your loved ones safe.
What is Disinfection
As per Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Disinfection is a process that chemically eliminates most of the pathogenic microscopic elements on inorganic things.
Disinfectant are agents that cures any infection in our bodies or any devices. The chemical composition of a disinfectant destroys the dormant forms of toxic microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria.
It’s more effective in eliminating inanimate substances than hidden spores.
COVID-19 has been declared as a global emergency. Check its latest information by visiting online resources provided by WHO, CDC and your local public health services. It’s recommended to use disinfectant whenever you can to stay away from infection and other diseases.
What’s the Difference between Disinfecting, Sanitizing and Cleaning?
Although often used interchangeably, these terms are not the same. Research by Sciencedirect indicates that cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing are diverse terms.
It works best by mixing right amount of water with liquid detergent or soap to make the surfaces germ-free. This process may not kill germs but reduces their numbers and minimizes the risk of infection to spread.
Disinfecting keeps any object or surface germ free. It uses chemicals to kill germs on different household items and surfaces.
The process is not designed to clean dirty surfaces like a typical floor cleaner. When you apply disinfectant after cleaning the surface, it kills germs and reduces the infection spreading risk.
As suggested by public heath standard and guideline, sanitizing keeps any object or surface in a safe level by lowering the number of germs.
This process works well with the right combination of disinfecting and cleaning and controls the spreading of infection.
Why Disinfecting the Home is Important
Protecting ourselves from deadly coronavirus is the need of the hour. The first step is to clean your hands before of after touching anything or anyone.
Stock hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes and soaps in your home before they fly off the shelves of supermarkets and departmental stores.
Taking extra care and being cautious at the outset will keep you free of germ and infection.
You can also use plant-derived essential oils to keep your home fresh and pure. Here are 20 natural ways to keep your home clean and safe.
Is only saving ourselves from infection enough? How should we safeguard our homes and household items? It’s equally important to wash your hand and keep your home clean and disinfected at the same time to keep virus at bay.
CDC’s Coronavirus website reveals that novel coronavirus can stay suspended for hours to many days on different surfaces.
Preventing it from sneaking into your body requires cleaning of stained and dirty surfaces followed by thorough disinfection.
Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing should work in tandem to get the best result. Try it today to prevent unwanted germs and viruses from entering your home and protect your loved ones.
How to Disinfect Your Home
Regular cleaning of frequently touched and used surfaces with DIY home cleaners are the key to stay safe.
You should thoroughly clean your toilets, kitchen, sinks, desks, switches, tables, doorknobs, door and window handles.
Once cleaning is done, apply EPA-approved disinfectants appropriate for every surface after reading the product label instructions.
Each product label includes detailed instruction of effective and safe use of cleaning products. Before using them you should take precautions, such as ensuring good indoor and outdoor ventilation and wearing gloves
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a suggested list of products that are effective against the Covid-19 or Coronavirus as it’s popularly known.
Remember to check the EPA registration number on the product label to confirm if it has the same active components.
8 Ways to Disinfect Your Home
The USEPA has collated a comprehensive list of products which is not specifically tested on COVID-19 but it has been proved mighty effective in thwarting other deadly viruses.
These products use different mixes of formulations and ingredients, to apply in the same way as directed by the product labels.
Cleaning High Touch Surfaces
It is recommended to wear disposable gloves for cleaning and disinfecting your household items or surfaces.
Your daily virus prevention measure should include thorough cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched and used objects and surfaces.
Regularly clean surfaces with a concoction of water and soap. Make routine cleaning a daily habit to stay safe.
Highly touched surfaces are: Light switches, window handles, study or work desk, doorknobs, phones, cooktops, toilets, sinks, keyboards, faucets and some furniture.
Make sure they are cleaned everyday to minimize the virus threat.
Use DIY disinfectants or buy yours from a nearby store. Make a diluted home bleach solution if that’s appropriate for the surface.
If you are buying from nearby store then make sure the product is within its expiry date.
Read the user guide and manufacturer’s application carefully to understand how the disinfectant should be applied. Make sure to have proper ventilation in your rooms while applying it.
Remember not to mix ammonia or other cleansers with your household bleach.
If you wish to make DIY bleach solution at home, follow this simple recipe:
Mix 5tbsp or 1/3rd cup of bleach in every gallon of water
4tsps of bleach in each quart of water
Alcohol solutions are also quite effective in disinfecting the surfaces. To get the best outcome your disinfectant should have 70% alcohol.
Clean any household stuff, surface or a specific area in your home with a mixture of detergent or soap with water. Once the cleaning is done to your satisfaction apply a household disinfectant to eliminate the hidden virus and other toxins.
Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Make sure that the surface remains wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed.
Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
Following instruction on the product label is essential to ensure safety and optimum use of it. Keep the surface wet for less than an hour to get the germs killed.
Take preventive measures like ensuring good ventilation, air circulation and wearing gloves while using the product. Strictly use the EPA-registered household disinfectants to get the maximum effect.
You can use the following sanitizing products like:
Mobile Phone Disinfectant
Laptop screen disinfectant
Clean the soft surfaces like rugs, drapes or carpeted floor by mixing water and soap in the right ratio or with a surface cleaner.
Launder items should be cleaned as per the Manufacturer’s instructions or user guideline. Wash them with the warmest possible water, rinse properly and dry them completely before using again.
Alternatively you can choose to disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These products qualify the criteria set by EPA for using against coronavirus.
Doing laundry regularly is vital for our cleanliness. Wear disposable gloves to wash towels, linens, clothes and other items.
Rinse your hands with soap and wash them under running water the moment you open the gloves. If you are outside and cannot use handwash, compulsorily go for a hand sanitizer.
Wash everything as per manufacturer’s guideline. Make the water setting appropriate and the warmest and let the stuff dry completely. Make sure to clean and disinfect the clothes basket according to the guideline.
Clean hands often
Make the habit of cleaning your hands frequently with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Once you remove the gloves or come into contact with an affected person, immediately wash your hands.
If you don’t have immediate access to water and soap and your hands look apparently clean, use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol. If your hands are noticeably dirty then wash them thoroughly with water and soap.
Don’t have a hand sanitizer?
Here’s an easy recipe to make your own sanitizer.
You must clean your hands at the following times:
After sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing
Immediately after using the toilet
Before preparing or eating your food
If you touch your pets and any other animal
Before and after giving routine care to a person needing assistance (especially the kids and the elderly people in your home)
Never touch your mouth, nose and eyes with uncleaned or unwashed hands.
DO NOT travel at this trying time of Coronavirus pandemic unless it’s very urgent. If you can’t avoid travel, make necessary precautions to shield yourself.
Ever heard of a hazmat suit? Sounds alien, eh?
Using a hazmat suit is a useful idea to stay safe and keep germs and viruses at bay.
Hazmat is the short form of hazardous material, used as a decontamination suit. It’s a impermeable full-body suit with a personal protective equipment designed to protect you from hazardous substances.
Handle Food Carefully
Wear gloves and use hot water while washing kitchen utensils. Hold any non-disposable food service items with gloves and wash in a dishwasher or under running hot water. Clean hands immediately after having food.
Dispose Trash Properly
Use dedicated can to keep trash. It’s advisable to use disposable garbage bag to store trash instead of throwing directly inside the can. Use natural garbage can tabs to keep the foul smells away.
Wear gloves while collecting garbage bags and disposing trash. Immediately wash hands once you complete the process.
Can You Make Your Own DIY Homemade Disinfectant for Home?
As suggested by CDC (U.S Center for Disease Control), you can easily disinfect non-porous and hard surface by following the DIY Homemade Disinfectant recipe:
Mix 1/3 cup of sodium hypochlorite (regular chlorine-based bleach) with every gallon of water
You can also mix ½ cup bleach with ½ gallon of water
If you want make the small batches and test them out, mix 4tbsps chlorine bleach with 1 quart of water.
How to use in flat surfaces:
- Wear gloves before applying the disinfectant
- Dip a piece of cloth in the solution
- Thoroughly wipe the surface
- Let the solution stay on the surface for more than 5 minutes
- Switch on the fan or AC to air dry it.
How to use in Food contact surfaces:
- Food contact surfaces are high chair trays and countertops
- Rinse them with warm water
- Apply disinfectant on the entire surface
- Let it settle on the surface for 5-10 minutes
- Air dry after the process is complete
- Carefully apply the solution to avoid splashing in your eyes or on your clothes. Sparingly use the disinfectants on surfaces and stainless-steel sinks.
Safety tips for Disinfecting the Home
Find below the crucial safety tips you should follow when applying disinfectants for cleaning your home.
- You should first know the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. Sanitizing requires less time – somewhere around 30 to 60 seconds. It helps in reducing the number of germs on a surface. Disinfecting can take close to 10 minutes and the process is designed to kill the germs and prevent us from being sick.
- You need to check how long the non-porous and hard surfaces should remain wet for eliminating most of the germs. It is recommended to apply the product multiple times due to the liquid’s fast evaporating nature.
- No product has the capacity to adequately disinfect and sanitize a dirty surface. Before applying the disinfectant make sure to clean the surface with water and plain soap.
- Keep the chemical exposure minimal when applying disinfectants. Strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instruction and precautionary steps given in the product label. If you don’t find any label guidance on the product label, take general precautions. Wear gloves, protect your eyes while using the liquids, wear socks with shoes and cover your arms and legs by wearing long sleeves and trousers.
- Keep your pets, children and other family members away during the product application. Bring them back once the surface is dry and has no odor.
- Use proper ventilation once the solution is applied. Keep the windows open for sometime and use fans to throw out the stale odor. You can use a mask or stay away from the applied surface if the odor feels too strong to handle.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap after applying disinfectant, that includes surface wipes as well.
- Keep the container tightly closed when you are not using it. Open containers can be hazardous as the chance of liquid spilling out is more.
- Keep the kids and pets away from disinfectant wipes. Never allow them to tinker around with the disinfectant bottle.
- Remember masks and gloves are disposable. Throw them away after you use disinfectant as they can’t be cleaned.
- It’s a bad idea to use disinfectant wipes to clean dirty hands or as baby wipes. Strictly use them as they are supposed to.
In these difficult times, be strong and stay safe.
Share your top tips to disinfect your home in the comments section.