In light of the current coronavirus outbreak going on across numerous countries, you might find yourself washing your hands more than usual. And with so much time at home as you practice social distancing and isolation, that might lead to you thinking about how many germs are in your very own home.
Doorknobs? Remote controls? The toilet? Everywhere is a breeding ground for bacteria, isn’t it? The thought of it all can really just make you want to disinfect your house from top to bottom.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between disinfecting and merely cleaning or sanitizing your home. Cleaning refers more to taking care of things like dust and dirt on the surface, but not so much about getting rid of the bacteria. So while cleaning is great for everyday life, you’ll want to do something a bit more drastic in these dire times.
Sanitizing is in the middle of cleaning and disinfecting, as it kills a certain amount of disease-causing microorganisms on a surface. But when you want to take drastic measures, you need to disinfect, which kills all of those microorganisms.
That said, when you disinfect a surface, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t actually look clean. Disinfecting is really only to kill germs! That typically means you should clean the surface before disinfecting.
Now that we know what we’re doing, to disinfect your home, first, you’ll need a general disinfectant, which you can get at most stores. These can come in either sprays or wipes. If it’s a spray, using it is simple: just simply apply it to the area you want to be disinfected.
There are a few things to keep in mind at this point in the game. First, you should get the surface nice and wet. Don’t be afraid about using too much (which is better than using too little!). Then, let it sit on the surface for about 3-5 minutes. Sure, this can make impatient people want to tear out their hair, but that gives the disinfectant enough time to search and kill bacteria.
There’s a common misconception that you should spray and wipe as fast as you can—you know, like how you see in the infomercials. But when you do that, you’re not giving the disinfectant a chance to get to the bacteria, and it’ll be a waste. (Note: That’s why wipes like Clorox or Lysol come out of the container sopping wet.)
Even when there isn’t a pandemic, you should be disinfecting areas of your home regularly. Certain instances where it’s necessary include when you’re preparing meat (disinfect your cutting board, knives, sink, etc.), when people are sick (aka your kid came down with the flu), or if you’re having someone over who is immunocompromised.
To learn more about how to properly disinfect your home, including what products to use and great easy-to-understand tips that make the process easier, check out the video below, hosted by expert cleaning expert Melissa Maker.
How often do you disinfect your home? Do you think you’ll try some of these tips?