We all probably know that keeping a clean house is an important component to keeping healthy. But now more than ever, in this time that we as a world fight to overcome the deadly Coronavirus it is important to not just clean but to keep our home disinfected and sanitized. One of the most effective ways to do so is by using a bleach solution or rubbing alcohol.
Because let’s just be real, there is every day clean, guest clean, and then there’s COVID-19 clean. For that kind of clean you’ll want to break out the tough stuff: bleach, rubbing alcohol, and hot water.
The Best Disinfectants
For your high-touch surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, or a 70% alcohol solution.
Here is a bleach diluting recipe to help you know the right balance.
- 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water
- 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.
Make sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach.
And check to see if your bleach has expired. Who knew it could? After about 9 months to a year, and if it smells less bleachy, it’s lost its disinfecting power. Time for a new jug.
Important Note: Don’t mix bleach with anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical reaction. For instance, bleach + alcohol is a deadly combo.
How to disinfect your home if you don’t have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, as long as it’s at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC. You can find the alcohol concentration listed directly on the bottle. There is no need to dilute rubbing alcohol, as it is sold in an already diluted state.
Is There a Such a Thing as Too Much Disinfectant?
According to an EPA fact sheet, studies have found that using certain disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant. The EPA has issued a list of disinfectants on the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID- 19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you have a match. Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are your best bets.
What about the various disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)?
Hartman says the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could become resistant to viruses over time.
Surfaces That Need Your Attention
With your preferred disinfectant, wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets daily or more often, if someone in your home is sick.
Contact time is another key aspect of surface sanitizing. “Disinfection isn’t instantaneous,” says Hartman. [For a bleach solution], you want to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off.”
The CDC has updated its guidance to say that Covid-19 is now thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short time on some surfaces, it is unlikely to spread from domestic or international mail, products, or packaging.
However, people may be infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, even though this is not believed to be the main way the virus spreads.
Can I Use Bleach on My Floors?
For your nonporous floors, like those in the bathroom, the CDC recommends mopping with the bleach solution.
Avoid bleach on hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
Disinfecting with bleach isn’t actually cleaning. If you also need to clean your countertops of dirt and grime, do that first with soap and water. Then use the bleach solution or rubbing alcohol to combat the virus.
Killing Microbes on Clothes
Most washing machines today do a bang-up job on dirty clothes with cold water, which is best for energy savings. But if you have a sick person in your house, the hot-water setting followed by a high-heat dry for about a ½ hour to 45 minutes is best for virus eradication. Don’t forget about your laundry hamper. Wipe it down like you would other surfaces. You can also use a reusable liner bag, which you can launder with the clothes.
What If I’m Selling My House, Am I Inviting More Germs In?
How to disinfect your home when it’s for sale? Virtual showings and tours are the ideal, and your agent can set those up.
However, if there’s a need to have someone come in, talk to your agent who will work with you to establish a hygienic protocol, including requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs. After any showings, practice your surface wipe-down routine.
Finally, when you work with disinfectants, practice some self-care. “Alcohol and bleach can be very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands,” Hartman says.
Originally written by: Christina Hoffmann