Now more than ever, people are prioritizing their health and safety and becoming more conscious about cleanliness and sanitation. It’s critical to keep our bodies strong and our surroundings safe to reduce our vulnerability to disease, not just for our well-being but for the protection of our loved ones, as well.
But it’s not enough to simply clean up after yourself to avoid the spread of germs and viruses; you need to disinfect, in addition to that. And surprisingly, there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Cleaning pertains to the removal of physical particles or pollutants, such as dust and dirt. But it doesn’t necessarily get rid of harmful microorganisms. For example, when you wipe a table to remove food crumbs, you lessen the germs present and minimize the chances of pests coming to the area. But simply wiping it may still leave germs and bacteria, which can grow and spread over time.
Disinfecting, on the other hand, entails killing harmful organisms that are invisible to the eye — such as germs, viruses, and bacteria — preventing their growth and transmission. This typically involves using chemical disinfectants, like alcohol or bleach.
Reduce the growth and transmission of illness-causing germs through proper home sanitization to keep you and your family safe. Here’s how.
How to Sanitize Your Home
Wash Your Hands
The first step to ensuring a clean and sanitary home starts with yourself. Observe proper hygiene, especially frequent handwashing. This is one of the most effective ways to suppress the transmission of disease.
Make sure to do this correctly by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to kill any germs or bacteria that you may have picked up from infected surfaces. If you don't immediately have access to soap and water, sanitize your hands with alcohol or hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol content.
It’s particularly important to wash your hands after blowing your nose, after using the restroom, before and after you touch your face mask, before and after meals, after touching pets, and when you come home from being outside. If you haven’t washed your hands, minimize touching your face, particularly your nose, eyes, and mouth.
Regularly Disinfect Surfaces and Objects That are Frequently Touched
Viruses can grow and fester on surfaces that are commonly touched, like handles and doorknobs, faucets, counters in the kitchen and bathroom, tables and chairs, light switches, and handrails.
These high-touch surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day. Even if you didn't go outside, there is still a possibility of virus exposure, especially if you had products delivered to your house or had people come from outside.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of surface disinfectants that are strong enough to go up against COVID-19. But there are also solutions you can make at home. Diluted bleach is suitable for most surfaces and is effective for sanitation. If your bleach doesn’t have instructions on how it must be diluted, you can typically use five tablespoons of bleach for every gallon of water at room temperature.
When making bleach solutions, avoid mixing the bleach with other cleaners or disinfectants. You may think that combining them will double the strength, but these may react negatively with each other and release harmful vapors that aren’t safe to inhale.
Be sure to read the disinfectant product labels and follow them to the letter, as they may not be effective if used incorrectly. Be wary of products that claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria but don’t mention viruses or fungi.
Clean Your Bathroom
While it may be common knowledge that the bathroom is a hotspot, you may be overlooking some areas that are prone to viruses and germs.
A toilet handle is a high-touch object that is constantly vulnerable to virus growth, but very few people think to disinfect it often. Use a disinfectant or 60% alcohol solution to properly sanitize it.
To prevent the growth of molds and trichophyton, wipe down your shower walls or bathtub after using it. If you have a bathroom fan, use it to ventilate the room. Make sure to empty your bathroom trash bins every day as well, to reduce the growth of illness-causing viruses and bacteria.
Clean Your Kitchen
The kitchen is another hotspot for all sorts of viruses, bacteria, and germs. People come and go while preparing meals and even in between mealtimes. It’s where produce and raw meat are stored and handled. Most kitchens also have waste bins for leftovers and other food waste.
According to a 2020 study, the novel coronavirus can live for a certain time on materials that are commonly found in kitchens, such as copper (eight hours), cardboard (one day), stainless steel (two days), and plastic (three days). This highlights the importance of properly washing dishes and utensils before and after using them.
You should also regularly wipe down and sanitize your countertops and other kitchen surfaces with soap and water, followed by a disinfectant.
Sponges are breeding grounds for germs and mold, if not washed and dried regularly. Wet it and stick it in the microwave for one to two minutes, or toss it in the dishwasher at high temperature with the drying cycle on. If possible, squeeze it dry and allow it to air dry naturally.
Cutting boards are also susceptible to bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Prevent cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards for meat and produce.
Handle Laundry with Care
Don’t shake a laundry basket full of worn clothes, especially if it contains clothes you’ve worn outside, to prevent scattering viruses and germs into the air. Wash your clothes according to the clothing instructions, or at the warmest temperature setting possible that the fabric allows.
To prevent the growth of dust mites, wash your bedding in hot water once a week and vacuum your mattresses regularly.
Improve Indoor Airflow and Air Quality
To help reduce the growth and spread of viruses, particularly airborne contaminants, we recommend that you increase airflow and improve air quality at home.
Enhance the ventilation of your home by opening windows and screened doors. But only do this if the outdoor air in your area does not pose a serious health risk. You can also use indoor fans to keep air moving through the rooms.
If you’re looking to double down on your health and safety practices, air purification is a great way to complement the aforementioned best practices, as it helps minimize the transmission of viruses and pollutants in the air. Look for a trusted air purifier that works on multiple filter systems for optimal air cleaning.
Sans air purifiers offer four layers of protection that target a wide range of airborne pollutants, from physical particles like dust and hair to invisible pathogens and microorganisms. So, you can quite literally breathe easy knowing the air around you is clean and safe.Ready to take action? Shop with Sans today.