Protect your family’s health — disinfect your home the right way.
Your home is a sanctuary for your family. In addition to being a place of comfort, your home should also be a place where you can feel confident that your family’s health is being protected.
Just like frequent hand washing and practicing social distancing, keeping your house clean and disinfected is a crucial way of keeping the COVID-19 virus and other illnesses at bay. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, standard house cleaning techniques don’t quite cut it.
Understanding the Differences Between Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing
Before diving into how to properly clean and disinfect your home, it’s helpful to have a refresher on what these terms actually mean.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
Cleaning is the act of physically removing dirt, debris, dust, germs (i.e. the COVID-19 virus), and other impurities with detergent (soap) and water. This means cleaning does remove germs, but it doesn’t actually kill them nor does it completely eliminate them from a surface.
Disinfecting is the act of using a chemical product to actually kill germs. However, disinfecting doesn’t necessarily clean a surface with dirt and grime. This is why it’s important to clean first and disinfect second.
What about sanitizing and sterilizing?
Sanitizing is a catch-all term for simply reducing or removing germs from a surface. For example, cleaning and disinfecting a countertop is sanitizing.
Sterilizing is similar to disinfecting, but it references the complete decontamination and removal of all microorganisms on a surface through the application of professional chemicals or high heat.
With these phrases in mind, we’re going to focus on cleaning and disinfecting as recommended by the CDC.
Following basic CDC guidelines simplifies the cleaning process and gives you peace of mind.
The confusion and chaos of dealing with a new powerful virus has led to a ton of misinformation being spread, including how to best clean your home.
The truth is disinfecting your home with the intention of preventing the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t require extra-strength chemicals, undiluted bleach, or crazy cleaning schedules.
Add disposable gloves to your house cleaning kit.
In terms of cleaning tools, you can simply continue to use the same items. If you use microfiber cloths or some other washable cloth, be sure to not reuse a dirty cloth on a clean and disinfected surface. You may feel more comfortable using paper towels for some surfaces, as you can simply toss them afterward.
One new item to add, if you don’t use them already, is a pack of disposable gloves. Disposable gloves will not only protect your hands from chemicals, but it will also help eliminate the chances of recontamination.
Selecting Disinfectant Products That Work
Most EPA-approved household disinfects will work well against the COVID-19 virus. You can find a complete list of disinfectant products here.
If you don’t have access to common disinfectants, like Lysol or Clorox, don’t worry! The CDC also recommends the use of undiluted bleach (⅓ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water). Be careful to not mix bleach, or any other disinfectant, with other chemicals.
How to Effectively Use a Disinfectant Product
As outlined by the EPA, there are six main steps to follow to effectively use a disinfectant:
- Double-check that your product is approved by the EPA and CDC.
- Thoroughly read the directions, paying careful attention to what surfaces it can be used on, the appropriate length of contact time, and any safety precautions.
- Clean the surface with soap and water and dry it before applying the disinfectant.
- Apply the disinfectant and allow it to sit for the recommended contact time. This can range anywhere from three to 10 minutes. Check to make sure the surface remains wet the entire time.
- Change your gloves and wipe down the surface. Immediately dispose of your gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds afterward.
- Close the bottle or disengage the sprayer and put it away to keep it out of your kids’ hands. You may also choose to wipe down or wash the disinfectant bottle if you are concerned about possible contaminants being on the outside of it.
How often should you clean and disinfect?
When determining how often you should clean and disinfect, there are a few factors to consider, such as family health and if anyone is leaving the home to work.
For example, if your family members are healthy, staying home, and only venturing out for errands, you might follow your normal cleaning routine but disinfect high-touch surfaces more often. However, if there are family members regularly leaving for work or someone in your family who is at a higher risk of catching the virus, naturally, you’ll need to clean and disinfect more often.
High-touch surfaces are the most important areas of your home to disinfect.
You can continue with your normal vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting schedule, but it’s advised to disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the week and whenever someone leaves or visits.
High-touch surfaces are any surface or object that gets touched multiple times a day, especially when getting back from running errands.
Some examples of high-touch surfaces include:
- Light switches
- Doorknobs or handles
- Remote controls and thermostats
- Desks and keyboards
- Tabletops and the tops of chairs
- Kitchen surfaces and countertops
- Bathroom surfaces
The CDC does recommend that these high-touch surfaces are disinfected on a daily basis if anyone in the home is considered high-risk or is either confirmed or suspected of being sick.
Don’t forget about electronics and your phone, especially if you’re using your phone while away from home. Disinfecting your car steering wheel, shifter, radio panel, and handles is also a very good idea after getting back home.
Know that we, at Tomasik Family Dental, are taking patient health seriously by practicing hospital-grade disinfecting practices.
Tomasik Family Dental is excited to announce our reopening as of May 11!
We want to reassure our patients that protecting their health is our primary concern. We’ve ramped up our already-stringent disinfection and cleaning policies and have trained our staff in CDC-recommended safety practices. We are confident in our team, and we look forward to seeing you and your family in our office soon.