Not sure how to properly disinfect your home in the wake of Coronavirus? We’ve got you covered! We’ve gathered some great information from Good Housekeeping and the CDC to help you figure out what can be used, what can’t, and what you should be cleaning.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)has compiled a list of products that while not specifically tested on the brand-new version of the virus that causes Coronavirus (COVID-19), have been proven effective on similar or harder-to-kill viruses. These products use a variety of different ingredients, so be sure to use them exactly as the label directs. These products include:
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
- Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach
- Lysol Disinfectant Spray
- Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach
- Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Hydrogen Peroxide
- Purell Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray
Know that sanitizing is not the same as disinfecting. Sanitizing (reducing the number of germs) usually takes less time — sometimes just 30 or 60 seconds — while disinfecting (killing those germs) can take anywhere up to 10 minutes, depending on the product.
Check the label for how long hard, non-porous surfaces must stay wet for the most effective germ killing. Because liquids evaporate, this may require you to apply the product multiple times.
No product can adequately sanitize or disinfect a dirty surface, so make sure you clean — even with plain soap and water — before you disinfect.
What should you clean?
Countertops, appliances, cupboards and cabinets, knobs and handles, drawers
- Other areas of the house both experts say should get a good cleaning include those often touched such as:
- remote controls
- game controllers
- keyboards and computer mice
- cell phones and landlines
- light switches and switch plates
- door knobs and doors
- staircase railings
Does hydrogen peroxide kill viruses and bacteria?
According to the CDC, hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant against a wide variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, when used on hard, non-porous surfaces. Typically sold in 3% solutions, hydrogen peroxide can be used as is, directly from the bottle. It’s best to keep it away from fabrics when cleaning and to wear gloves to protect your hands.
To use: Spray or wipe it on the surface, allowing it to remain wet for at least one minute before wiping.
Will alcohol disinfect surfaces?
Isopropyl alcohol is an effective disinfectant against many pathogens, including coronavirus, as long as the concentration is 70%. Most rubbing alcohols are 70% isopropyl alcohol, but concentrations can range from 60-99%. For killing coronavirus quickly on surfaces, 70% is best — pure (100%) alcohol evaporates too quickly to be effective.
To use:Wipe or spray the surface with the alcohol and make sure it remains wet for at least 30 seconds.
Can vinegar kill germs?
No. According to the CDC, vinegar (or vinegar-based alternative cleaning products) should not be used to disinfect or sanitize.Vinegar-containing cleaning products can be a good in some instances, but vinegar is not registered with the EPA as a disinfectant and is ineffective against most bacteria and viruses – it does notkill the flu or coronavirus. Undiluted white vinegar may work on some limited types of bacteria, but it’s not the best way to get surfaces germ-free. (Besides, coronavirus is a virus, not a bacteria.)
What else you should know about cleaning your home?
- Regular soap and water cleans germs away and cuts down the quantity of germs, which also reduces the chance of infection. But to actually kill germs, you also must sanitize or disinfect surfaces after cleaning them.
- Never combine disinfecting or any cleaning products and open the window or ventilate a room if fumes become bothersome.
- Soft surfaces are porousand will never fully reach the level of germ kill required to be fully disinfected. Some antibacterial sprays can sanitize soft surfaces, like pillows and plush toys.
- Test surfaces for safetyin a hidden spot before using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any disinfectant on a surface, especially a delicate one. On food contact surfaces, rinse with clear water and dry after disinfecting, unless the product label specifically says it’s not necessary.