How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus
In the time of Coronavirus, the everyday clean is not going to cut it – disinfection is the key. This means even the deeper clean we tend to leave until someone is paying us a visit needs an uplift. Fortunately, with bleach, rubbing alcohol, soap, hot water, and some old fashioned elbow grease, you can keep your home disinfected in the time of COVID-19. In this post, cqc home we will show you exactly how to do this.
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Cleaning refers to removing things like dirt, some germs, and other impurities found on surfaces. When we clean, we do not actually kill germs, we merely remove them. This does lower the risk of infection by reducing their numbers and the chances of people touching them. However, disinfecting goes further and is better in the fight against coronavirus. When something is disinfected, a chemical has been used to kill the germs as we clean. We may not get all of the germs even with disinfectant, but we reduce their numbers further by killing them on key surfaces.
What are the best disinfectants to fight Coronavirus?
When it comes to disinfecting surfaces against COVID-19, bleach is best. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CPC) recommends that this should be at least 1000ppm of sodium hypochlorite. In simpler terms that equates to around 1/3rd of a cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Bleach can also go out of date and lose its disinfectant properties. As such, it is important to check that what you have in the cupboard is not past its sell-by date.
If no bleach is available in the shops, you can also use rubbing alcohol (sometimes called ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol) so long as it is at least 70% proof. This will typically come ready-mixed and should not be diluted further. Moreover, it is important to note that these 2 products should NOT both be used together as this causes a chemical reaction that is dangerous and deadly. The CPC also provides a list of EPA-approved household disinfectants that have so far been approved for safe use against COVID-19.
As such, the main types of disinfectants for use against the coronavirus are:
- Bleach – minimum of 1000 parts per million.
- Rubbing alcohol – a minimum of 70% proof.
- EPA-approved Disinfectants – check out the regularly updated ‘List N’ of disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.
To properly disinfect surfaces you should clean them first with soap and hot water. You should then use either bleach, rubbing alcohol, or an EPA-approved cleaning product to disinfect the surface. The disinfectant should also be left on the surface for at least 10 minutes before you wipe it off.
What surfaces should you clean?
Anywhere that is likely to be touched, with regular focus placed on the high-touch points. If we think about the home, that’s a whole lot of places. Light switches, door handles, toilet seats, toilet flushes, bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, faucets, and banisters should all be cleaned at least once daily. You should also try and mop the floor regularly. If someone in your household is presenting with symptoms, then you will want to step up this cleaning regime if they are not able to fully isolate within the home.
The National Institutes of Health have published a study showing the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for days at a time. This varies from 3 hours in aerosols, 4 hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 3 days on stainless steel and plastics. This goes to show, that the key surface we need to remember when disinfecting surfaces is our own hands. Regularly disinfecting surfaces and washing hands was found to protect against infection by reducing the risk of exposure.
How do you disinfect your clothes?
With the advances made by washing machines in the last decade or so, cleaning clothes has been easier to do at lower temperatures. This reduces energy use, which is great in normal times. However, these aren’t normal times and it is better to whack that washing machine back up on high. With airplanes grounded across the globe, this is more than compensated against so you can do it with a clear conscience.
Use your washer’s hot setting (and avoid wearing delicates that won’t cope with a wash on high) and stick it in the drier. This is particularly important if someone has symptoms in your household and you are doing their washing. You also need to consider the hamper as one of those high-risk surfaces that will need to be disinfected. Always wash your hands after putting a load in the washing machine too.
Soap, hot water, bleach OR (not and) rubbing alcohol are all your friends when it comes to disinfecting your house in the time of coronavirus. Clean your surfaces regularly and follow this up with at least 10 minutes with a disinfectant for the best defenses. And remember, keep washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds regularly to help stay safe against COVID-19.