If you've found yourself cleaning and sanitizing your home even more meticulously during these recent days, raise your hand.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we're cleaning, wiping and disinfecting like crazy. It feels like nothing can ever be too clean. Door knobs to floors, it just doesn't seem like I can clean enough.
The stores in our area haven't even been able to keep Lysol or antibacterial cleaners in stock because so many people are concerned about the need to disinfect during these times.
But what many people may not realize is that germ killing chemicals are not the complete answer to keeping their spaces germ free. There's also a difference between sanitizing and disinfecting, yet both work hand in hand to give us a clean home that brings us comfort during this time of concern.
The first step to proper disinfecting of surfaces is to clean the area thoroughly first.
A good many household cleaners that are labeled "disinfectant" are deactivated when they come into contact with things such as food spills, plant matter or even animal excretion. So it's important to remember to wipe a spill, clean the area, and then disinfect it.
In fact, it's simply important to clean a surface with detergent or plain soap and water before sanitizing.
According to the CDC, "Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection." Cleaning dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting is the best method for properly removing pathogens.
We use soap and water as well Mrs. Meyer's All Purpose Cleaner to clean our surfaces. We signed up for a subscription box (which are still available) because their products are eco friendly and we can select the items we want to be included every month.
We also use Capri Essentials Lemon Verbena All Purpose Cleaner. It also has natural cleaning agents and uses essential oils.
Disinfecting is defined as the use of "chemicals, for example, EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection."
Cleaning and disinfecting agents work to kill many microorganisms when they're used as directed. That means waiting the required amount of time to wait after applying the product or it may not be killing what you think it is.
Below are a few EPA recommended disinfectants to "against certain blood borne/body fluid pathogens" that are classified as sterilizers when used according to the instructions. The ones we have included here are cleaners that still appear to be available for purchase, since many of the EPA recommended disinfectants are prioritized for hospitals as of the date of this article.
Clorox Commercial Solutions Tilex Soap Scum Remover
Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Clinging Bleach Gel
Lysol power toilet bowl cleaner
A full list of EPA approved disinfectants can be viewed here.
Summed up, cleaning before disinfecting will remove more germs effectively. When using a one step product, such as an all purpose cleaner, it's still important to follow up with a disinfectant. Disinfectants are best used as a reinforcement to cleaning using old fashioned soap and water to remove germs. They shouldn't be used as a replacement.
For tips on making your home spaces more cozy, visit here.