WHY SANITIZING YOUR HOME IS IMPORTANT
Our homes are our safe haven, the place we go to relax, unwind, and spend time with friends and family. Unfortunately germs, bacteria and viruses are unwelcome visitors that enter our homes without invitation. Entering on our clothes, shoes, hands and other things we bring with us through the front door.
Keeping germs at bay will help prevent you from getting sick and stop the illness from spreading.
Viruses and bacteria such as coronavirus and other viruses that cause colds and flu are invisible to the naked eye.
This means that even though your home may look clean, surfaces can still be covered in germs. If you touch these surfaces with you hands and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth these germs enter your body.
Some viruses such as a coronavirus can live on surfaces for anything up to 72 hours. You could touch a door handle a full 24 hours after someone who was infected touched it and pick up the same virus.
With this in mind it’s easy to see why it’s so important to be vigilant in all areas including washing your hands regularly, limiting social contact and sanitizing key areas in your home.
Sanitizing your home and other disease prevention measures will also help stop other illnesses, keeping you more healthy in general, and reducing the demands on health services.
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What Does Sanitizing Accomplish
Sanitizing surfaces will kill any virus or bacteria that might be present and help prevent the spread of disease.
Sanitizing means that when you then touch that surface you are not picking up unwelcome and unseen guests on your hands that can be transferred to other surfaces or into your body.
This is particularly important if you have someone in your home that is sick or you believe you have been in contact with someone that is unwell.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing or disinfecting. Cleaning, when done effectively, will remove germs, and generally make the environment less hospitable, but it does not kill germs. Sanitizing, on the other hand, does kill germs providing you use the right cleaning solutions and use them correctly.
Tips on Sanitizing Your Home
When it comes to sanitizing your home it’s really important to follow the instructions, especially when it comes to the contact time. Simply spraying a surface and immediately wiping it off again may not give enough time for the product to kills the germs and lead to a false sense of security.
What can you use to sanitize your home?
To sanitize your home effectively you can use:
- Household disinfectants that are EPA registered, this may include disinfectant wipes, left on according to manufacturer instructions.
- A diluted household bleach solution at a strength of 1% left on for a minimum of 5 minutes.
- Rubbing alcohol of at least 70%. This is particularly good for keyboards, phones and other electronics that don’t like getting wet.
- Hydrogen Peroxide left on for 10-15 minutes.
Important things to note.
- If surfaces are visibly dirty you should clean them first with hot soapy water or the disinfectants will not work effectively.
- The contact time of 5, 10, 15 minutes is the amount of time your cleaning solution should be wet on the surface. If the surface air dries before this time give it a second wipe.
- Make sure you don’t spread germs after cleaning. Use disposable or washable cloths rather than sponges and put them directly in the washing machine after sanitizing, and make sure you disinfect your mop head.
Be careful when using cleaning products
Bleach and other disinfectants work to sanitize your home because they are harmful, not only to viruses and bacteria but to you as well.
Always wear gloves when preparing or using sanitizing solutions and try not to breath in the fumes.
Hydrogen Peroxide is considered safer than most cleaning products while still effective at killing viruses and bacteria, including coronavirus, on hard non-porous surfaces. You can use hydrogen peroxide to sanitize your toothbrush. 70% proof alcohol is another safe and effective option.
Areas to Sanitize in Your Home
In general, anywhere that gets a lot of traffic or is touched a lot should be a priority area when it comes to sanitizing your home. This includes all the surfaces you would normally think of when it comes to daily cleaning as well as few you might not.
High traffic areas and surfaces to disinfect daily
- Table tops, hard backed chairs and counter tops.
- Sinks, taps and faucets.
- Light switches and door knobs, including cupboard doors.
- Computer keyboards, TV remotes and buttons, phones, tablets and other electronic devices.
- Any changing mats and diaper bins if you have children in diapers.
- Fridge doors.
- Credit/Debit cards/
Other areas to consider when sanitizing.
Other items you might consider cleaning are toothbrushes and toothbrush holders, toys if you have children and bins. And don’t forget your car, as the surfaces in your car are likely to be the first ones you touch when you have been in high traffic areas outside your home.
As well as hard surfaces you can also get disinfectant sprays that will work on carpets and couches.
And while you are thinking about sanitizing you might want to think about the things you touch outside your home such as shopping carts, parking meters and playground equipment.
What if someone in your household is sick?
If someone in your household is sick you also need to make sure you are careful to sanitize eating utensils and any other shared items. The dishwasher on a high-temperature setting will be fine.
Washing sheets, clothing and bedding at as high a temperature as possible and washing your hands after loading the machine is also an important step in preventing the spread of the virus.
Clean Hands are Just as Important as a Clean House
You know the drill. Wash your hands with water and soap for 20 seconds. Hands should be washed before you go out and as soon as you get home. You should also wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and before touching your face. If someone in your household is sick you should wash your hands after being in contact with that person or anything that they have touched.