Coronavirus Rules: How to Clean Your Home


How to disinfect.

The coronavirus is now part of our lives. Cleaning your home is one thing you can do to fight the virus.

People are spraying and wiping what they see in their homes. Door knobs and faucet handles are primary targets for cleaning.

Are you cleaning your home the right way? Disinfectant wipes and spray cleaners have different instructions on their labels. A quick spray may not be enough time for the cleaning product you are using to work.

How long should a cleaner stay on a surface to kill germs? Different labels may suggest timing that ranges from 30 seconds to four minutes. Some may take as long as 10 minutes. Some labels say you should clean before using a disinfectant.

What is the right way to clean? What is the bottom line? Using some cleaners too fast may mean that the disinfectant does not have the time to do its job.

How long does a disinfectant need to stay on a surface to kill germs?

You may need to let your cleaning disinfectant stay on the surface longer than you think. An expert said, “I wait about a minute if I am applying a spray product and then wipe.”

For any cleaning product, read and pay attention to the label. Contamination can reach high levels in a home.

Some products may claim to sanitize. Sanitizing means the product will reduce the level of certain bacteria. But it may not reduce the level of viruses. A disinfectant product kills both the bacteria and viruses on the surface.

Even cleaners from the same brand may have different needed contact times. One bottle of Clorox bleach recommends five minutes of contact time. Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach advises only 30 seconds of contact. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes recommends four minutes of contact.

Different Lysol brand wipes recommend different contact times. The lavender scented Lysol wipe recommends 10 minutes of contact time. The lemon-lime scented Lysol wipe recommends four minutes of contact time.

Why does the label say clean a surface has to before using a disinfectant? Do I have to clean twice?

If crumbs, grime or spilled food cover your surface, the answer is yes. Clean away the debris and dirt before using a disinfectant. An expert said, “For a germicide to work, it has to touch the germs. If you have a layer of grime, the dirt can protect the bacteria. Cleaning has to come before disinfection.”

The label on my disinfectant wipes says I should use them for four minutes. Do I have to wipe that long?

You do not have to wipe for a full four minutes. The label includes the time it takes for the surface to dry. The most important thing is to cover the surface with the disinfectant wipe.

I often use one wipe to clean many surfaces. Should I use a new wipe each time so I do not spread germs?

You can use one wipe to clean more than one surface as long as the wipe remains wet. Most experts prefer not to mix surfaces in different rooms. For example, they would use one wipe on surfaces in a bathroom. They would not use that same wipe in the kitchen.

What is the best cleaner to get rid of the coronavirus?

The government has published a list of products expected to kill the virus (link to the list). They work against harder-to-kill viruses and other types of coronavirus.

Source: The New York Times May 13, 2020

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