How to Disinfect Your Home
Updated: Dec 27, 2022
Let’s face it: There may be any number of reasons to clean your house. You may be recovering from a bed bug infestation, or fleas; perhaps mites or ticks, or maybe even lice.
On the other hand, you may be trying to clean up in the aftermath of severe flooding or a hurricane. But even a burst water pipe in a house can be devastating, especially if it’s in a basement where most appliances- such as furnaces, washing machines and dryers, or electrical panels- are located.
Then, of course, we have our most current health issue: COVID-19. At the height of the pandemic, people who have respiratory conditions like Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, COPD even people in the early stages of Mesothelioma, are more prone to getting infected by the virus. Preventative measures should be followed and disinfecting your home is the best way to protect yourself! For many people, health care centers and businesses, disinfecting has become a matter of life and death, not just the realm of neat-freaks and hospitals. Ending this pandemic requires that every one of us take care to wash our hands, pour on the alco-gel and - if we’ve been exposed - to thoroughly disinfect. You can get more tips on how to disinfect against COVID-19 here.
Whatever you face, you obviously need to do as good a job as you can. After all, the health of you and your family depend on how meticulous and thorough your clean-up is.
But a question remains: Are you disinfecting your house thoroughly, or are you merely surface cleaning?
Are You Disinfecting or Just Cleaning Up?
It’s an odd question, to be sure. But there is a distinction between the two, and it can mean the difference between a house that merely looks clean, as opposed to one that is truly free of contamination.
While your home may appear to be spotless after you’ve run around wiping down countertops, stoves, sinks, and light switches- as well as mopping floors and cleaning out sinks- it probably isn’t. In fact, there’s a very good chance that it still harbors microbes that could threaten you and your family. As we pointed out in a previous blog about disinfectants:
“Generally speaking, disinfectants are designed to kill bacteria as quickly as possible,
which is why they’re used so often in hospitals and other health care facilities. And
disinfectants don’t just kill bacteria. They are also often extremely effective in
eliminating viruses, fungi, mold or mildews on surfaces and inanimate objects.”
There are a wide variety of disinfectants on the market: alcohols, quaternary ammonium compounds, phenolic compounds, chlorine compounds, aldehydes, and hydrogen peroxide. Some are highly toxic; others less so. Which means that you have to be especially careful to select the one that best meets your needs, and can be used safely.
You can find tips here about which disinfectant to choose.
Where do You Start Cleaning Your Home?
Do you start your cleaning mission in the basement (if you have one) and work your way up to the bedrooms or the attic (again, if you have one)? Or do you work the other way: top down? Actually, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re meticulous and thorough in your efforts.
Disinfecting the Living Room
So, let’s start with the living room, where we all tend to gather and spend most of our time. I usually begin with the hard surfaces, spraying, then wiping down end tables, coffee tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc, all of which quickly become contaminated because of the germs we retain on our hands. And by the way, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water as many times as is practical. According the CDC:
“Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most
situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an
alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if
the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.”
Oh yes, and don’t forget to clean off your phones, remotes, laptops, and keyboards. They make for great bacterium repositories.
You should spray these hard surfaces with enough disinfectant so that they remain wet until they dry naturally. That should eradicate all the germs that are present. Failing that, wait at least 10 seconds before wiping down the sprayed surface. And don’t forget those often-overlooked items, such as window frames, door joists, book shelves, CD/DVD racks (if you’re old-fashioned enough not to have moved on to Netflix and Spotify), TV knobs, etc.
Finally, you will have to see to the soft surfaced items like couches and settees, chairs, pillows, and drapes. If you select Sterifab® as your disinfectant (and we think you should), you’ll find that it not only kills a wide variety of pests ̶ such as bed bugs, ticks, fleas, mites, roaches, to mention just a few ̶ but is also the only EPA-approved product that can be used safely on fabrics and carpets. It won’t stain, and has no added perfume or unpleasant odor. Plus, it’s fast-drying, completely clear and is one of the few non-residual products labeled for use on mattresses and upholstered furniture.
Cleaning the Kitchen
There was a time when the kitchen was the most densely-populated room in a house. It was where everyone tended to gather. The living room (or ‘parlor’, as it was then called) was reserved for special occasions, such as entertaining guests or receiving ‘important’ local individuals. Days long gone, but the kitchen does need special attention.
Why special attention? Because kitchen surfaces can hide both food-borne bacteria as well as the viral pathogens that adhere to our hands and clothes. So never skimp on the disinfectant when it comes to the kitchen! You should treat every light fixture, cabinet, and appliance you have, including the stove, the microwave, as well as the refrigerator, freezer, toaster, and food preparation surfaces. The interior of your dishwasher can take care of itself (since it generates temperatures that will kill virtually all bacteria and viruses), but remember to clean the exterior.
Also add the sink, draining boards, and connected devices, such as sprayers, to your list of ‘must-clean’ items. In addition to getting rid of all the pathogens that might be hiding out in your kitchen, a good disinfectant will also destroy such bacterial hazards such as salmonella, listeria, E. coli, and mold.
Quick word of warning: Never use a disinfectant ̶ and that includes Sterifab- on any kitchen utensils. Stove tops, yes. Pots, pans, dishes and cutlery, no!
How to Disinfect the Bathroom
This may not be the most patronized room in the house, but it certainly needs as much attention- maybe more- as the kitchen. The reasons should be obvious, which is why you should clean and disinfect all the hard surfaces, including showers, toilets, counter tops, door handles, light switches and window sills. You should also make sure that towels and bathmats are washed regularly. Not only should fresh hand towels be available each day, but if you have the time and room it might be a good idea to assign separate towels and sponges to each member of the family.
In fact, the hard surfaces of a bathroom should really be disinfected at least twice a day ̶ more if you have a large family. One of those items should include the toilet bowl, to which you should pay special; attention. Sterifab, or your disinfectant of choice, can be used on its other surfaces, but it is best to us a heavy-duty toilet cleaner on the inside of the bowl.
Oh yes, and don’t forget the shower curtain. Most inner curtains are made of some sort of waterproof material (usually plastic), but don’t forget the outer, usually cloth, curtain. Again, you can safely use Sterifab on this.
Cleaning the Bedrooms
As we all know, we spend more time in our bedrooms than any other room we encounter. A third of our lives, if we are to believe the statisticians!
In addition to the hard surfaces ̶ alarm clocks, bed-side tables, light fixtures, dresser drawers, etc ̶ you should also give some thought to treating bed linens, pillows, and the clothing hanging in your closet.
Again, you should be careful which disinfectant you use on the soft items. Again, Sterifab is particularly useful in this instance, since it can be safely used on linens, pillows, carpets, and upholstery. It won’t stain and it doesn’t have any added perfumes or scents.
Of course, you can throw your bed linens into the wash; just make sure that you use the highest possible water temperature you can ̶ and put the dryer on high.
Don’t Miss a Spot...How to Clean All the Other Places
We do keep saying ‘don’t forget about . . .’, but we all have a tendency to overlook things when we clean around the house. Particularly in a world of COVID-19, it’s important to remember those often overlooked places as well.
So, here are a few items you might want to add to your list of places and things to disinfect:
Your car: the control panel, steering wheel, radio controls, door handles, seats, headrests, and the contents of the trunk, e.g., jacks, tools, etc.
The basement: your tools, garden implements, machines (hedgers, weed-whackers, mowers, seeders, etc), and your washer and dryer, if you keep them down there.
The attic: whatever it is you have squirreled away up there!
The garage: door handles, oil cans, door openers, antifreeze containers, and anything else you happen to store there.
A Sterifab Reminder
Since its first introduction over 50 years ago, Sterifab has been the disinfectant of choice for a wide variety of institutions, organizations and facilities ̶ as well as homes. It’s specifically designed to destroy micr-organisms; kill fungus, germs, and viruses; eradicate mold and mildew; and destroy pathogenic odors
Sterifab not only reduces the level of microorganisms from a variety of sites, but also functions as a bacteriostatic (inhibiting bacterial growth) and as a highly effective fungistatic, preventing otherwise hard-to-control fungal growth.