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. 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!