Now more than ever with the COVID-19 virus circulating globally, it is extremely important to implement best practices for cleaning any space that you come into regular contact with. It might be a little confusing to know which products to use and what the best methods are, so let’s take a walk through the basics to get a good foundational understanding of how to adequately clean your regular surroundings.
Where you should focus.
Your biggest question may be this: where exactly are the most important places to clean at home or work?
Any high contact surface should be the top priority. Specific examples are your cell phone, door knobs, toilet flushers, elevator buttons, and basically anywhere else that receives a consistent amount of human contact. Studies have suggested that it is indeed possible for the COVID-19 virus to remain a threat on any surface ranging from a period of only a few hours to even a few days, so focusing on high contact surfaces could help substantially with prevention efforts. Visit the NSW health site for a longer list.
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Detergents vs. Disinfectants
Next, you might be thinking: so what’s the difference between detergents and disinfectants and do I have to use both to effectively eliminate any viruses or bacteria?
The short answer is there is a big difference and yes, you must use both.
A detergent is a compound, such as liquid soap, bleach or ammonia, whose main function is to break down dirt, dust buildup or residue, germs or any other surface impurities. By mixing a detergent with water and cleaning the targeted surface, you are breaking down this buildup but not necessarily killing the viruses or bacteria. This is the job of the disinfectant.
Disinfectant is a chemical-based solution that can kill viruses and bacteria, lowering the risk of infection and contamination. So while it does not suffice as a surface cleaner, it does indeed do the dirty work of killing off any threatening viruses and bacteria and is especially effective when used in combination with a detergent (note that they must be used separately, which we will address later on in more detail).
So basically, the detergent is what cleans surfaces, but the disinfectant is what can actually kill the COVID-19 virus, or any other virus for that matter, as well as bacteria.
Effective Household Disinfectants and How to Use Them
You may already have some household disinfectants in your collection of home cleaning products, such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, but we are going to walk you through some additional ones that can really get the job done.
Here’s our list based on a product search we did at the Australian Government Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website:
- Morning Fresh Surface Disinfectant – this powerful disinfectant comes in both citrus and lavender scents and comes as a disinfecting spray.
- Glen 20 Pure Disinfectant Mist – this product is a hospital grade option that comes in “fresh waters” and “morning breeze” scents as a disinfecting spray.
- BioProtect Ultimate Multi-Purpose Disinfectant – this is a commercial grade household disinfectant that does an excellent job of eliminating household viruses and bacteria and also comes as a disinfecting spray.
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes – this product comes in the form of solution-based wipes that makes surface disinfecting quite simple and is extremely effective against killing viruses and bacteria.
There are various household disinfectant options and, therefore, various ways to use them. It’s extremely important to follow the instructions carefully and below are a few extra tips for how to use them safely:
Always use a cleaning product first to remove the dirt, dust, and other impurities, then apply a disinfectant afterwards once the surface has fully dried. This is the best way to ensure that not only is the surface clean, but also fully sanitized as a result of the properties of the disinfectant chemicals.
Always wear protective gloves and, if possible, a mask when handling any disinfectant product. Remember, disinfectants are chemical solutions that have strong properties and they can irritate the skin or the lungs if misused.
When using a liquid disinfectant, be sure to dilute it properly. It will always depend on what form of disinfectant you’re using, but when using a liquid form always be sure to dilute it with enough water. For liquid solutions it is especially important to follow the dilution instructions.
Never combine disinfectants with any other product. When working with powerful chemicals, it is extremely important to ensure that you do not mix them with any other chemical because it could produce a dangerous chemical reaction. Inhaling the fumes could be fatal.
Always wash your hands after using a disinfectant. Regardless of whether you use gloves or other protective gear, always wash your hands afterwards. These chemicals are harsh and can cause severe eye or skin irritation if there is any contact.
We hope this gives you a helpful overview of which products to use and how to best use them. Give us a shout if we can answer any questions you might still have lingering.