There is so much confusion out there about cleaning vs. disinfecting your home, here is a comprehensive look at how to clean THEN disinfect your home.
My husband, Bodhi and I have been doing live Instagram videos on a number of health and wellness topics. Last Friday I gave an informative talk on the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, you can watch here.
If you know me, you know I am a clean freak, and you know I write a lot about cleaning here on The Eco Hub. Now more than ever we need to be a little more vigilant about how we clean our homes.
The CDC has a ton of recommendations as to how to clean your home during this pandemic. I’ve broken down all the info to make it easier for people to digest.
Here is a loose transcript of what you will see in the video above:
CLEANING – this is things like dusting, mopping, vacuuming, wiping countertops. This is normally surface cleaning, to make the home look better. Cleaning removes dirt, grime and even some germs.
DISINFECTING- is where we are using cleaning products, heat, or chemicals to kill germs and microorganisms, bacteria on surfaces.
There are two types of disinfectants, industrial-grade that are used in schools and hospitals and then there are the ones we use and buy for our homes.
Let’s start with cleaning, with regular cleaning, as we all do, the products you are buying are just fine, but honestly, soap and water works well too— to clean surfaces, cupboards, the inside of your fridge etc.
When I clean my home, I use a DIY All Purpose cleaner that is made up of:
2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of dish soap
5-10 drops of EO – tea tree, lavender, thyme
SO WHEN SHOULD WE BE DISINFECTING?
• if you are preparing meat on a cutting board, sink, knives etc. these items will need to be disinfected
• and of course, the bathroom is the other area where you want to make sure your are disinfecting regularly -there is more bacteria in there
• and if you have sick people in the home, you want to make sure you are disinfecting your home
HOW DO WE DISINFECT OUR HOMES?
• you want to clean first then disinfect
• let’s say you have a spill of blood from chicken, you want to clean it first, then you would disinfect the area afterwards
• use soap and water then use the disinfectant
• when you use a disinfectant your need to let it sit for at least 5 minutes – you gotta let it do what its supposed to do
• baby wipes and makeup wipes do not disinfect
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DISINFECT?
• Anything that you and your family touch in the home all the time – points of contact
• Door knobs, light switches, the handle of the fridge, stove handle, toilet handles, electronics, remote controls. you name it.
• In the bathroom- rugs, shower curtains, towels etc. , basically hard and soft surfaces
• laundry – use the setting that allows for the hottest water – this is a good way to kill bacteria
• you can add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide or a cup or an oxygen bleach powder – these are not official disinfectants, but they will help
BLEACH – is a disinfectant, it does not clean – BUT I don’t like to use this in my home. It’s highly costic- and can harm your lungs, it comes with a ton of warnings on the bottle and I also just can’t stand the smell! it also has to be left on the area for at least 10 minutes (mixed with water).
Steam cleaning is a great way to kill rid of bacteria, in fact this is the best way to kill bacteria in the home.
Vinegar is not a disinfect – its great for cleaning the home, but it is not a disinfectant
Hydrogen Peroxide is a much better option
THE CDC says: Hydrogen peroxide is active against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide on anything made of:
Plastic that is porous
You can use HP on its own – clean the surface then spray, make sure its area is wet and saturated – that’s why wipes are always so drenched in liquid – then that needs to sit for at least 5 minutes
I like to use a disinfect that has a nice smell, for this DIY recipe you can use:
1 cup of hydrogen peroxide
2 cups of water
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. (Lemon essential oil can be used here too.)
Mix together with a little shake
Spray down surfaces and let it sit for a 5 minutes
The EPA warns that the overuse of disinfectants is a growing public health concern—and that you should only use them when you absolutely need to, for that specific task. “Studies have found that the use of some disinfectant products is creating microbes that can mutate into forms that are resistant to particular disinfectants or that become superbugs,” according to an EPA fact sheet. “These resistant germs are also harder to kill with antibiotics.”
Hand washing – With proper washing, soap works well on most viruses, even better than disinfectants, wipes and gels containing alcohol, because soap dissolves the virus’s fat membrane.E
Leave your shoes at the door
Leave shoes at the door and keep out 80 percent of the nastiness they track in, like road sealant, pesticides, lead, and dust.
I really hope this video helps clear up a few things for you, please let me know in the comments if you have any questions at all.