In the time of COVID-19, we are all thinking a bit more than ever before about how to clean and disinfect items, our spaces, and ourselves.
Of course, we all think we know how to do it right. Use a cleaner and wipe things down and repeat, repeat, repeat. If you have not been sick this year from anything, you may think you have it all figured out.
However, it’s more likely than not that you are making numerous disinfecting mistakes along the way and that you are doing so on a regular basis. There are a number of common disinfecting mistakes that many people make, so you are not alone. However, with a little effort and a bit of new knowledge, you can avoid these mistakes and can learn how to disinfect things in an effective way.
Read on to learn about some of the most common disinfecting mistakes people make and to find out proper disinfecting methods to keep you and those who you love safe and healthy this fall and winter and beyond.
1. Using a Weak Solution
One of the most common mistakes when it comes to disinfecting a home, office, or other space is the use of an ineffective solution.
Soap and water is great for cleaning, but it doesn’t hit the mark when it comes to actual disinfecting. Other people believe that if it is a cleaning product and comes in a squirt bottle, then it must be something that can be used to disinfect surfaces and various items.
Further, although we all want to use eco-friendly products whenever possible, many of the sustainable-focused cleaning items on the market today do not contain the right ingredients to adequately disinfect.
When shopping for a product to help you disinfect your space, you need to look for a strong solution. The product you choose must have a high percentage of alcohol or bleach to do the trick. If you plan to use homemade disinfectant or sanitzier solution, it’s crucial that you follow instructions perfectly to ensure that the solution you make will be effective.
If the product you buy or make is alcohol based, you’ll need it to be 60 to 99 percent pure for safe results. Bleach-based solutions should have a sodium hypochlorite concentration of five or six percent.
2. Mixing Disinfectants
This is the most important top on this list. Do not, ever, under any circumstances mix disinfectant solutions together. Although at some point in our lives we have all learned about the dangers of mixing bleach and ammonia, but when we get into the swing of cleaning, it’s easy to forget. A mistake like this could be deadly, so it’s crucial that you never, ever make this terrible mistake.
Another dangerous combination is a merger between vinegar and bleach. These two items combine to create a noxious gas that can permanently hurt your eyes, respiratory system, and nervous system.
Even when we read labels, it’s almost impossible to understand with confidence the lengthy names of various chemicals, so it’s therefore impossible to know what concoctions will be safe verses which will be dangerous. It’s better not to do any combining of any type at all.
3. Forgetting to Clean First
Many people confuse cleaning and disinfecting, and many more believe them to be the same thing. The fact of the matter is that they are two different processes, and you will need to do them both for safest results and to know for sure that your space is safe for you and your loved ones.
Your home may not look dirty, so you may be tempted to dive right into using your disinfecting products. However, doing a pre-cleaning can make a big difference. Wipe down everything you can with a rag and with soap and hot water first. Then, after that step is complete, you can make a second pass with disinfectant cleaner.
Cleaning first is helpful because it helps remove dirt and other grime that may offer a safe harbor for viruses and bacteria. By removing this layer first, you will better be able to reach and remove the tiny creatures that could make you sick.
Few people love to clean, but during the time of COVID-19 (https://www.ctr-nw.com/covid-disinfecting/), it’s crucial that we don’t rush through the cleaning and disinfecting process. Being quick and sloppy could lead to you or someone you love getting sick down the road.
Fortunately, it’s possible to clean quickly and thoroughly if you make a plan and know what you’re doing. The first time you disinfect a room will take the longest amount of time. After that, you know what needs to be done and how to do it and you will be able to move a little faster. However, don’t skip any areas and remember why you are doing this in the first place.
Furthermore, you can’t simply spray disinfectant and then wipe it off immediately. Many products require some “dwell time.” This means you have to let the product sit for a bit on the surface or product you are disinfecting for best results. Always read the directions on the bottle and follow them.
5. Failing to Wash Your Hands
When cleaning your home, it’s easy to forget to keep yourself clean, too. Wash your hands before you begin and remember to return to the sink as you complete each room to do it again. This way you can be sure that you are not accidentally transporting anything from one room to another. When you’re done with everything, be sure to wash your hands again before going back to other activities and especially before preparing or consuming any food.
Don’t rush this step. Remember, there’s a right way to wash your hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should wet your hands and apply soap, lather and scrub for at least twenty seconds, and then rinse. Then, dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry.
Washing your hands takes less than a minute and it is necessary when disinfecting your space.
6. Not Wearing Gloves
Another way to protect yourself when disinfecting a space is to wear gloves while you clean and disinfect. Many people skip this step, but it’s wise to wear gloves if you have them.
Because you will be using products with a high alcohol or bleach content, wearing gloves can protect your hands from these harsh chemicals. Both alcohol and bleach can dry out your skin very quickly, and furthermore, they can enter your body through your pores.
When using disinfectants, be sure you protect your hands. When you’re done, throw disposable gloves away. If you choose to use reusable gloves, be sure to clean and disinfect them as well.
7. Trying to Disinfect Food Items
We want everything we touch and use to be disinfected for safety, but one thing you should never disinfect is food. Bleach and isopropyl alcohol are both poisonous and should not be consumed even in small amounts. If you eat or drink something with bleach or isopropyl alcohol in it, you could become very, very ill.
Therefore, it’s best to keep these products clearly labeled and as far away from the food you eat as possible. It may be tempting to spray your produce with a bleach solution, but don’t do it – it’s a terrible idea. If bleach or alcohol is accidentally consumed, call 911 or the national Poison Control hotline (1-800-222-1222) right away.
8. Not Doing It Often Enough
After doing a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of your space you may think that you are done for quite a while. However, in the fall and winter and especially during COVID-19, that’s not really true. In order to combat the bacteria and viruses that might get you sick, you need to stay on top of this process and do it again and again on a regular basis.
How regular is regular? Sorry to say, but in times like these, it’s best to clean and disinfect all high traffic areas on a daily basis. Rooms and areas you use less frequently may need it a bit less – like two or three times a week – but again, if you want to stay on top of your healthy and safety, the more often you do it, the better.
9. Trying to Do It All at Once
However, with that said, if you try to clean and disinfect your entire space every single day, you won’t have time for anything else, you will soon become exhausted, and you will likely give up the whole thing after a short time.
Create a schedule you can stick to and enlist help from your family members at home or from your co-workers at work. Focus on the details like light switches, door knobs, countertops, toilet handles, and remote controls and then branch out from there. With a little help and a lot of drive, you can keep your space safe and disinfected with success.
Disinfecting Is an Art
Now that you know all of these common mistakes when it comes to disinfecting, you know what not to do when it comes to making your home, office, or other space safe for you, your family, your friends, and your colleagues. It’s likely that after reading this post you are inspired to get started, so why not dive right in? Get cleaning and disinfecting and you’ll be glad that you did. Here’s to staying happy and healthy this fall and winter and beyond!
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