Are You Disinfecting Properly?
There has been a lot of discussions right now about disinfecting. Disinfecting countertops, shopping carts, doorknobs, cell phones, etc. The question is, are you properly disinfecting? Often people think that they spray, wipe down and it is instantly clean a.k.a. disinfected. Some people say if it smells clean, then it must be clean. At times of uncertainty like now, it is very important that we properly disinfect. COVID-19 (as well as other viruses and superbugs) is the invisible enemy. You must be vigilant in your cleaning; especially high touch areas and you need to make sure you are disinfecting accordingly. Studies show that COVID-19 can last on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours (3 days on plastic, two days on stainless steel and one day on cardboard). The most recent report from the CDC shows that traces of COVID-19 were found on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in cabins that had symptomatic and asymptomatic people more than two weeks after the cabins were vacated. These recent studies confirm why proper cleaning and disinfecting of your home are of the utmost importance.
In our home, we always wash our hands as soon as we come in from being out and about doing errands, at work or school. Washing your hands before putting your groceries away, unpacking your school bag or pouring yourself a cup of water is a great way to control the amount germs that get into your home. Think of all thing things you have may have touched outside the home (shopping cart, keypad at the register check out, gas pump) and what you are taking inside with you. Proper hand washing for at least 20 seconds, some are even recommending 30 seconds, as soon as you come home is important as it helps prevent the spread of any unseen germs in your house.
Before you disinfect, you need to clean the surface ensuring you remove the biofilms. Some biofilms are visible such as the red buildup in your bathroom tub, but others you cannot see. Biofilms are slimy films comprised of bacteria, fungi and other organisms that act as a glue, holding themselves together (imagine one big group hug), allowing them to stick to surfaces. Bacteria and microorganisms can grow more easily with the presence of biofilms. Additionally, the disinfectant cannot work with optimal effectiveness if you don’t remove biofilms. In other words, use a bit of elbow grease and clean your area before you use disinfectant (especially now that disinfectants are in short supply). You can use dish soap and water or an all-purpose cleaner for this initial step. CLICK HERE for an excellent video by Cory Chalmers, President of Steri-Clean, Inc.® showing you the proper way to clean a surface. We recommend everyone watch this video as it shows the risks of disinfecting without cleaning first!
Now let’s get back to disinfecting your home. It is important to focus on high touch areas such as doorknobs, light switches, faucets, countertops, refrigerator handles and oven/stove knobs, toilets, remote controls, cell phones and even the keyboard on your computer. Before you start your cleaning frenzy, read the instructions on your cleaner to make sure you allow the product to do its job. If you don’t allow it to have the proper dwell time, then the disinfectant you are using is not working at 100%. As for what kind of disinfectant is approved to rid your home of COVID-19, click here to see a list of hundreds of EPA approved disinfectants. During this dwell time, the surface that you are cleaning must stay wet for the disinfectant to properly kill the microorganisms. If you are disinfecting vertical areas (such as refrigerator handles) you may need to reapply the disinfectant. After it dwells for the appropriate amount of time, you can then wipe down your surface.
When it comes to electronics, such as your cell phone or a remote control, you need to be a bit more careful. You don’t want to directly spray your device with a disinfectant. Spraying a paper towel with at least 60% isopropyl alcohol and then wiping your phone down works well. If you are lucky enough to have picked up some sanitizing wipes, those can be used too. You can also use wipes on the keyboard of your computer, after you turn off your computer and unplug it. Also, don’t press the keyboard buttons too hard! When cleaning your electronics, make sure you do not use bleach and your paper towel or rag is not too damp. Apple users, click here for more detailed information on cleaning your iPhone and other Apple products.
When life goes back to some form of normalcy, and kids are back at school, you go back to socializing, working out and going to the office, don’t forget to continue to disinfect properly. There are a lot of microorganisms out there that can set you back a bit, but let us not “dwell” on that fact right now.
Stay well and stay HEALTHY!
Steri-Clean of Southern Florida
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