Photograph by Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock
Recent months may have you obsessively scrubbing every surface in your home, but there’s a good chance your cleaning routine needs tidying up. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey revealed that one in three Americans reported using chemicals in an unsafe manner while trying to prevent COVID-19. Many of these practices, such as putting household disinfectants on bare skin or not using proper ventilation, can lead to adverse health effects like sinus irritations, burns, dizziness, nausea or lung damage. To safely declare war on germs, open the window, don rubber gloves and make a clean sweep with these tips from the CDC:
- Make a bleach solution. For a mixture that will effectively disinfect viruses for up to 24 hours, dilute one-third of a cup of bleach in one gallon of water or four teaspoons of bleach in one quart of water. Use bleach that contains 5.25- to 8.25-percent sodium hypochlorite and room temperature water, as hot water can increase irritating bleach fumes and break down the chemicals more quickly. Never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar.
- Clean before disinfecting. Though it may seem like overkill to “clean twice,” a germicide must touch the germs in order to work. If your surfaces are heavily soiled, start by removing any dirt, grime and spills that may be covering those bacteria.
- Allow disinfectants adequate time. From 30 seconds to 10 minutes, disinfectants require specific contact times to kill bacteria and viruses (for bleach, it’s one minute). Read labels carefully, and don’t swipe away sprays too quickly. Be sure disposable wipes deposit liquid on surfaces and replace them as soon as they begin to dry out.