The best way to prevent the spread of disease in our homes is to practice good hygiene, including washing our hands and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces we touch. However, the misuse—and overuse—of household products like bleach can release harmful chemicals in our homes and can worsen conditions like Asthma or COPD. So what’s the best way to keep our homes clean AND minimize the use of chemicals? First, remember the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Download our COVID-19 Cleaning How To Guide
From the CDC:
- Cleaning removes germs from a surface. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but washes them away, just as we wash our hands with soap and running water.
- Disinfecting is the use of chemicals to kills germs on a surface after it has been cleaned. Disinfectants like sprays or wipes can only work properly if the surface has been cleaned and is not visibly dirty or moldy.
To clean without chemicals:
- Start by cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent. Use soap/detergent to clean your hands, clean yourself, clean your clothes, clean dishes and cookware, and clean any visibly dirty surface that you regularly touch.
- For tough-to-clean surfaces, use baking soda with a scrub brush or pad.
- To clean mold or mildew, use soap and water, OR try mixing equal parts water and distilled white vinegar to kill and remove. When done, rinse surface with clean water and wipe dry.
Once a surface is clean, it can be disinfected. Wear gloves when using disinfectant and wash your hands when done. Regularly disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, handrails, keyboards, handles, steering wheels, consoles and cell phones. Disinfectants known to kill Coronavirus include:*
- Isopropyl/rubbing alcohol with 70% – 91% alcohol (do not dilute). Apply thoroughly to surface with disposable paper towel or cloth and let dry completely.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – (do not dilute). Apply thoroughly to surface with disposable paper towel or cloth and let dry completely.
- Diluted Bleach Solution – To properly dilute bleach, add 5 Tablespoons (1/3 Cup) of bleach per Gallon of water OR 4 Teaspoons Bleach per Quart of water in a clearly marked container. Apply solution thoroughly to surface with a paper towel or rag, wait 6 minutes, then wipe away residue using clean water and let dry.
- Never mix bleach with anything other than water. Diluted bleach loses effectiveness after 24 hours, so mix only what you will use in 1 day.
What about other household spray cleaners like Lysol, Clorox, etc.?
- Use sparingly, avoid strong scented products, and always spray onto a cloth or paper towel and then wipe, in order to avoid putting more chemicals into the air – do not spray surface directly.
- Regardless of the product, ALWAYS make sure the area is well-ventilated, and follow the instructions on the label!
*See complete EPA list – www.epa.gov – “List N”
US EPA – https://www.epa.gov/asthma
Clark County Combined Health District – https://www.ccchd.com/ccchd/