TEXAS – While stores are restocking cleaning supplies, many Americans are left wondering how to effectively clean their homes without access to commercial products.
The CDC has released recommendations for households which may have someone sick with COVID-19, but several of these guidelines can be used in any household. It involves two parts, cleaning and then disinfecting.
Cleaning, according to the CDC, is the removal of germs and dirt from a surface and is usually done with soap and water. This doesn’t kill germs but can help remove them from an area.
The killing of the germs usually happens during the disinfecting process. According to the CDC, disinfecting is the use of chemicals to kill germs on a surface. They say though it’s important to disinfect after cleaning because this is the most effective way to lower the risk of infection.
According to Rutgers University, there are several items that you many already have at home that can help disinfect:
- Bleach – When diluted it can be used to disinfect against many viruses including the coronavirus. Follow any directions on bottle packaging but typically you can mix ¼ cup of bleach per gallon of cold water. Non-porous items (like small plastic toys) can be submerged in the diluted bleach solution for 30 seconds. If you’re using to clean surfaces, let bleach sit for 10 minutes or more before wiping away.
- Rubbing Alcohol – First check the concentration of alcohol solution you’re using. It needs to be around 70 percent to kill germs from the coronavirus, 60 percent if it’s being used as a hand sanitizer. The alcohol should be left on a surface for 30 seconds.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – This can be used as is and does not need to be diluted. Leave on surfaces for at least a minute before wiping away.
Additionally, the World Health Organization says chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces. It, however, did not list recommendations for the best ways to use as a disinfectant.
Here is a longer list of commercial products the EPA says can be used as disinfectants against the coronavirus and other illnesses.
What doesn’t work?
Soap and water are best for cleaning your hands but for cleaning surfaces they should be used in combination with a disinfecting product like the ones above.
According to Rutgers, natural cleaning chemicals like vinegar and tea tree oil are not recommended for fighting and killing the coronavirus.
Ammonia, a chemical found in some cleaners like Windex, is not a registered as a disinfectant by the EPA.
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The CDC says the best way to prevent the spread of disease is by hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.