Cleaning hacks to sanitise your home
Sanitise. One of the buzzwords of the pandemic. Homes need more than just fresh-fragranced detergent to remove dirt and germs from surfaces in this era of COVID-19. Since the pandemic, everyone disinfects with a vengeance to kill pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2 virus and all its variants.
Just an ordinary clean doesn’t remove all the germs; frequently touched spots in the home need complete chemical cleaning from top to bottom. You have to assume that whatever you touch is likely to be contaminated with the virus (or other nasty germs), from your keys to your spectacles and wallet and whatever products you bring back with you from the shop or work.
The following spots need special attention, says Pennmedicine.
- cupboard and drawer knobs;
- taps; kitchen and bathroom surfaces and sinks;
- toilet seat,
- handle and the whole bowl;
- oven and microwave handles;
- remote and game controls;
- cell phones,
- laptop/computer keyboards,
- mice and mobile devices;
- door handles;
- table surfaces;
- railings, and light switches and switch plates.
Because electronic devices are so close to our faces and hands all day (and great breeding grounds), experts suggest you use 70 percent alcohol sanitiser to clean screens and keyboards with care.
According to Henry Ford Health System, you should ditch your natural cleaning products because their effectiveness against COVID-19 has not been tested.
If you don’t have all the powerful chemical detergents, the CDC recommends that you mix five tablespoons of bleach with about 3.5 litres of water or four teaspoons of bleach with a litre of water.
When using extra-strength detergents, you should: open your windows and be careful when using them around soft furnishings such as discoloured bleach fabrics.
You should also use disposable gloves to prevent contact dermatitis and a mask sensitive to chemical fumes. If you’re using reusable gloves, you should sanitise them after use and hang out to dry in the sun.
Vigorous rubbing of surfaces and washing your hands with soap and water breaks down and kills germs. If you need to use your natural detergents, you can add vinegar to your soapy water to give it an extra germ-busting boost.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that you use products such as disinfecting wipes, including Dettol or other brand name wipes; disinfectant sprays with 70 percent alcohol content; isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
The EPA says that you have to let these products sit wet on the surface or furnishings or your products for 10 minutes so that it will kill 99 percent of all germs. Then let the solution air dry.
Cleaning detergents can be highly toxic, so the products must be safely stored after use and well out of reach of children.
Getting rid of the dust
Besides cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, it is essential to thoroughly vacuum your floors, mats, couches, mattresses and curtains at least once a week to keep it bed bugs, dust mite, bacteria, virus, fungus and pest free. And vacuum the floors at least every day.
You should consider sprinkling bicarbonate of soda and let it sit on your soft furnishings and floors for a few minutes before you vacuum. Bedding should be changed at least once a week, washed in a hot water cycle in your washing machine, and hung outside to dry.
Breathing in the fresh air in your home adds to protecting your family from airborne infections. If you have areas in your home prone to mildew and mould – fungi that grow in the dark, damp places – and which causes ear, nose, throat, lung, and skin problems, you have to get rid of it quickly.
Mouldy surfaces such as your ceilings and walls should be washed off with a strong mould killing solution or a mixture that you can make out of 1 part bleach, 1 part Handy Andy and 1 part of sunlight dishwasher in hot water or with sugar soap.
These solutions can be used to clean tiles and other surfaces in your bathroom and toilet where mould tends to grow.
Cleaning the Kitchen
The kitchen is the high traffic gathering place that everyone in the family uses night and day. The place where infections can transfer easily.
This is where you need that 20-second vigorous hand scrubbing routine, topped up with a squirt of sanitiser most of all before you touch any surface.
Because of its high traffic, this is where COVID-19 is likely to hang around for hours on surfaces such as copper and stainless steel utensils; taps, knobs, switches and handles; cardboard cereal boxes; tinned foods and plastic lunch boxes and bags that we use all the time.
Penn Medicine says you should use soapy detergents to clean all surfaces such as stoves, microwaves, cupboards, counters and then wipe them down with a solution of bleach and water.
You also have to ensure that before and after use, you use hot water to wash the following:
- Cutlery, crockery, utensils and glassware
- Washing up sponges, cloths, brushes and dishcloths and air dry.
You can also use your microwave for a minute or two on high to kill whatever pathogens and germs may be lurking in your clothes and sponges.
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