A person cleaning and disinfecting a household surfaces during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

Cleaning and Disinfecting: The Importance of Both During COVID-19

Apr 15 2020
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Hand washing is one of the best ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of illnesses like COVID-19. But what about the items in our homes that we touch? Surfaces can also carry germs, and these germs can survive on them for long periods of time. Therefore, it is important to clean and disinfect your home on a regular basis.

Learn about the places you should be cleaning and disinfecting. But first, let’s start out with the difference between the two.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cleaning means removing germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces using soap and water. Cleaning does not kill germs. Instead, it reduces the number of germs that live on a surface.

Disinfecting involves using chemicals, such as EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. Disinfecting alone doesn’t necessarily clean a surface or get rid of germs on it.

When it comes to making a surface germ-free, cleaning followed by disinfecting is the suggested method. First, you clean to remove dirt and germs. Then, you use disinfecting chemicals to kill the remaining germs on the surface.

The CDC recommends that you clean and disinfect household surfaces on a regular basis to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other germs.

Which surfaces in my home should I focus on?

The surfaces you should clean and disinfect in your home are ones that are touched many times on a daily basis and are located in common areas. These surfaces include:

  • Countertops
  • Tables
  • Chairs with backs
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Doorknobs
  • Phones
  • Desks
  • Handles
  • Tablets
  • Light switches
  • Touch screens
  • Remote controls
  • Keyboards

How to steps

The CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves while cleaning or disinfecting. Start by cleaning high-touch surfaces using soap and water. Then, follow up with disinfectant spray or wipes. You can use an EPA registered disinfectant, a diluted bleach solution or alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol. Remember to follow the instructions on the label for effective and safe use of the product.

Here is how you can make a bleach disinfectant solution at home:

  • Mix 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water
  • Leave bleach solution on the surface you are disinfecting for at least 1 minute

After cleaning and disinfecting, be sure to wash your hands right away after carefully removing your gloves.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on cleaning and disinfecting your home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

Call our 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline at 888-700-9011 for questions and guidance.


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