The World Health Organization has recently warned the public that the coronavirus might be here to stay.
While there had been developments of possible vaccines for the virus, the best everybody can do at the moment is to practice safety precautions, clean, disinfect and sanitize the surroundings regularly to help prevent further infections.
For proper guidance in cleaning and disinfecting residences and workplaces, here are some FAQs (frequently asked questions) that you need to know.
Cleaning and Disinfecting: What’s the Difference?
Cleaning and disinfecting at times have been used interchangeably. However, they do have their differences.
Cleaning is the physical act of taking away bacteria, viruses, dirt, grime and debris from surfaces by means of water and detergents. Detergents, once mixed with water, help to break down oil and grease.
Disinfecting on the other hand makes use of chemicals to treat microbes on surfaces. Cleaning is required for the target surface first before disinfecting. This is due to the fact that dirt, grease and grime can inhibit the performance of the disinfectant to get rid of germs and other types of contaminants.
Which areas of the home or commercial building needs regular cleaning and disinfection?
Surfaces that are touched often must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Examples of these spots include the following:
• Door handles
• Light switches
• Kitchen surfaces
• Cupboard handles
Areas that are visibly dirty should be taken care of immediately as well.
How often should these areas get cleaned and disinfected?
Routine cleaning and disinfection are recommended for homes or areas that engage minimal interaction or are typically attended by a small number of individuals. However, places like retail stores or any workplace that involves accommodating many people day by day need to cleaned and disinfected more frequently.
Disinfecting surfaces should be done regularly on surfaces that many people get in contact with. Proper disinfection must be done at least once a day.
What products should I use for cleaning and disinfecting?
For cleaning surfaces, using warm water and detergent is recommended since it is effective in breaking up oil, grime and dirt. There are lots of detergents in the market which can do this job capably. After cleaning, the surface should then be disinfected.
Disinfecting hard surfaces is best done with disinfectants that contain equal to or more than 70 percent alcohol, chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds.
Always look for disinfectants with anti-viral properties to kill viruses. Check the label of the disinfectant to guarantee that it’s made to remove viruses.
You can also make use of diluted bleach. If this is your preferred option, make sure to follow the instructions for correct dilution and use of the product. The solution will only be effective once it is diluted according to the prescribed concentration.
To maintain the bleach’s efficacy, make sure that you store the item away from sunlight and extreme temperatures.
Is it okay to create DIY solutions to disinfect surfaces?
Commercial disinfectants are effective since they are required to meet specific government standards. If disinfectants are often out of stock in your area, making your own disinfectant using bleach and water is recommended as well.
However, items like baking soda, vinegar, saline solutions and even mouthwashes and essential oils are not recommended for disinfecting since these items cannot destroy the COVID-19 virus.
Ensure that you are handling chemicals like bleach properly when making your own disinfectant since these items can be harsh. Always keep up with manufacturer’s instructions and comply with the safety precautions mentioned on the product label.
Will detergents and disinfectants with anti-bacterial properties kill the COVID-19 virus?
Detergents and disinfectants with anti-bacterial features are meant to kill bacteria only, not viruses. Therefore, COVID-19 being a virus from the coronavirus family, will not be destroyed by anti-bacterial products.
What cleaning methods should not be used?
Make sure to steer clear of cleaning methods that can produce droplets or scatter the coronavirus like dusters, dry rags or cloth, pressurised air products and pressurised water devices.
Disinfectant fogging might seem like a good idea. However, this is not recommended as well since it does not have the capability to clean up surfaces and its success rate of killing COVID-19 is still suspect. Improper application of this method can also expose individuals to chemicals that are hazardous.
A good way to survive the coronavirus pandemic, apart from social distancing, frequent handwashing and a stronger immune system is through regular cleaning and disinfecting.
Make sure that the methods for clean-ups and disinfection that you apply are done correctly to guarantee a higher success rate.
For more information about proper cleanliness and sanitation for our times, you can also visit official online sites of government agencies tasked to help on the matter.
This is not the time to sit on your hands. Do what needs to be done to stop the harm done by COVID-19.