COVID 19 Resources: Information on Sanitizing, Disinfecting and Handwashing for Homes, Schools and Cars!
Cleaners, Sanitizers & Disinfectants
Cleaning is very important for maintaining a healthy living environment and keeping the household members healthy. While cleaning is important year round, it is especially important now as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. A few minutes each day can ensure a healthy and happy home.
- Routine cleaning will keep a home tidy day in and day out without having to tackle a huge mess all at once. Routine cleaning can include mopping, dusting, wiping down the walls, and more. This type of cleaning is done regularly, and can be easily placed on a schedule to make it more manageable.
- Sanitizing will help reduce dirt and germs that may be unseen to the human eyes. Sanitizing may not help in reducing viral pathogens, but it is still important for food contact surfaces.
- Disinfecting will kill viruses and other microscopic organisms to help stop the spread of disease and illness. Disinfecting is particularly important during this global pandemic.
Additional Cleaners, Sanitizers, & Disinfectants Resources:
- What’s the Difference between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting – Clorox explains the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
Use Caution Around Cleaners, Disinfectants & Sanitizers
Disinfectants, sanitizers and regular cleaners are important for maintaining a clean home, but that does not mean they are safe in all areas. In fact, most cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants are toxic to both people and pets, especially when they are not diluted.
- Keep cleaning products locked away and out of reach of children and pets, as they can be harmful to them.
- Know what it is in the chosen cleaning supplies. Some cleaning supplies release harmful pollutants into the air, and can cause health issues for household members.
- When using the cleaner, ensure children and pets are not around. Inhaling the cleaner or getting it on exposed skin can cause irritation.
- The labels on cleaners are very helpful in determining the best use of the product and any hazards that might come along with it. Make sure to read the label on each product before use.
Additional Caution Resources:
- Warning! Caution! Danger! What Does It All Mean? – Know the difference between the definitions of each of these warning words in terms of cleaners.
- Asthma and Cleaning Products – One who suffers from asthma might have to take extra precautions with cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants.
Questions to Consider When Selecting a Disinfectant
There are several options for disinfectants on the market. Knowing what each is made of and how it works can help consumers make the best decision for their household about which to buy. The following are some questions to consider:
- What is the product made of?
- What is the purpose of the cleaner?
- Does it leave a residue?
- Is it toxic and how?
- How long will it last?
Bleach can be a great tool for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting a household, school, or workplace. Bleach is available in different concentrations, which makes it a versatile cleaner.
- Bleach is a great disinfectant and stain remover, but is probably not the best option for routine cleaning.
- Bleach is great for use in the laundry room, bathrooms, outdoors, and more.
- Bleach can be corrosive to some materials and surfaces, so make sure to double check the surface and the bleach label before using.
- Bleach can vary in concentration from 5.25% to 8.25% with most people only needing as much as 5.25% for regular household cleaning.
- Because bleach loses cleaning power faster when diluted, disinfectant solutions using bleach should be prepared daily.
Additional Bleach Resources:
- How to Safely Clean with Bleach – Check out some tips and tricks for cleaning with bleach safely.
Cleaners Containing Disinfectants
While cleaners that contain disinfectants might seem better and more efficient, cleaning and disinfecting separately is actually more beneficial.
- A dirty surface should be cleaned before disinfecting since disinfectants cannot easily get through the dirt and grime to do their job. This means the one cleaning is using more disinfectant chemicals and less disinfecting is done.
- Some chemicals shouldn’t be mixed for other reasons. For example, bleach and ammonia create a poisonous gas when mixed.
- Not all surfaces need to be sanitized and/or disinfected.
Additional Cleaners Containing Disinfectants Resources:
- Frequency Table – View this table to get an idea for how often and what surfaces should be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected.
- COVID-19: How to Clean and Disinfect – Learn general cleaning and disinfecting guides when it comes to COVID-19.
- COVID-19: General Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection for Non-Health Care Settings – While cleaning in a health care setting is obviously important, it’s easy to overlook cleaning in a non-health care setting. This guidance will help in eliminating and stopping the spread of COVID-19 in homes, businesses, schools and more.
Alternative/Less Toxic Homemade Cleaning Products
There are alternative/less toxic cleaning products on the market, and lots of do it yourself options for cleaning products. In fact, many household items can be used to clean such as baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap.
- While it can be cost effective to make cleaning products at home, that does not necessarily mean they are less harmful to household members. Even homemade cleaning products should be kept away from the more vulnerable members in the household and treated as any other cleaner.
- Baking soda, distilled vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, borax, essential oils, and castile soap are all regular products that can be used to naturally clean many surfaces.
- Not only are the chemicals important, but having the proper supplies is equally as important. Make sure to keep cleaning cloths, mops, bottles, and other essential cleaning tools on hand.
Additional Less Toxic/Homemade Cleaning Resources:
- Cleaning Products: Homemade vs. Store Bought – Homemade products can be more cost-effective, but are they just as effective in cleaning as store bought versions? Learn more here.
- 5 Ways Natural Cleaning Products Aren’t As Safe As You Think – There are lots of myths surrounding homemade and natural cleaning products. This article busts some of those myths.
- A Guide to Non-Toxic Household Cleaning – Learn some ways to make household cleaning less toxic and still get surfaces cleaned.
Hand Washing Information
The Importance of and Best Times to Wash Hands
Teaching kids (and sometimes adults) proper hand-hygiene is important for the prevention of disease and illness, particularly during this global pandemic. Not only does handwashing prevent the individual from getting sick, but it can help keep others from getting sick as well.
- It’s best for people to wash their hands before eating, touching their face (mouth, nose or eyes), and touching a scrape or open wound of any kind.
- It is also good for people to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, playing with pets, touching commonly touched surfaces, being close to a sick person, and touching a dirty diaper or garbage.
Steps to Clean Hands
Experts agree that hand washing is important for maintaining health and stopping the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) outlines 5 simple steps to clean hands:
- Wet hands with clean water and then apply soap.
- Rub hands together to lather soap, making sure to get the front, back and between the fingers.
- Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds. The “Happy Birthday” song or the “ABC’s” twice through is about 20 seconds.
- Rinse hands under running water.
- Dry hands using a clean towel or let them air dry.
There is science behind why the CDC (and other experts) recommend this method for getting clean hands. What’s important is that it is done properly each and every time handwashing is necessary.
Is Hand Sanitizer an Option?
While it might be tempting to reach for hand sanitizer every time, it may not be a great option all the time. Hand sanitizer does not remove dirt or grease, and therefore cannot work effectively on the germs under the grime.
- Hand sanitizer is great when hand washing is not an option.
- Make sure the hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol for best results.
- Use a quarter-sized amount on the palm of the hand and rub front, back and between fingers as though using soap and water.
- Hand sanitizer can be dangerous, particularly for kids, so make sure to follow the instructions on the label and never use homemade hand sanitizer.
Teaching Kids Proper Hand Hygiene
When teaching kids proper hand hygiene, it is important to lead by example, be patient and remind them when needed. This is an important habit to establish early on and can easily help stop the spread of illnesses.
Additional Hand Washing Resources
- Hand Washing: Why It’s So Important – hand washing prevents kids and adults alike from getting sick and spreading germs. Learn about proper hand washing techniques, why it’s important and how germs spread here.
- Hand-Washing and Coronavirus Prevention for Children – This is a fun infographic for adults and kids to learn proper hand-washing techniques and how it can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- How To Wash Your Hands – For the visual learners out there, this is a great chart with instructions on proper hand hygiene.
- Is Hand-Washing Really the Best Thing We Can Do To Stop The Spread of COVID-19 – See some of the science behind proper hand-hygiene as it combats COVID-19.
- Handwashing Annihilates the Coronavirus – Learn more about the science behind hand-washing and COVID-19 here.
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