It is no secret that most of us panicked when Corona Virus broke. This was evident when all disinfectants, sanitizers and alcohols quickly flew out of the cleaning aisles and disinfecting companies were all fully booked. However, with the continuous rise of the number of Covid-19 cases, and as I witness people slowly putting their guards down it felt really wrong for me to just close one eye while witnessing disinfecting blunders that some of us are unknowingly doing especially those that we actually trust to help us battle this pandemic. This just leaves us with false sense of security by short changing us with improper disinfection methods.
It felt fitting to share with you what to watch out to properly and effectively disinfect your homes or your workspace to ensure protection of yourself and your love ones. Different government organizations like CDC , WHO and EPA have also come together to keep us informed with best practices that will help reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 and its spread so we can continue to be safe.
Below are the common disinfecting blunders that I see and some tips on how you can make it right.
1. NOT SANITIZING BEFORE DISINFECTING
In most of my interviews or live sessions I have always highlighted that cleaning, sanitizing , and disinfecting are 3 different things. Cleaning is when you just wipe off the dust or dirt and sanitizing is when you use soap or a cleaning solution to get rid of the soils or contaminants on a surface. Finally, disinfecting is when you apply a disinfectant solution that kills germs, bacteria and viruses.
Now I’ve seen so many disinfecting videos where they just straight up do misting and fogging w/o sanitizing first or even cleaning. This lessens the effectivity of the disinfectant as solutions cannot penetrate underneath dirt or other materials where germs and bacteria could also be lurking. It is always best practice to sanitize first before applying surface appropriate disinfectant.
By the way, did you know that in some countries just misting or fogging w/o sanitizing is a federal offense?
2. NOT USING THE RIGHT SOLUTION
This is the most common confusion when it comes to disinfecting. I’ll keep this simple. Not all disinfectants can kill Corona Virus. Most disinfectants can only kill common household bacteria and germs. So if you are targeting to kill Covid-19 you have to use appropriate surface disinfectant that’s proven to eliminate it. Now, to help you choose EPA came out with a List-N https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19 which meets their criteria on killing SARS-COV 2 or Covid-19.
However, like what I always say prevention in any form is way better than no prevention at all. With this said Disinfecting with any legit disinfectant esp the high touched surfaces can still lower the risk of spreading infection by killing germs on surface though “not” directly killing the “Covid-19 virus”.
3. NOT PUTTING IN THE RIGHT RATIO
Disinfectant Concentrate must be diluted and applied properly. Any more or less will mean disinfectant disaster. So be informed of the amount you needed and the application process. And pls don’t mix your disinfectant with other solutions.
4. NOT OBSERVING THE DWELL TIME
Omg!!! This is by far the biggest mistakes I have seen across! Spraying disinfectant then wiping it immediately, “Steaming” surfaces in a matter of seconds and claiming it already killed the bacteria and Sterilizing in less than a minute is just a huge NO! This makes me sooo anxious!!! I won’t do this even to my most hated enemy.
Disinfectant labels and Sterilizers indicates how long it should stay (Contact Time) in the surface to actually kill pathogens and viruses. It must remain there for the whole duration to be effective. Not observing the dwell time is clearly a dodger and a homicide in the making!
5. NOT REPLACING THE SOLUTION ON THEIR MOPS, MATS and CLOTHS.
The disinfectant solution in your mop bucket can get contaminated as you clean floors and dip your mop back into the bucket. If you don’t change it often enough, you may end up simply re-spreading bacteria (and dirt) all over surfaces. It is recommended to change your mop water after cleaning every 20-40sqm. Likewise, if you are using a disinfecting Mat, you should clean the tray and change the solution when it’s about to dry up or at least every 2 days esp when it is under direct sunlight. For cloths make sure to clean and rinse it after every area.
6.NOT USING THE RIGHT TOOLS AND MATERIALS
Disinfectant binding is actually a word. This means that if you use the wrong material or cloth to disinfect, it will drastically reduce its disinfecting efficacy. This occurs when the active ingredient of your disinfectant gets absorbed into the fabric instead of being transferred to the surface. Most disinfectants are positively charged ions and cotton and other natural textiles are negatively charged. The result is that at least a portion of the solution does not end up on the surface it is supposed to be disinfecting. So to avoid this it is recommended to use Microfibre Cleaning Cloth.
Another thing is the rampant use of smoke machines! Just because we suddenly think that anything that emits some sort of mist or fog can disinfect doesn’t mean it’s right. A disinfectant fogger or a mister is different from smoke machines as well as the solutions they put in it. Improper use of this can actually be more hazardous than helpful so pls beware.
7. Lastly.. NOT HITTING THE RIGHT SPOTS
Bacteria and Viruses can double their number in as short as few seconds. So wagging disinfectants aimlessly just misses the point. To effectively eliminate the spread of Germs and Viruses you must target the right areas. We call this the Hot Spots or the High Touched Surfaces like your door knobs, tables, toilet flush, counters , faucets, light switches , keyboards, and anything that you touch frequently within the day.
This pandemic puts everyone in an extremely serious situation and I genuinely understand that the health and safety of all of us are on the line which is why it led me to writing these warnings. As a mom and a concerned citizen disinfecting is a no-nonsense business for me. So if you are a home maker, a business owner, an OC person or someone who just cares and wants to help flatten the curve it is just rightful to be aware on how to properly disinfect. I hope this helps to enlighten you so we can all get through this fight safe and triumphant.
Keep safe Masters! And just buzz me if you have other precautionary suggestions that we too can apply in our homes.