How to Keep Your Home Germ Free

For a lot of people, staying safe from the new coronavirus means staying home. But infectious germs can live in your home, too.

To minimize the chance of becoming ill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking action to disinfect high-touch surfaces, like countertops, doorknobs, cellphones, and toilet flush handles, because some pathogens can live on surfaces for many hours.

However, lots of people don’t disinfect correctly, says Brian Sansoni, head of communications for the American Cleaning Institute, a Washington trade group that represents product manufacturers. First, you might want to wash –removing grease or dirt –until you disinfect. Second, the disinfectant should stay on the surface, often for many minutes, before it dries or is removed. Mr.Sansoni says producers have cranked up production to keep up with demand. Having said that, he cautions against overusing chemical cleansers and worse, mixing cleaners in hopes of boosting their effectiveness. “There isn’t any need to panic-clean,” he says.

Just read the labels on regular products to clean and disinfect the ideal way.

Below are some other tips for staying safe in your home:

The CDC recommends washing hands vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 minutes. As a backup, use hand sanitizers which are at least 60% alcohol.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently published a list of approved disinfectants to kill coronavirus. For surface cleaning, start looking for products such as sprays, wipes, and concentrates that state”disinfectant” on the tag and include an EPA registration number. These have to meet government specifications for safety and efficacy.

For a homemade soap, the CDC recommends mixing a quarter-cup of household chlorine bleach with one gallon of cool water.

After disinfecting food-prep surfaces like cutting boards and countertops, rinse them with water before use.

For laundry, use bleach and detergent (for white heaps ) or ointment or color-safe bleach (for colors) to kill germs. (Make sure to read clothing labels to prevent damaging garments.) To raise the effect, some washing machines have sanitized or steam configurations that kill germs. Drying laundry on the drier’s hot cycle for 45 minutes also is successful. If you can, operate dishwashers on the sanitizing cycle.

Household air purifiers and filters that advertise the ability to kill or catch viruses can be helpful but should not be a substitute for cleaning. Some purifiers utilize ultraviolet light, which has been demonstrated to possess germicidal effects, but their overall efficacy may vary based on their design, based on a 2018 technical overview of residential air cleaners. When some filters advertise the capability to catch things like smoke, viruses, and common allergens, they do not necessarily kill germs.