As the world is battling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, civilians should take extra hygiene precautions to ensure health and safety. Though keeping your homes clean is an essential part of daily life and general well-being, now it's more important than ever to disinfect certain surfaces on a daily basis, especially as you’re encouraged to stay home as much as possible. If you’re wondering how you can keep your home germ-free or if someone is sick in your home, here are 5 affordable ways to keep bacteria and viruses at bay.
1. Hard Surfaces: Bleach Mixture
Bleach is one of the most common household cleaning products that you most probably already have at home. Besides using it to remove stains from fabric, you can also use it to clean hard surfaces. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) bleach per 4 litres of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per litre of water. You can store the solution in a spray bottle and use it to clean hard surfaces. As it’s a harsh cleaning agent, do wear gloves to protect your skin. You should also keep it away from metal or paint as prolonged exposure to bleach can cause damage to these materials.
2. Soft surfaces: Phenolic Disinfectant Spray
For carpets, sofas and other soft surfaces like pillows, mattresses and bedding you can’t put in the washer, use a phenolic disinfectant spray to mist the entire surface, and let it set for up to 10 minutes to allow the active ingredients of the spray to work. Not only does a scented spray kill viruses and bacteria, it also keeps your furniture smelling fresh. It can also be used on clothing made of fabrics that cannot be washed. Allow the disinfectant to air-dry on the surface. If a surface might end up in a toddler’s mouth, use a oral-safe disinfectant such as the Spick disinfectant spray.
3. Bathroom: Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used as a disinfectant in a healthcare setting. According to the CDC, “3% hydrogen peroxide is able to inactivate rhinovirus within 8 minutes.” The CDC also states that “commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate surfaces.” You can use it to disinfect your bathroom, sinks, toilet, countertop and even toothbrush. Hard surfaces in the bathroom should be disinfected twice a day as they are the most exposed to bodily fluids. As for your toothbrush, soak it in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes and rinse it thoroughly with hot water.
4. Electronics: Alcohol Wipes
We touch electronic devices like laptops, keyboards and mobile phones every day and these need to be sanitised daily. Professional care alcohol wipes such as the ones used by nurses to remove bacteria off your skin before an injection will do the trick. These wipes can also be used to disinfect remote controls, tv, monitors and game consoles.
5. Fabrics: Laundry Sanitizer
Bacteria isn't limited to living on hard surfaces. Even your clothes, towels and sheets are susceptible to bacteria and viruses. While washing your clothes regularly and drying them in high heat may effectively rid them of harmful bacteria, some fabrics may be damaged in high heat. In this case, a laundry sanitizer will come in handy. A bleach free phenolic laundry sanitizer kills harmful bacteria, and removes mildew and odour. Pour the appropriate amount into the detergent drawer of your washer according to instructions on the packaging, or mix 1 capful in 2.5l water with detergent and soak for 15 minutes before washing in the washer or by hand. You should note that viruses and bacteria contaminate different fabrics at different levels, so you should be mindful of what fabrics you wear or use (especially if you or someone in your home is sick).
A Little Goes A Long Way
Just because you should be sanitizing and disinfecting your home a few times a day doesn’t mean you need to use as much of it as possible. Be cautious of the toxic effects of prolonged exposure to chemicals such as bleach, which can cause irritation when left on skin and lung problems when inhaled. Always use cleaning agents according to packaging instructions and wear gloves while disinfecting your home. This way, you can keep your home germ free while making the cleaning solutions last for as long as possible, which saves you money in the long run. Lastly, you should remember that in the event you get sick, your health insurance and the government are promising to cover any COVID-19 medical emergencies.