According to the CDC, washing your hands well and wearing a mask are two of the most important ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. Another crucial step? Keeping your home clean and free of big messes and potential germ traps.
This is the ideal time to learn how to properly clean, disinfect, and sanitize household surfaces to reduce your exposure to dangerous germs.
(Editor’s note: Information presented was the most current at the time of publication.)
How COVID-19 Is Transmitted
Person-to-person contact is the most common way COVID-19 is transmitted. Coronavirus is carried in respiratory droplets that can be passed when we talk, cough, or sneeze. Those droplets can travel roughly 6 feet, which is why we’ve been advised to keep that distance from others outside of our homes.
That said, respiratory droplets containing the virus can also land on furniture, clothing, or electronics. If we come into contact with those surfaces and then touch our eyes, nose, or mouth, we could potentially be exposed to the virus.
Researchers are still trying to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission from contaminated surfaces. While they do, the CDC still recommends cleaning and disinfecting hard and soft surfaces to prevent the spread of illness.
There is, however, a distinct difference between cleaning and disinfecting – and we cover that below.
How Long Coronavirus Lasts on Surfaces
According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19’s lifespan is dependent on the surface:
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While we don’t currently know how long COVID-19 survives on fabric, experts suspect it may be anywhere from a few hours to a day.
Taking Precautions by Cleaning and Sanitizing
Until we better understand how COVID-19 can infect a person who has been in contact with a contaminated surface, we should treat it like the flu or any highly-contagious illness. Because the flu can be transmitted on surfaces, it makes sense to clean and disinfect our homes to limit our exposure to coronavirus.
The Definition of Cleaning
The CDC defines cleaning as, “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces,” and typically involves a cleaning product, water, and agitation with a brush, towel, or other tools. You’ll probably notice a visible “before and after” difference. Cleaning clears messes so that disinfectants and sanitizers can kill any illness-causing microbes that remain.
While cleaning alone can’t kill every germ, it can greatly reduce their numbers – and your chances of getting sick. Once cleaning is finished, you can start disinfecting.
Every surface in your home needs regular cleaning to reduce bacteria, but the dirtiest spots in your house might surprise you. In addition to toilets and your entranceways, germs especially love kitchen sponges, sinks, toothbrush holders, handles, and pillows.
How to Clean Upholstered Surfaces
When cleaning soft surfaces in your home (like couches, carpets, curtains, and mattresses), it’s best to start by removing spots with a powerful stain remover. Puracy Natural Stain Remover uses powerful plant enzymes to dissolve and remove marks from grass, blood, wine, pet accidents, and everything in between.
After spot-treating, launder items that can be machine-washed, always in the warmest temperature water possible. Allow them to dry completely. For larger items, a natural carpet and upholstery shampoo that’s gentle on fabric (but tough on dirt and grime) is a wise choice.
CDC Tips for Cleaning Clothing and Upholstered Surfaces
- Wear disposable gloves when handling clothing or bedding of anyone who is ill.
- Avoid shaking dirty linens to prevent dispersing germs into the air.
- Clothing and bedding should be machine-washed on the hottest setting possible.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers. Consider using a disposable or washable liner as well (but remember that COVID-19 can live on plastic for up to 72 hours).
- When arriving home, people who spend time in high-traffic areas (e.g. hospitals, supermarkets) should immediately remove their clothes and launder them to prevent possible transmission.
How to Clean Semi- and Non-Porous Surfaces
High-touch spots like doorknobs and faucet handles – and bigger spaces like cabinets and furniture – are easy to clean with soap and water or with a non-toxic multi-surface spray.
First, remove items from the cleaning area. Next, use one spray of the Puracy surface cleaner for each 2’x2’ square, directly onto surfaces. Wait a few seconds before wiping it away with a clean paper towel or a folded microfiber towel, using tight, overlapping z-patterns to ensure total coverage and eliminate streaks.
During this unprecedented time, paper towels may not be the most eco-friendly option, but they reduce the spread of germs throughout your home. Otherwise, continually fold your microfiber cloths to a clean side, launder them more frequently than usual, and wash your hands when done.
Pro tip: You won’t have to worry about adverse chemical reactions when combining Puracy cleaners with harsher disinfectants and sanitizers.
The Difference Between Disinfecting and Sanitizing
Some products double as both cleaners and disinfectants, requiring different methods for each (be sure to check label instructions). While most aren’t designed to remove dirt and residue like cleaning does, disinfecting and sanitizing products use “antimicrobial pesticides” to kill germs. These products are regulated by the EPA and pesticide regulation departments in various states.
There is, however, a small difference between the two: Sanitizing products kill up to 99.9% of germs and bacteria, reducing them to a safe level that’s in accordance with EPA standards for efficacy. Disinfecting goes one step further, using chemicals (including EPA-registered disinfectants) to kill nearly 100% of germs on surfaces.
Does Puracy All-Purpose Cleaner Kill Germs?
Puracy All-Purpose Cleaner uses C10-C16 alcohol ethoxylate, an effective alternative to ammonia and petroleum distillates. While it’s not labeled (or tested) as a disinfectant, our ingredients are proven to remove bacteria and microbes by breaking them down and being wiped away.
How Long Should Disinfectant Sit on a Surface?
The answer to this depends on the specific product that you use – and also what type of pathogen you’re trying to annihilate. For example, our Disinfecting Surface Cleaner kills 99.9+% of bacteria in 1 minute and 99.9% of viruses in 10 minutes of soaking time.
Which Surfaces Require Disinfecting?
If you are practicing physical distancing and observing shelter-at-home recommendations, you shouldn’t have to worry about disinfecting your home spaces as often, but pay special attention to:
- Children’s furniture and toys
- Kitchen cutting boards and utensils (Remember: Dishwashers destroy germs better than washing by hand)
- Countertops and cupboard doors
- Doors, handles, and packages coming into the home
What Home Surfaces Need to Be Disinfected the Most?
Anything that comes in contact with your hands, food, and the outside world should be disinfected regularly. Disinfect high-traffic areas around your home, especially:
- Door handles
- Light switches
- Clothing, shoes, backpacks, and handbags
- Countertops (especially if you’ve put grocery bags or packages on it)
Pro tip: Certain materials require special care. Before cleaning or disinfecting, always check your manufacturer’s instruction to ensure the products you’re using are safe.
How to Disinfect Upholstered Surfaces
After spot-treating and cleaning with Puracy Multi-Surface Spray (or your preferred natural cleaning product), it’s time to kill any microbes that remain.
For disinfecting upholstery, the CDC recommends laundering or shampooing bedding, clothing, carpets, and other soft materials with the hottest water possible. Provided they’re safe for fabrics, you can also use products that meet the EPA’s criteria for killing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
How to Disinfect Cell Phones
Our cell phones are among the dirtiest surfaces we’re exposed to every day. In fact, a University of Arizona study discovered that the average cell phone contained 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!
There’s a simple way to kill germs on your mobile phone, gaming devices, screens, and remote controls:
- Remove dirt and debris with Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner.
- Once dried, use an alcohol based-wipe or spray containing at least 70% isopropyl alcohol. Ensure that the product is safe for electronics.
- Allow electronics to dry completely.
Disinfecting Semi- and Non-Porous Surfaces
To disinfect hard surfaces after cleaning, it’s crucial to follow the directions on disinfectant labels precisely. If you don’t let the disinfectant sit long enough, it can’t do its job.
You can use EPA-endorsed wipes, sprays, and solutions. If the manufacturer instructions allow, you may also disinfect surfaces with a diluted bleach solution recommended by the CDC:
- First, clean the surface using a surface cleaner (or soap and water)
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
- Allow the mixture to sit on surfaces for at least one minute.
- Ensure proper ventilation at all times.
- Never mix with other cleaners (especially those containing ammonia).
Note: Take care to never mix chemicals together, especially bleach and ammonia (which produces toxic gas).
Choose Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner to Do It All
Our CDC-approved, EPA-listed hydrogen peroxide disinfectant cleans grimy, sticky, and food-safe surfaces. It also kills 99.9% of germs and viruses when used correctly.
This is the perfect option for households that want to avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners.
How to Use Our Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfectant
Since this is a 2-in-1 cleaner and disinfectant, you only need one bottle to get the job done. Less mess, less waste, and fully disinfected surfaces:
Thoroughly spray the surface and wipe with a clean, dry microfiber towel using tight, overlapping "Z" patterns.
Thoroughly spray onto surface*. Let stand for 10 minutes, then wipe with a clean & dry microfiber towel.
*You can use Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner on nearly every non-porous material, from stainless steel to glass to granite. Due to hydrogen peroxide’s natural bleaching properties, however, we recommend using caution on semi-porous surfaces like wood, soapstone, and marble.
Always Do This After Cleaning and Disinfecting
No matter which methods or products you use, be sure to allow surfaces to air dry to prevent the growth of new bacteria. Throw disposable cleaning items (like paper towels and wipes) into the trash. Wash microfiber towels and rags after each use. And always, always, always: Wash your hands when you’re done.
How We’re Fighting Germs at Puracy
In addition to every team member using Puracy Hand Sanitizer when they enter our building, an essential part of keeping our team safe and healthy is our Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner. We use it multiple times per day on all high-traffic spaces.
By following our cleaning and disinfecting regimen, we hope to help flatten the curve, kill germs, and help you and loved ones stay healthy.