Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.
Editor’s note: Information presented was the most current at the time of publication.
We all know that washing your hands properly and wearing a mask are crucial ways to prevent the spread of viruses. Another crucial step? Keeping your home free of messes and potential germ traps.
There's never a wrong time to learn how to properly clean, disinfect, and sanitize household surfaces – and we're here to help you learn how.
Whether you clean, sanitize, or disinfect spots around your home:
- 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.
- Always, always, always: Wash your hands when you’re done.
What Is Cleaning?
The CDC defines cleaning as, “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces", usually with cleaning products, water, and agitation with a brush, towel, or other tools. Not only does cleaning provide a visible “before and after” difference but it also clears messes so disinfectants and sanitizers can kill any remaining illness-causing microbes.
Every surface in your home needs regular cleaning to reduce bacteria, but the dirtiest spots in your house might surprise you.
Cleaning Semi-Porous & Non-Porous Surfaces
High-touch spots like doorknobs and faucet handles – and bigger spaces like cabinets and furniture – are easy to clean with either soap and water or a multi-surface spray.
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- Remove items from the cleaning area.
- Use one spray of the Puracy natural 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.
- Use tight, overlapping z-patterns to ensure total coverage and eliminate streaks.
- Continually fold your microfiber cloths to a clean side, launder them more frequently than usual, and wash your hands when done.
Pro Tip: While disposable paper towels may not be the most eco-friendly option, they can help reduce the spread of germs throughout your home during viral outbreaks.
Cleaning Upholstered Surfaces
When cleaning soft surfaces in your home (like couches, carpets, curtains, and mattresses), it’s best to start by removing germ-harboring spots and splotches. 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 in the warmest temperature water possible. Allow them to dry completely. For larger items, choose a natural carpet and upholstery shampoo that’s gentle on fabric (but tough on dirt and grime).
CDC Tips for Cleaning Clothing & 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 (like hospitals and supermarkets) should immediately remove their clothes and launder them to prevent possible transmission.
Do All Purpose Cleaners Disinfect?
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.
Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner uses C10-C16 alcohol ethoxylate as an effective alternative to ammonia and petroleum distillates. While it’s not labeled (or tested) as a disinfectant, our ingredients are proven to break down and remove a number of harmful bacteria and microbes.
Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing
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 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 bacteria and viruses on surfaces.
Which Home Surfaces Should Be Disinfected?
After spot-treating and cleaning surfaces, it’s time to kill remaining microbes.
Anything that comes in contact with your hands, food, and the outside world should be regularly disinfected. Especially high-traffic areas around your home like:
- Children’s furniture and toys
- Kitchen cutting boards & utensils (dishwashers destroy germs better than hand washing dishes)
- Countertops and cupboard doors
- Doors, handles, and packages coming into the home
- Light switches
- Clothing, shoes, backpacks, and handbags
- Countertops (especially if you’ve put grocery bags or packages on it)
Note: Certain materials require special care. Before cleaning or disinfecting, always check your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the products you’re using are safe.
How to Disinfect Upholstered Surfaces
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 Electronics
A University of Arizona study discovered that the average cell phone contained 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat! Luckily, there’s a simple way to kill germs on your electronics:
- Spray a paper towel with a disinfecting product, then gently remove dirt and debris.
- Once dry use an alcohol based-wipe or spray that contains at least 70% isopropyl alcohol. Be sure that the product is safe for electronics.
- Allow electronics to dry completely.
Disinfecting Semi- and Non-Porous Surfaces
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 the recommended period of time.
- Ensure proper ventilation at all times.
- Never mix with other cleaners (especially those that contain ammonia).
Note: Take care to never mix chemicals together, especially bleach and ammonia (which produces toxic gas).
How Long Should Disinfectant Sit on a Surface?
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.
For example, our hydrogen peroxide disinfectant kills 99.9+% of bacteria in 1 minute and 99.9% of viruses within 10 minutes of soaking time.
Meet Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner
Some products double as both cleaners and disinfectants, requiring different methods for each (be sure to check label instructions). Most, however, aren’t designed to remove dirt and residue.
Our CDC-approved, EPA-listed Disinfecting Surface Cleaner tackles grimy, sticky, and food-safe surfaces without caustic ingredients – and it also kills 99.9+% of germs and viruses when used correctly.
In other words, this 2-in-1 cleaner and disinfectant requires one product to get the job done.
Thoroughly spray the surface and wipe with a clean, dry microfiber towel using tight, overlapping "Z" patterns.
Thoroughly spray onto the surface.* Let stand for 10 minutes, then wipe away with a clean & dry microfiber towel.
Note: Though this product is designed for use on nearly every non-porous surface, use caution on semi-porous surfaces like wood, soapstone, and marble.
Stay Healthy with Our Cleaning and Disinfecting Tips
By following these cleaning and disinfecting recommendations, we can all help flatten the curve, kill germs, and keep loved ones healthy.