November 16, 2020
Keeping a clean, germ-free home is important all year round. But between the flu and COVID-19, our household chores are more important than ever. When cleaning at home, turn to these five family-friendly tips:
- Ensure Proper Ventilation
- While you clean, open a window and let the fresh air in, or use a fan.
- Pick the Right Products
- For routine cleaning, look for products with plant-based ingredients.
- Ingredients should be clearly printed on the label. Know what’s in what you buy! For help decoding labels, see the EWG Guide to Decoding the Labels.
- Look for third-party certified products, such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Safer Choice”
- Choose fragrance-free products when possible. “Fragrance” can refer to any of dozens of chemicals, including those linked to hormone (endocrine) disruption and cancer.
- Reduce Inhalation
- When using spray cleaners, spray into the cleaning cloth and then wipe. Consider wearing a mask while cleaning, as well.
- Have a Plan if Someone Gets Sick
Make sure you have proper cleaning tools on hand to disinfect from COVID-19, including disposable gloves and EPA-registered disinfectants, then follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for cleaning, including isolating the sick person if possible, and cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily throughout the rest of the house.
- Stay Safe
- Never mix chemical-based cleaning products. Ensure cleaning products are properly labeled, and store them out of the reach of children and pets.
- Wear gloves, even for routine cleaning, to avoid skin irritation and dermal absorption of the products.
How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home
You don’t need to clean your home from top to bottom every day, but you should focus on disinfecting high-touch areas daily. Simply removing dirt and particles is not the same as disinfecting it to kill viruses and bacteria.
High-touch areas include:
- Cabinets and drawer knobs/pulls
- Kitchen and bathroom counters
- Refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and microwave handles
- Cells phones, tablets, computer keyboards and mice
- Remote controls and game controllers
- Toilets, especially the seat and handle
The EPA advises wiping high-touch surfaces with a disinfecting product and letting it sit and fully dry for 10 minutes to kill 99.9 percent of germs. Here’s a list of EPA-registered household disinfectants that can be used on high-touch surfaces.
It’s important to make sure to always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.
Next Steps & Resources
- Expert Contributor: Erin Speiser Ihde, PhD, MA, CCRP, environmental research expert at Hackensack Meridian Health
- Learn about how to make sure your tap water is safe to drink.
- Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals were recognized as Top Hospitals in the Nation for Environmental Sustainability by Practice Greenhealth. Learn more about what this means.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.