How To Clean and Disinfect for a Virus
Living in a post COVID-19 world the words “clean” and “sanitize” have become the buzz words of 2020! It is important to know and apply the difference in order to keep your family and friends safe and healthy. Every American has been called upon to slow the spread of the virus, but how do we know we are doing the right thing? We need to develop new habits at home, at work and when out in public. It will be challenging, but we will do it!
Cleaning is the act of removing dirt, dust and debris from a surface. Typically, this is done using a cloth or paper towel and soap, detergent or solvent of some sort mixed with water. It is necessary to make sure the surface is completely free of any residue to be deemed truly cleaned. Before the next step, Sanitizing the surface must be rinsed with clear water to remove any soap residue.
Sanitizing is the process by which the surface is considered hygienic and germ free. This term generally applies to kitchens. A surface must be “clean” first, before it can be sanitized.
According to the CDC, a sanitizing solution for food contact surfaces such counters (check with manufacturer if in doubt) and kitchen surfaces (handles, knobs, etc.) can be prepared using 1/2 gallon of water and 1.5 teaspoons of unscented bleach. Placed in a clean spray bottle, the solution is then sprayed on the surface and allowed to air dry. It must sit on the surface for at least 30 seconds to be effective. If you need to use the counter right away, use a clean, single use paper towel to dry it then throw the paper towel away. Using that towel again can “cross-contaminate” another surface. Make a new solution each day.
This solution can be used to sanitize cooking utensils such as spoons, knives and cutting boards during preparation. Just let the cleaned item soak in the solution for 30 seconds or more. You may want to double the recipe so that the items are able to be completely covered by the solution. Let them air dry.
When cleaning bathrooms, disinfectants are the products used to combat viruses. These solutions are stronger than sanitizers. Disinfectants vary and it is critical to follow the manufacturers’ directions. They can be purchased as concentrates, where you will add the pre-determined quantity of water or as wipes. There is usually a “dwell time” indicated on the label of the concentrates and the product is then rinsed off. Check the label to make sure the product you choose is registered with the EPA.
So now you know the difference and have the tools to develop your healthy new habits to reduce the spread.
- Develop your plan
- Implement your plan
- Maintain and revise your plan