What Cleaning Products Really Kill COVID-19?
How do you protect yourself and your family from something that is invisible to the naked eye, highly contagious and potentially lethal? That is the hot topic of discussion around the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic numbers spike daily, there is much debate and confusion about appropriate safety measures to combat the spread.
While there is a great deal of information available, there still seems to be much confusion over what measures work best when it comes to disinfecting. We’d like to clear up some of the confusion and give you some fact-based information on disinfecting to help keep you and your family safe during these trying times.
Selecting An Effective COVID-19 Disinfectant: Why it Matters
Six feet is a number we keep hearing a lot of nowadays and there’s good reason for it. According to the CDC all it takes six feet of proximity to an infected person to increase your risk of contracting the virus.
The Coronavirus Spreads Easily
The virus is spread through droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the nose or mouth of others within six feet of the infected person. The droplets can also land on surfaces such as countertops, light switches or clothing. Anyone who touches these surfaces and then touches their nose or mouth has an increased risk of being infected.
An Infected Person Doesn’t Have to Show Symptoms to Spread The Virus
Did you know that it is possible to have the virus and not show some of the more obvious symptoms such as fever or body aches? According to the CDC, it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. That means an infected person who is not yet experiencing symptoms could infect others through what is being termed “silent transmission”.
The Virus Mimics Other Common Illnesses
What makes detecting COVID-19 so difficult is that many of its symptoms mimic those of other common illnesses. For example, body aches, fever and difficulty breathing are symptoms of the common cold and flu. Why is this such a big deal? Anyone experiencing these symptoms may be tempted to downplay them instead of getting tested for the virus. As a result, they don’t follow recommended quarantine measures. Ultimately they risk infecting every person with whom they come in contact.
What to Look For When Selecting a Cleaning Product to Combat The Coronavirus
Not all cleaning products are created equal when it comes to combating COVID-19. Some products merely clean while others disinfect. The difference is an important one to consider.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
All-purpose cleaners are designed to remove dirt and grime. Cleaners also remove germs from surfaces. While cleaning and removing germs is a good first step, it is not enough to effectively fight the virus. For that you’ll need to kill the virus with a disinfectant.
A disinfectant is a chemical that kills germs on surfaces. By itself a disinfectant does not clean or remove dirt. However, when used in combination with a cleaner, it is a good tool to minimize the virus on surfaces.
Use an EPA-Registered Disinfectant
No doubt you’ve seen countless ads and tv commercials touting the best product to disinfect against COVID-19. But which one really is the best? The term “best” is subjective. What you really want is anything that is proven effective in killing the coronavirus. You can find these products by viewing the list of EPA-registered disinfectants. The Environmental Protection Agency’s list represents those products known to have the ingredients necessary to kill the virus.
How to Properly Use a Disinfectant
Always wear gloves when disinfecting an area and always dispose of them when you are through. Also consider wearing eye protection. Make sure the area is well ventilated before you begin. Avoid mixing products as the mixture can be flammable or pose health hazards if inhaled.
Start with the higher surfaces such as countertops and light switches before moving on to disinfecting the floor. First, clean the area with soap and water. Next, follow the instructions on the disinfecting product to learn how to correctly use the product.
It is important to read the instructions as not all disinfectants work the same way. Some only require you to wipe the surface with the product. Others, however, may require you to let the product sit on the surface for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t follow the instructions, you may not kill the virus as expected.
The Truth About Homemade Disinfectants
Given the current state of the pandemic, you may be one of the many who are unable to find household disinfectant in your local stores or online. If so, you might be considering making your own. When prepared correctly, homemade solutions can be effective. However, there are a few rules to follow and a few things to avoid for the best results.
Also known as rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol can kill a variety of germs and viruses. Use a concentration of at least 70% and let it sit on the surface for at least 30 seconds.
A 3%concentration of hydrogen peroxide left on a surface for eight minutes is effective at killing viruses.
According to the CDC, a solution of 4 teaspoons of bleach to 1 quart of water is also effective at killing viruses. The solution must sit on the surface for at least 10 minutes to be effective.
Things to Avoid
While natural ingredients may be less hazardous to your health, they aren’t effective in killing viruses.
- Vodka – Although it does have a high alcohol content, vodka falls well below the CDC recommended amount of 60% to be an effective solution.
- Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil can make your cleaning products smell nicer. However, it isn’t proven to be effective at killing germs.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is effective as a cleaning product and may remove some germs. However, it is not recommended as a solution to disinfecting against the coronavirus.
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