Protecting ourselves from the Coronavirus, when in public places, is one thing. But with most people “Self-Isolating”, to reduce the spread of this terrible virus, how can we protect the space we are ‘isolating’ in – our homes?
Whether we live in a High Risk Household or not, it is important that we know what we are doing and why we are doing it if we are to effectively protect ourselves and our loved ones.
What is Included Below?
Cleaning v’s Disinfecting
Important points to consider (they are two very different things).
Cleaning Your Home
Tips for Deep Cleaning & Regular Cleaning (plus two simple products you can use).
Disinfecting Your Home
What to use and how to use it.
On the Move
A brief look at what you can do when you are moving into a new property.
If you would like to Download a PDF version please click on the following link …
Otherwise, let’s get started …
Cleaning v's Disinfecting
Our number 1 goal is to kill Coronavirus if it comes into our homes – right?
It is important to understand that just cleaning, or just disinfecting, may not provide you with the protection you are hoping for.
You need to do both.
When you use a Disinfectant on a dirty surface, the disinfectant will attack the excess bacteria in dirt or grime and there may not be enough to kill a virus, including Coronavirus.
For this reason, a disinfectant will be more effective at killing Coronavirus when you apply it to an already clean surface.
Ideally, you need to clean with a detergent to cut through fats and oils that are present in dirt and grime. This allows you to remove the dirt and grime, giving you a clean surface.
Remember to …
CLEAN (with a detergent) before you DISINFECT
Cleaning Your Home
Wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting. Disposable gloves are best, if you can get them. If not, you may need to wash/disinfect reusable gloves after each use. You should also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have finished.
Also, as hard as it may be, you need to avoid touching your face whilst cleaning. If you have an annoying itch, or need to wipe sweat from your brow, the safe thing to do is remove your gloves and wash your hands first.
What areas do you need to clean?
The common areas that may need regular cleaning and disinfecting are usually referred to as High Touch areas. These include:
– Bench tops
– Dishwasher handle, fridge handles and microwaves
– Cupboard handles and edges (kitchen, bathrooms & laundry)
– Kettle handle and other electrical appliance buttons
– All taps
– Tables, coffee tables
– Around door handles, including the door edge
– Light switches, air con pads or remotes
– TV remote
– Washing machine lids, dials or buttons
– Shower, bath, basins and toilets
This list can be longer. Generally, anything that gets touched by hand throughout the day may need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to protect your home from Coronavirus.
However, giving your house a good spring clean first is recommended.
Unfortunately, this may mean that you have some heavy-duty cleaning to do. The good news – after you have given your house a good deep clean, a regular spray and wipe may be all you need before you disinfect your home.
Deep Cleaning Tips
High Touch areas like door handles, cupboard handles, dishwasher handles, taps and light switches, develop a build-up of grime. A simple spray and wipe may not be enough.
One of the best grime-eating solutions in your supermarket is Jif. I have personally used it for years in my cleaning business and at home.
Tip – Jif is not for ‘wiping’, it is for ‘washing’. It works best with water and you will need to wipe everything away after scrubbing.
In most cases you may only need to use Jif and a wet cloth. But, for thick grime, a non-scratch scourer will be easier. A toothbrush will help with any hard to get areas (such as around taps and cupboard handles), and a scrubbing brush is great for tiled areas (like the grout in your splashback).
Important - Jif can harm surfaces
E.g. – it can remove the black writing from around the dials on stainless steel stove tops and ovens. It may also damage shiny painted surfaces (like doors), or plastic coated stainless steel (like a lot of fridges and dishwashers).
It is safer to use Dishwashing Liquid to clean these areas – as mentioned in the ‘Regular Cleaning Hints’ section below.
When you have finished the deep clean you are ready to Disinfect (see the “Disinfecting Your Home” section).
Regular Cleaning Tips
Please note – If you clean with vinegar, you may need to reconsider this when using a disinfectant afterwards, particularly bleach. The combination of vinegar and bleach can produce a dangerous gas. Avoid the risk.
What is a good detergent?
Dishwashing Liquid – a simple detergent that is safe to use on all surfaces and is easy to get.
For deep cleaning High Touch walls, doors and door frames – add some to a bucket with warm water. After you have washed the surface dry it with a towel or cloth.
But, for regular spot cleaning, there is an easier way to do it …
Easy Spray & Wipe option ...
Grab an empty spray bottle (give it a good rinse first). Fill it with water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Give it a shake.
Spray this onto a damp wash cloth and use it to spot clean the High Touch areas listed at the start of the Cleaning Your Home section.
When you finish cleaning, you will need to Disinfect …
This a very basic look at deep cleaning and regularly cleaning your home before you disinfect for any virus. If you would like detailed, step by step Guides to Deep Clean all areas of your home, The Bond Clean Book may be a good option for you. Just click on the link below …
Disinfecting Your Home
Please note …
Eco-friendly products may be effective at fighting certain bacteria. However, they are not great at killing viruses. You should research the product you are using to make sure that it will kill a virus.
Using a Disinfectant that is recommended to kill the Coronavirus may be vital to your health.
This is particularly important for High Risk Households, for people who may come in contact with High Risk family members or if anyone in your home is experiencing flu like symptoms.
The Problem ...
A lot of cleaning products in the supermarket include ‘Anti-bacterial’ on their labels. And you can be forgiven for thinking that they will kill all bad things. But this is not the case.
In fact, there is a good chance that millions of people across Australia are using these products, wrongly believing that they are protecting themselves and their loved ones effectively.
Unfortunately, there are also ‘Disinfectant’ labelled products that may not kill a Coronavirus.
This really is going Beyond the Basics, but to effectively protect your space from Coronavirus, it is worth having an understanding of the following …
Whether or not a Disinfectant is recommended to kill a Coronavirus depends on its Active Ingredient, how much of the Active Ingredient is in the product, and the amount of time it needs to stay on a surface to kill a virus.
Researching the active ingredient in your disinfectant is a good idea. You can find it in very small writing on the label (usually at the bottom). Google the active ingredient and add the word ‘Coronavirus’ in your search. You will need to make sure it holds enough of the ‘active ingredient’ to be effective with Coronavirus. Some products may not.
What can you use?
Back to the Basics – there are 2 common household products that contain active ingredients recommended to kill Coronavirus and other viruses. They are – Methylated Spirits and Bleach.
Warning – both of these products are very harmful to humans, particularly for your eyes and if ingested. It is highly recommended to wear gloves whilst using them. Goggles too – when mixing them with water.
1 - Methylated Spirits (Metho)
Metho is approximately 95% alcohol or ethanol. As you may have heard, this is the main component of effective hand sanitisers.
How long does it need to be on the surface?
It is recommended that alcohol (ethanol) needs 30 seconds to work effectively if applied straight from the bottle So, let it dry itself.
Potential Surface Damage ...
Metho does contain other chemicals that can damage surfaces, such as lacquer. So, it may be best to keep it away from your nice furniture. Or at least test it first.
The problem with Metho is that you need to use it virtually straight from the bottle. This means you can run out of it very quickly. If you don’t have easy access to Metho, then Bleach may be a better option …
2 - Bleach
Bleach can either come as straight household bleach or within products like Domestos. The Active Ingredient in bleach is an extremely effective virus killer and will kill Coronavirus. This does not mean you can go crazy with bleach. You will be wasting it and increasing the risk of damage to surfaces.
Generally, bleach is good for bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and tiles. Door handles are ok too, but Metho will be safer, if you have it.
Dilution Rate ...
Bleach is a very economical Disinfectant because it can be highly diluted with water and still hold its virus killing properties.
For disinfecting your home, with most of the bleach products from the supermarket, you only need 1 Part bleach to 35-40 Parts water. This is approx. 250ml per 10 litres of water.
(Check the Active Ingredient fine print on the label. This is based on 4-6%. If yours says 2%, you may need to double the above for it to be effective – i.e. 1 Part bleach to 20 Parts water)
You will need to create a fresh batch each time you want to use it.
Bleach by itself is not a great cleaner. Mixing bleach with other products can be risky though, so it is best to use bleach as your disinfectant option – after cleaning.
How long does it need to be on the surface?
Like most disinfectants, you should let the diluted bleach dry by itself. 10 minutes on a surface is the recommended time to kill everything.
If you are worried about streaks, or any remnants of bleach, then after 10 minutes you can re-wipe and dry the surface, as any virus present should be dead.
Potential Surface Damage ...
Bleach can definitely damage surfaces, even when highly diluted with water – particularly steel, silver, aluminium and any fabric (including your carpet).
So, make sure you wring out your cloth to prevent drips, before attacking those High Touch areas.
Other Safety Tips for Bleach ...
If you have given the bathroom a good work over with bleach, you may need to dry your shoes (hopefully you are wearing shoes) with an old towel prior to leaving the bathroom. This prevents potential bleach footprints on your carpet.
And, if you are using bleach to mop tiled floors (best to use it only on tiles), then be very careful around the edges, where tiles meet carpet. Wring the mop out well to prevent any drips.
Also, open your windows and doors so that you have plenty of ventilation.
Whilst bleach is an awesome disinfectant, there are a lot of risks with using bleach – especially in a rental property. You may be liable for any damage you cause. So, please be careful.
Summary for Cleaning & Disinfecting
Remember the Rules …
1. Wear gloves
2. Clean first – using a detergent (e.g. dishwashing liquid)
3. Then Disinfect – using approved products and dilution recommendations
4. Allow 10 minutes – even the best disinfectants need time to effectively kill a virus.
5. Wash Hands – after any cleaning, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
A quick note – there are no guarantees in life. As such, the cleanest house may still not fully protect you. However, your regular cleaning and disinfecting habits will help to reduce the spread of this virus.
On The Move
It is a tough time for anyone on the move right now. Whether you are moving into a new rental property or a house you just purchased, it is a good idea to allow a couple of days to clean and disinfect the new property ‘before’ you move anything in.
If the property needs a deep clean (and it probably will) then you can use the cleaning and disinfecting basics above. But, for a thorough clean, I recommend hiring a cleaner who can also disinfect the property.
However, if you want to or need to do it yourself, you can use The Bond Clean Book.
Just remember to follow up your deep cleaning with the Disinfection information above, to kill any virus, and your new home should be ready to move into.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this information.
I hope that you and your family get through this crazy time with your health in-tact.
If you want more information …
I have been researching this for some time now and have tried to keep the above info brief. If you are detail minded, and want to do your own research, there is a lot of good information out there. Here are 2 options for you:
1 – Choice.com.au have an excellent post regarding cleaning products and the Coronavirus – https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/laundry-and-cleaning/surface-cleaners/articles/cleaning-in-the-time-of-coronavirus
2 – Here is a great fact sheet from the Australian Government Department of Health (whilst this fact sheet is primarily for workplaces it does provide an excellent understanding of cleaning processes) – https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/environmental-cleaning-and-disinfection-principles-for-covid-19.pdf
For excellent up to date information about the Coronavirus, or Covid-19, the WHO (World Health Organisation) website is – https://www.who.int/
The Bond Clean Book includes step by step How To Clean Guides for every part of your house.
The products and equipment used throughout the book are all available from your local supermarket or hardware store – for basic and extreme cleaning.
Of course, you can also use it to do your own Bond Clean.