Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is now recognised as a worldwide pandemic, with many countries declaring national emergencies. And while we would urge you to keep a cool head and avoid panic at all costs, the situation does call for being extra careful in your daily activities. Additionally, you’ll also want to minimise the chance of exposing yourself and your loved ones to the virus by keeping your home as clean as possible.
For up-to-date information and updates on the situation, please consult the World Health Organisation (WHO) Website.
The number one way of protecting yourself from coronavirus is to limit your potential exposure. This means being careful of which places you visit, who you interact with, and which surfaces you touch. Naturally, when you’re outside, you can’t avoid touching things – be they door handles, clothes, your shoes, your car, your phone. Additionally, things like grocery store carts and even product packaging can also be contaminated.
Touching these things is inevitable, but you’ll be fine, as long as you manage to avoid touching your face afterwards. Experts say that contamination happens when the virus gets in contact with your nose, eyes or mouth. Smokers are exposed to an even more significant risk here, as it would be very difficult to avoid touching your mouth if you’re trying to light a cigarette. An excellent opportunity to try and kick the harmful habit!
The real problem, presented by this situation comes from the potential of bringing the virus home with you. Not only do you need to touch your car door, clothes, keys and doorknob, but you also risk contaminating the surfaces inside your home if you forget to wash your hands first thing.
The best ways of mitigating the dangers are to always wash your hands and carefully clean and disinfect your home. And this is precisely what this blog will help you do!
How does eco-friendliness come into play?
Whether you’ve been a devoted eco-friendly enthusiast like us all along, or if you’ve just now trying to turn a greener leaf, you don’t need to give up your green tendencies because of the coronavirus outbreak. Quite the contrary – in the wake of this virus, you’re likely to have difficulties procuring most of the popular commercial cleaning solutions. Now, if you’ve never had to clean your home without using any fancy store-bought products, you might find yourself confused, or even worried. But the lack of readily available supplies at the local stores shouldn’t phase any eco-minded individual! Chances are that, unless the situation becomes really dire, you’ll always have access to an ample supply of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. An important note to make here is that according to the American CDC, vinegar should not be used as a sanitising agent during the coronavirus outbreak, as its molecules will have a difficult time dealing with the COVID-19-infected particles.
If you still aren’t convinced, here are a couple of reasons to avoid commercial cleaning solutions:
- Using gloves doesn’t help as much as you think – even if you’re careful enough and manage to prevent exposure, there is no guarantee that your friends, relatives, pets or children will do the same!
- Toxins linger – The chemicals found in commercial cleaning products can be very detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Even if you take all of the precautions, you are putting yourself at risk just by being exposed to them for a couple of minutes. Add to that the fact that a lot of these damaging toxins can linger (both in fabrics and in the air), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster on your hands!
- You’re already exposed to a high dose of toxicity in your day-to-day life. There are toxins and chemicals in the food, water and air that surround us. If you want to improve your health in the long-term, your best bet is avoiding toxins altogether.
Please remember – Keeping your home clean and disinfected should be your number one priority. If you find yourself unable to obtain the solutions recommended in this blog, you should still go for a commercial product. Your health is your number one priority here. You can’t protect nature if you’re bedridden.
Let’s talk about surfaces. You touch a lot of objects in your home on a daily basis. And even though you make an effort to wash your hands more often than usual, there is still a chance of fabrics sweeping across the doorknobs, doors, sinks and so on. Here’s the thing about germs – they have the tendency to linger. Of course, this shouldn’t give you a cause to panic, but there’s nothing wrong in taking a couple of extra safety measures. Besides, at home, you’re going to be a lot more relaxed than when you’re outside, and it’s easy to imagine that you forget a precaution or two every now and then.
Luckily, the exact same procedures you’ve always used for disinfecting are going to work just fine. A quick and simple disinfectant wipe will allow you to keep most surfaces in your home sanitised and germ-free. So what to use for disinfection?
When it comes to eco-friendly domestic cleaning tasks, hydrogen peroxide is one of the go-to choices. According to the CDC, as little as 3% hydrogen peroxide was enough to render the rhinovirus in eight minutes flat.
Where to use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is excellent for polishing, cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces, tiles, countertops, toilets and sinks.
Experts say that for hard, non-porous surfaces, hydrogen peroxide is one of your best bets. So, strap on your gloves, spray or wipe the surface and give it at least a minute to do its thing. Then, you can safely wipe the solution away and enjoy a safer and healthier home environment.
Please remember to always keep your gloves on when working with hydrogen peroxide. Keep it away from your eyes, mouth, nose and unprotected skin. Additionally, you’d also want to prevent it from getting onto fabrics, such as your clothing or tablecloths, as it can seep into the fabric.
Another method of effectively dealing with pathogens inside your home comes in the form of Isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol). Experts say that, as long as you’re working with a 70% alcohol concentration, you will be able to kill most germs and bacteria, including coronavirus. Simply wipe or spray (using a spray bottle) the surfaces with your solution and let it sit there for about 30 seconds before cleaning.
Higher numbers are not always better!
Keep in mind that, even though most rubbing alcohol solutions come at 70%, the concentration can vary anywhere between 60 and 99%. Seventy percent is your best bet as solutions with higher purity will evaporate into the air too quickly. 100% alcohol evaporates too fast to be effective.
Please remember to always use gloves and keep the alcohol away from your face and exposed skin.
If hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol is not available, then disinfectant wipes can do the trick in a pinch.
The difference between sanitisation and disinfection
The two terms are often used in conjunction, but they don’t mean the same thing. And, even though you want to do both, it’s good to know the difference in case you need to buy specific products. Please note that a product meant for sanitisation will not necessarily be able to act as a disinfectant. Additionally, if you’re using store-bought commercial cleaning products, always consult with the label – different surfaces will have different requirements. Non-porous surfaces will generally need a bit longer to clean effectively, as the liquids might evaporate before they do their thing, and you’d need to reapply your solution.
Sanitisation is the act of reducing the number of germs, found on a surface. The process is rather quick and requires a lot less effort than disinfection. Most solutions will take about a minute tops to do their thing.
Disinfection is the act of outright killing germs. It will generally take longer than sanitisation, with some products requiring as long as 10 minutes to reach optimal effectiveness.
Using disinfectant sprays
If you happen to have some disinfectant spray on hand, you can also use it to quickly deal with your upholstery, carpet, or other areas that you can’t just “wipe down”. And while they might not be as eco-friendly as the other suggestions, disinfectant sprays are more than capable of doing the job in a pinch!
Please remember that disinfectant sprays will have specific requirements, listed on the label. The time it takes for them to “do their thing” will vary, both based on the brand, and on the surfaces that you’re trying to disinfect. Always consult with the label instructions and allow your surfaces ample time to dry out entirely before walking, sitting, or otherwise using them.
Additionally, disinfectant sprays can also deal with countertops, mattresses, tables, and just about anything else that’s listed on their label. If you find yourself unable to obtain hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or disinfectant wipes, just apply some spray onto a paper towel and get to wiping!
Apart from the major surfaces in your home, you should also take note of the smaller items that you still use on a daily basis. For example, our cleaning teams are required to disinfect and sanitise their keys, phones and ID cards multiple times per day. Here’s a quick list of items to keep track of:
- Your computer and laptop (pay extra attention to the keyboard!)
- Your TV, speakers and remote controls
- All electronic items (especially the ones that you take outside with you, like tablets and mobile phones)
- The contents of your purse and wallet – especially debit and credit cards
- Your keys
As the world adjusts to the new reality of COVID-19 as a pandemic, we have more tips to help keep you protected. Here’s how to avoid coronavirus with these nine practical tips to limit exposure without isolating yourself, why you shouldn’t make your own hand sanitizer, and how to help keep the virus off your phone.
Cleaning your car
Keeping your home safe and clean is great, but you can’t do much for the outside. When you go out, you are exposed to all sorts of germs and viruses (not just COVID-19, this is also a general tip), and most of them will have an easy time following you into your car. This is why it’s recommended to clean, sanitise and disinfect your vehicle as often as possible. The most important parts to take note of are:
- The doors and door handles
- The controls
- The keys (or start button)
- The wheel and the shifter
- The seats
- The buttons and knobs on your dashboard
- The sun visor
- The touch screen panels (and all “modern” tech devices that require touching)
- The console itself
- The cup holders
For sanitising the insides of your car, you can use the same methods that we mentioned above – disinfectant wipes and sprays offering the easiest and fastest results. Please keep in mind that generic disinfecting wipes should not be used on leather surfaces or touch screens – they have their own specific requirements and will generally need a specialised product.
For electronics and touchscreens, please follow the user manual. Most touchscreen devices will respond well to microfibre cloths, but this varies based on the model and manufacturer.
General Cleaning Tips
In closing, we’ll provide you with a couple of general cleaning tips, designed to save you time, energy and effort. Try to keep these in mind, and we promise that you’ll have a much smoother and simpler cleaning experience!
Disinfection only works on clean surfaces. There are no disinfectants that can magically get through a dust build-up. If you want your disinfecting and sanitising solutions to work, you need to clean up first.
For general cleaning, plain soap and water can do wonders. Yes, that’s right – you don’t necessarily need fancy commercial cleaning solutions or complicated DIY recipes to get the basics out of the way. And, as we mentioned above, the basics are absolutely vital if you want your disinfecting procedures to work!
Don’t combine commercial cleaning products. Ever. The only exception here is if they were designed to be used in tandem, and the instructions for safely doing that are presented by the manufacturer.
Soft and porous surfaces are challenging to disinfect thoroughly. Germs, viruses and bacteria have a way of “hiding” within the fabrics, and the only way to get them out entirely is by using specialised products or calling in the experts.
Always test your cleaning solutions before you use them. This refers to both store-bought commercial cleaning solutions and DIY home recipes. No matter what the manual says, what that expert in the video claims, or what the ebook author swears by – always give them a test drive! Simply use a few drops on a “hidden” spot of your choosing and look for adverse effects like discolouration.
When cleaning surfaces which come in contact with your food, like kitchen counters, tabletops or cutting boards, always give them an extra rinse (unless instructed otherwise by the label).
It’s better to clean in short, frequent sessions, rather than in large, home-wide ones. Not only does this tip help out with staying on top of your long-term domestic cleaning schedule, but it is also absolutely vital in the case of a viral outbreak. The last thing that you’ll want to do right now is to allow dirt, dust or germs to build up in your home! A short and quick daily session is much more effective than a three-hours-long weekend one. As an added benefit, the cleaner your home is, the less need there will be for toxin-leaden commercial cleaning solutions. And, if you want to stay as eco-friendly as possible, this should be your primary concern.
Work on a schedule. Once you get accustomed to your schedule, you’ll find that you can get through tasks faster and smoother. Additionally, in the times of a crisis, a robust plan will ensure that you keep your attention focused where it needs to be and dramatically decrease the chance of skipping or forgetting about tasks. A schedule can be anything from a quick and straightforward checklist on your tablet or mobile phone, to a detailed write-up in your notebook. As an added benefit, you’ll also get to enjoy the pleasant feeling of “ticking things off your list” whenever you complete a task. It’s a win-win scenario!
Take a look at how the pros do it. Professional cleaning companies will often tell you that they can clean up your premises much quicker than you can do it on your own. And, yes, it does have a bit to do with equipment and experience, but it’s actually the know-how that makes all the difference! Simple things like cleaning from top-to-bottom, going room-by-room or taking the time to rearrange items before and after your session can really shorten your sessions.