How to sanitise your home safely
Good hygiene is the No.1 defence against the spread of germs – so how do you effectively cleanse your home to keep nasties at bay?
Preventing the spread of germs is a necessity amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Maintaining good hand hygiene has been a key health directive and, the federal health department says home cleanliness is of the utmost importance because coronaviruses “are readily inactivated by cleaning and disinfection”.
Honey, the germs are home
From the moment we walk inside, we unwittingly bring germs with us.
Author and household guru Shannon Lush recently told House of Wellness Radio that your “first port of call is to remove shoes and leave them outside” before heading to a sink to wash your hands and your face.
- Vital step: How to wash your hands properly
How often should you clean your house during coronavirus pandemic?
It’s always good practice to regularly clean general household surfaces and fittings, and immediately wipe soiled areas or spillages.
A recent health expert panel on COVID-19 noted that our frequency of household cleans should now be “more often than usual”.
The Organised Housewife blogger Katrina Springer says that in addition to regular household cleaning, it’s advisable to clean frequently used areas “like the bathroom and kitchen every day”.
Why cleaning high-touch surfaces is essential
High-touch surfaces such as light switches, door handles, phones, remotes, benches, sinks and toilets are prone to bacteria build-up.
In the health expert panel, La Trobe University Associate Professor and epidemiologist Hassan Valley notes that “paying more attention” to cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas is crucial because coronavirus can survive for extended periods on surfaces.
As for minimally touched areas like floors, ceilings, walls and blinds, the Department of Health’s advice is to continue routinely cleaning these areas.
Clean, then disinfect
Disinfectant is vital in the removal of germs – but that doesn’t mean you can skip the cleaning and jump straight to disinfecting.
The Department of Health explains that “dirt and grime can inactivate many disinfectants”, which is why home sanitisation must be a two-step process.
“To start cleaning, remove any dust and dirt build-up from the surfaces by wiping them down with an all-purpose general cleanser,” advises Katrina.
“Then disinfect the surface with an antibacterial cleaner to remove germs and bacteria.”
Cleaning essentials to stock up on
Stocking up your home sanitising armoury?
Katrina suggests an all-purpose cleanser to remove dirt and dust on surfaces, and an antibacterial cleanser to remove germs and viruses – as well as an array of sponges, wipes and paper towel.
There’s an abundance of cleaning and disinfectant products, so always check the manufacturer’s claim on the label to ensure the product is appropriate for killing germs.
Health experts says detergent or soapy water for cleaning, and a diluted bleach disinfectant, are adequate – along with a little elbow grease.
“The important thing is to make sure you cover surfaces properly with disinfectant and scrub with pressure using a sponge or towel,” says Prof Hassan.
And while cleaning, always ensure there is adequate ventilation and wear disposable gloves.
- Eco-friendly: Your DIY guide to household cleaners
How to make your own home antibacterial products
- 1 cup of high proof alcohol (methylated spirits, isopropyl alcohol, or strong vodka of at least 60 per cent by volume alcohol)
- 2 teaspoons of glycerine
- 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
You will need:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 12 drops lavender oil
- 5 drops of your favourite essential oil
- 2 teaspoons detergent
- Micro-fibre cloths (about 10-12 cloths)
- Large airtight container (about four litres)
- Place cloths into large container.
- In a jug, combine water, vinegar, essential oil and detergent, mix to combine.
- Pour the liquid over cloths and seal container.
Written by Sharon Hunt.