We are bang in the middle of a historical pandemic. Good sanitation is probably the only thing standing in between you and a life-threatening viral infection. If you haven’t seriously thought of disinfecting the surfaces you come in contact with on a daily basis, now would be a good time to do it. Pathogens can survive on some surfaces for quite a while causing them to infect more people, which then becomes a widespread community transmission. Which is why governments across the world are collectively agreeing that social distancing and staying at home is mankind’s best hope to defeat the dreaded Covid-19.
While we are all staying inside and keeping yourself safe from exposure to the coronavirus, we could probably take the time out to give our homes a deep disinfection treatment. This is no longer just a fun weekend chore, it is the need of the hour. We have to curb any possible chance that the virus could breed and spread. Even though it may not survive much longer when not attached to a host, it is best that we don’t take that risk.
Disinfecting your home is easier than you think. You may not need medical equipment or strong formulations. Just a few regular household ingredients should do the trick. So here’s an easy and systematic way to disinfect your home.
#1 Identify The Spots That Need Thorough Disinfection
Here’s where the first contact is made by an outsider and by you when step in and out of your home. This is also the spot where you collect your deliveries and thus, it’s safe to say that the entrance to your home is where the risk of exposure is hightest. Doormats, door knobs, the calling bell switch, handles on your door, walls close to the main door etc are surfaces that could become breeding grounds for all kinds of pathogens.
Microbes that come from food can spread quite easily and infect you and your entire family quite badly. Even when there is no pandemic happening, disinfecting your kitchen regularly could save you many trips to the hospital. The sink, cutting boards, especially the ones you use for meat products and tools you use to cook/cut ingredients are prime candidates for bacteria to breed on.
Bedrooms, bathrooms and every other part of the house too will need care and if a sick person is staying in a particular space or recently stayed somewhere in your house, a thorough cleaning is recommended. You’ll also have to disinfect objects that your hands come in close contact with – remotes, door knobs, phones, tablets, things with a handle – you get the idea.
#2 The Right Disinfecting Agents
Well, to be honest, the disinfectant you pick sometimes have to be based on the kind of cleaning you do. But that is a lab protocol sort of thing and since not extremely dangerous pathogens make their way to your house ( if they did, you would not be reading this article now), you may go with milder albeit effective cleaning agents. Here are some common disinfectants.
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Good old soap and warm water
- Store-bought disinfectants like Dettol, Savlon etc.,
Any of these can be used directly or in a diluted form to scrub down a surface of your choice to effectively wipe out any trace of microbial life.
#3 Clean First, Disinfect Second
Don’t confuse the two. Cleaning would simply mean removing dirt and debris. Disinfecting is the process of removing microbial life form or killing pathogens on a particular surface. Just cleaning or just disinfecting alone would not help much. The two when done one after the other offer the best protection against diseases. If possible scrub and vacuum clean your entire house before you begin disinfecting surfaces and corners.
#4 Trash Cans
These require an entire textbook on their own to explain how to be properly disinfected. They aren’t possible places for microbial colonies. They ARE places that teem with microbial life. Each time you clear the trash, spray liberally with a disinfectant, let sit for at least 15 minutes and then wash down thoroughly under running water. Let dry completely before using them again. The space around the trash cans, floor/walls/corners too need routine cleaning to ensure insects and toxic goo don’t accumulate.
#5 First & Foremost – Personal Protection
The only reason we didn’t mention this as the first point was because it isn’t a step in cleaning per se but this is THE MOST important part. While you clean, you stand a high chance to be exposed to whatever pathogen that could be lurking in the corners of your home. To avoid getting infected yourself, here’s what you need to do.
- Wear gloves. No compromises here. This isn’t just to keep your skin safe from becoming a new bacterial colony, it is also to save your skin from the harsh chemicals that you’ll be using to disinfect your home.
- Mask – fumes from cleaning solutions, airborne pathogens are all quite bad for your respiratory tract. If you don’t have a mask, use any cloth to cover your face and mouth.
- Clear glasses- optional but good to have. The last thing you want is bleach splashing into your eyeballs.
This Too Shall Pass
This is a pandemic and that is the reality. Many have lost their lives and the world is racing to find a way to curb this. Social distancing is the cheapest and easiest way to control the spread of coronavirus. Do your part, stay indoors, stay safe and use your time productively. It is not easy to stay indoors for long periods so engage in happy activities, pick up a hobby, keep your mood light. Remember, mental health is important too. If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of Covid-19, get help at the earliest. Stay strong, we shall overcome.