As the infection rate of coronavirus continues to rise in the United States, it’s increasingly hard to find cleaning products and disinfectant sprays. Many consumers are rushing to their local grocery stores to purchase antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer, but there are other ways to can clean your living spaces. Here are some tips for cleaning your countertops, furniture, and other parts of the home to protect you and your family from COVID-19.

Photo Courtesy of the CDC

If you are struggling to source cleaning products or want an alternative to big-name brands, there are several ways to clean your living areas. Cleaning trafficked areas that get used frequently, such as bathroom faucets and kitchen counters, three times a day with a product that kills germs can help prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19.  Clorox spray and wipes, traditional soap and water, bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide are all products that work in destroying harmful germs and bacteria.

The Art of the Scrub

Photo courtesy of HGTV

It’s not just about what you scrub with, but also how hard you scrub. Using force when scrubbing with soap and water can break through the coronavirus’ protective envelope.  Using pressure when cleaning could be just as effective in killing the virus as the chemicals themselves.

TIP: When you’re done scrubbing, discard the towel or leave it in a bowl of hot, soapy water. This will help to kill any virus particles that could have survived.

How To Clean Hard-Surfaces

Disinfecting With Bleach

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

For countertops, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise a bleach solution containing 1/3 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water to wipe away the virus.  After you’ve cleaned with the bleach mixture, make sure to rinse the surface with water to prevent discoloration of the surface.

TIP:  Bleach scratches metal and can corrode it over time. It is not advised to clean stainless steel appliances or faucets with a bleach mixture or spray.

Disinfecting with Isopropyl Alcohol

Solutions with at least 70-percent Isopropyl alcohol are very effective against viruses like COVID-19 on hard surfaces. Once you clean the surface with soap and water, apply the isopropyl alcohol solution with a spray bottle and let it sit on the surface for 30 seconds. This will give the solution a good amount of time to disinfect.

TIP: Alcohol is safer for countertops and should not discolor them like bleach.

Disinfecting with Hydrogen Peroxide

Photo courtesy of CleanMama

Household Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) is proven to be effective in cleaning away rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.  Pour the Hydrogen Peroxide into a spray bottle, spray it onto the surface and let it sit for at least 1 minute.  This will help to break down the coronavirus.

TIP: Hydrogen Peroxide is okay to use on a variety of metal surfaces but can discolor fabrics if you get it on sofas or your clothes.

 

How-To Clean Wood Surfaces

Photo courtesy of DIY Network

Furniture

Mix water and some mild liquid dish detergent and spray it directly on wood sealed furniture. Wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth and dry it with another clean cloth. This will help to disinfect the surface from germs while keeping the wood as fresh as possible. For a more natural approach, a vinegar solution can help to disinfect wood surfaces without compromising the stain or finish.

According to the website Hunker, “Mix one cup of vinegar, one cup of olive oil and four cups of warm water. Use a soft cloth to apply the cleaning solution to the wood. Dry it with another soft, clean cloth. No rinsing is necessary.”

TIP: Wood furniture with a plastic finish (often found on kitchen tables or children’s furniture) can be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner. If your furniture does not have a plastic finish, make sure you do not soak the wood and always make sure you wipe any excess water/solution off.

Hardwood Floors

Floors are often some of the dirtiest spots in a home. If you have young children, making sure these areas are sanitized is crucial. According to an article on SFGate, a simple all-natural water/vinegar solution is an easy way to keep your floors clean while also protecting your family.

“Combine 1/2 cup of white vinegar with a gallon of warm water in a bucket and mix well. The acetic acid content of vinegar kills bacteria and disinfects your wood floors. Dip your mop into the vinegar and water solution and squeeze out the excess liquid.” says the site. 

 

How-To Clean Fabrics: Carpets, Rugs, Upholstery, etc.

Photo courtesy of The Oregon Live

Fabric-care and sanitization can be a bit tricky. For items like drapes and pillow coverings that can be sanitized in the laundry, make sure the machine is set to the highest water temperature setting. The same goes for the dryer’s settings. Just always make sure all of the items have been dried completely before returning to their homes.

For items that can’t be thrown into the wash such as carpets, rugs, and upholstery, you can spot-clean with products such as Sani-Spritz Spray or Purell Multi-Surface Disinfectant spray.

According to SFGate, “upholstered and fabric-covered furniture pieces are among the easiest items to disinfect. Simply remove all the loose cushions and spritz the piece all over with a fabric-safe disinfectant spray. Spray the cushions separately and allow all the pieces to dry completely.”

TIP: Always make sure you follow the fabric care instructions as noted on the item’s tag. If you don’t know what the symbols mean, this handy guide from REI can help you to determine proper cleaning and care.

How-To Clean Leather

Photo courtesy of De Hygienique

Whether you have a leather couch, or a fancy sports-car with a full leather interior, sanitizing your leather items is crucial. To start, vacuum small crevice areas. Then, take a white cloth dampened with dish soap and water, and wipe down your leather upholstery.  Using this technique will clean away germs while maintaining the color and integrity of the leather.

TIP: Vinegar is a natural, safe alternative to cleaning leather. Just always make sure you wipe off any excess liquid/solution from the leather when finished.

DO NOT MIX CHEMICALS

It may be tempting to pour all these chemicals together to make a super-cleaner, however, RESIST THE TEMPTATION. When mixed together, strong chemicals can create toxic fumes that can permanently damage your body, even in severe cases cause death. Below you’ll find a chart to help you navigate these intense mixtures. Just remember, when in doubt, do you research! Here’s a helpful link that discusses the dangers of chemical mixtures.