Some homeowners worry about using disinfectant around the house. There are, however, some situations where plain old soap and water simply won’t do the trick, and in most cases disinfectants really are needed to keep the home clean and hygienic. Bleach products are perfectly safe to use providing you are careful and follow the instructions on the label. But, there are also many other cleaning product options – antibacterial spray and disinfectant wipes, for example.
Why Are Disinfectants Important?
While soap and water are perfectly fine cleansers for parts of the home that are not associated with hygiene, they are not suitable for areas that should be kept clear of germs and bacteria at all times. Germs in our home can make us ill. Anything from e-coli to influenza can spread rapidly – if even a single cell of bacteria is present, it can multiply 8 million times in just one day! Good quality disinfectants, such as antibacterial wipes and disinfectant spray, can kill close to 100 percent of nasty bacteria, leaving behind the small amount that typically isn’t dangerous to our health.
What Areas of the Home Need Disinfectant?
The highest risk areas in your home are the kitchen and the bathroom. In the kitchen, work surfaces and handles – particularly cupboard and refrigerator handles – are badly affected by germs. An E-coli bacterium comes from raw meats, listeria from soft cheeses, and salmonella from chicken and raw eggs. In the bathroom, waste particles can stick to the hands, which can then be transferred to the flush and the door handle. Viruses such as the flu, rotavirus, and rhinovirus – which cause muscle aches, vomiting, and cold symptoms respectively – can also breed well in bathrooms due to the warm, steamy atmosphere that germs just love. As work surfaces and handles can’t be washed in a basin of hot soapy water, antibacterial spray and disinfectant wipes are ideal for these areas.
Antibacterial Spray or Disinfectant Wipes: Which is Best?
Both disinfectant wipes and antibacterial spray will do the job. The best product really depends on personal preference and the contours of the area in which you’re working. You may find a disinfectant spray easier to use on irregular shaped objects – such as the toilet flush – or on harder to reach areas. Whichever you choose, here’s how to use each effectively:
- If a surface has any obvious dirt, wipe this off first using a damp, soapy cloth.
- Read the product’s instructions: some will simply need to air dry, while others will require a wipe afterwards to remove any excess liquid and residue.
- Squirt the disinfectant spray directly onto the surface.
- Do not rinse!
- Again, wipe off any obvious dirt and grime with a damp cloth and warm, soapy water.
- Use the antibacterial wipes in much the same way as you would use a cloth or sponge; wipe the material over surfaces, paying attention to all necessary areas.
- Disinfectant wipes can be useful for large, flat, easy to reach areas, such as kitchen worktops and toilet seats.
- Read the instructions to see if wiping with a dry cloth is necessary, but most antibacterial wipes can be safely left to air dry without causing contamination to food.
How Often Do I Need to Use Disinfectants?
Regular disinfectant use should definitely be added to every homeowner’s weekly cleaning schedule.
In the kitchen:
- Work surfaces should be treated with disinfectants after each food preparation, and hands can be washed with an antibacterial soap after touching any raw meat or eggs.
- Refrigerators and cupboard handles should also be cleaned on a weekly basis.
In the bathroom:
- Get into the habit of using a disinfectant spray or antibacterial wipe on the toilet flush and door handle, each week, as these are very high risk areas.