Follow this bleach
recipe: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons
of bleach per quart of water.
Make sure to properly ventilate when
disinfecting with bleach.
And check to
see if your bleach has expired. Who knew it could? After about 9 months to a
year, and if it smells less bleachy, it’s lost its disinfecting power. Time for
a new jug.
Tip:Don’t mix bleach with
anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical
reaction. For instance, bleach + alcohol is a deadly combo.
disinfect your home if you don't have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol
(isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, so long as it’s at least
70% alcohol, according to the CDC. The alcohol concentration will be listed on
the bottle. Rubbing alcohol you buy should already be diluted, unlike bleach.
Is There a Such a Thing as Too
According to an EPA fact sheet,
studies have found that using some disinfectant products can cause germs to
The EPA has issued
a list of disinfectants on
the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA
registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you
have a match.
Erica Marie Hartman,
an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.,
whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are
your best bets.
What about the various
disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)? Hartman says
the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could
become resistant to viruses over time.
Surfaces That Need Your Attention
With your preferred
disinfectant, wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches,
tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets daily or more often, if
someone in your home is sick.
Contact time is
another key aspect of surface sanitizing. "Disinfection isn't
instantaneous," says Hartman. [For a bleach solution], you want to leave
it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. "
The CDC has updated its guidance to say that Covid-19 is
now thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus
can survive for a short time on some surfaces, it is unlikely to spread from domestic
or international mail, products, or packaging. However people may be infected
by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching
their own mouth, nose, or eyes, even though this is not believed to be the main
way the virus spreads.
Not All Floors Can Handle
For your nonporous
floors, like those in the bathroom, the CDC recommends mopping with the bleach
Avoid bleach on
hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a
disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.
Cleaning Isn’t Disinfecting
you-might-be-surprised files: Disinfecting with bleach isn’t actually cleaning.
If you also need to clean your countertops of dirt and grime, do that first
with soap and water. Then use the bleach solution or rubbing alcohol to combat
Killing Microbes on Clothes
Most washing machines
today do a bang-up job on dirty clothes with cold water, which is best for
energy savings. But, and especially if you have a sick person in your house,
the hot-water setting followed by a high-heat dry for about a ½ hour to 45
minutes is best for virus eradication.
Don’t forget about
your laundry hamper. Wipe it down like you would other surfaces. You can also
use a reusable liner bag, which you can launder with the clothes.
What If I’m Selling My House,
and Inviting More Germs In?
How to disinfect your
home when it's for sale? Virtual showings and tours are the ideal, and your
agent can set those up.
However, if there's a
need to have someone come in, talk to your agent who will work with you to
establish a hygienic protocol, including
requiring visitors to wash hands with
soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or
wear booties before
entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in,
but potentially germs.
In addition, many
agents are eliminating open houses.
After any showings,
practice your surface wipe-down routine.
Finally, when you work
with disinfectants, practice some self care. "Alcohol and bleach can be
very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your
hands," Hartman says.