In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are rethinking how they disinfect the surfaces in their homes and workspaces.
Based on what currently is known about the novel coronavirus, it could remain viable on surfaces for hours or days.
Understandably, there has been a large demand for cleaning supplies and some shoppers are coming up empty handed at local stores. It’s easy to make a simple disinfecting solution at home with just bleach and water. The diluted bleach solution can be used if appropriate for the surface for disinfecting purposes. Getting your home clean and disinfected doesn’t require commercially prepared or name-brand disinfecting products.
To prepare a large amount of bleach solution, mix one-third cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water. To prepare a smaller amount, mix four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Do not use scented bleach, it will not disinfect. WARNING- never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. For easy application of a bleach/water disinfecting solution, put the mixture in a spray bottle. If the bleach has been sitting on the shelf in the laundry room for longer than a year, buy a new bottle. Bleach naturally breaks down over time.
There is a difference in cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but instead removes them, which lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to using chemicals on surfaces to kill germs. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove the germs, but kills the germs on a surface after cleaning it. This also helps to further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Tables, doorknobs, countertops, light switches, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, toilet handles and toilet seats are high-touch surfaces in the home and office. When cleaning and disinfecting, wear disposable gloves to protect your skin and discard after each cleaning. If surfaces are dirty, clean them first and then disinfect. Be sure to allow for proper ventilation.
In addition, it is critical for people to keep their hands clean. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If that is not an option, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, can be used.
To learn more about making a bleach disinfecting solution by Dr. Gina Peek check out this video that can be viewed at https://okla.st/2J9wMM5. She also demonstrates the proper way to use hand sanitizer in this video at https://okla.st/3dicb6h.
Rachel Lockwood is the Family Consumer Science Extension Educator with Pittsburg County OSU Cooperative Extension Service. For more information related to this topic or related FCS programs contact Rachel at 918-423-4120, email Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org or on Pittsburg County OSU Website http://oces.okstate.edu/pittsburg/ or find Pittsburg County OSU Extension Center or Pittsburg County OHCE on Facebook.
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