Keeping surfaces clean is an effective way to keep our families healthy in addition to important personal hygiene such as hand-washing and avoiding touching your face.

Most studies show that the coronavirus spreads primarily through person-to-person contact. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, the COVID-19 virus can remain active on surfaces up to 72 hours. This makes regular cleaning and sanitizing an effective way to protect the people in your home.

Cleaning and Sanitizing – Are they Different?

There is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing. Each plays a key role in maintaining a healthy home. Cleaning removes dirt, germs and viruses but doesn’t necessarily kill them. Sanitizing is the use of disinfectants to kill bacteria and fungus and deactivate viruses.

Make Daily Sanitizing Part of Your Routine

Remember, personal hygiene is your best defense against illness. However, it is also important to wipe frequently touched surfaces once or twice a day. This would include door handles, light switches, kitchen counters, faucets, toilets, phones, computers and remote controls. It’s also good to sanitize the surfaces in your car and workspace on a regular basis.

Most common disinfectant solutions such as alcohol, bleach, and household disinfectants are effective against the COVID-19 virus. Your disinfectant should be used with a clean towel or wipe. Microfiber towels are the best choice because they remove the most dirt and contaminants. Gloves are not necessary as long as you regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Follow the Safe Rule of 3:

1. Clean First – Before you disinfect any surface you must be sure to clean away the dirt and grime an all-purpose cleaning solution.

2. Spray and Stay – Then spray on your disinfectant but don’t just spray and wipe. Follow the directions on the label for effective contact time for the product to do its job. This is called the dwell time and it refers to the amount of time the surface must stay wet to disinfect. Dwell time varies by the type of bacteria or virus. It’s usually 5-10 minutes which is much longer than most people realize.

3. Once and Done – After the full dwell time has passed, wipe once and then flip to a clean side of your towel when using paper, cotton or microfiber towels. If using sanitizing wipes, by the 3rd doorknob you’re doing more harm than good since you are spreading germs around. Wipe once and toss.

For soft surfaces such as clothing, bedding, towels, and even stuffed animals, regular washing in hot water with detergent will suffice. A disinfectant spray can be applied to upholstery and other soft surfaces that cannot be washed.

There’s an old saying that “A Clean Home is a Happy Home” but these days we could say “A Clean Home is a HEALTHY Home”. You can make a difference in your family’s health with some simple practices to keep your home clean.


Imani Hamilton is the owner of Hello Bright Cleaning Co which helps busy families and individuals have more free time by doing all the cleaning for them. Hello Bright Cleaning Co is a partner with Cleaning for a Reason and provides free cleaning services for cancer patients undergoing treatment. Imani lives in the Asheville, NC Area.

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