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Protecting your home from bugs, big and small (microscopic, even!), is vital to having a healthy, safe home. With coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the rise in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that the best way to avert getting sick is to avoid coming into contact with the virus in the first place. A successful virus prevention plan starts with properly disinfecting your home.

WHAT IS DISINFECTING?

Did you know that there’s a difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing?

Cleaning is when you use soap and water to remove dirt, grime, and germs from a surface. Note that this doesn’t kill germs; it just removes some of them.

Disinfecting kills germs on a surface. A disinfected surface poses no threat to public health.

Sanitizing is the process of killing enough germs to be at an acceptable level as specified by various public health requirements (schools, hospitals, etc.).

WHY DISINFECTION MATTERS

Disinfection is crucial to limiting your chances of getting sick. Wiping down frequently touched surfaces in your home (doorknobs, light switches, appliance handles, cabinet doors, etc.) with disinfectants reduces the likelihood of coming into contact with a live virus.

You’ve probably heard about the importance of “flattening the curve.” The New York Times has a great graph that explains this. Basically, by decreasing the likelihood of everyone getting sick at once (by doing things like disinfecting and social distancing), we give our healthcare system the time it needs to properly treat and care for those who do fall ill. Disinfecting our homes is vital to helping this effort.

TYPES OF DISINFECTANTS

1. EPA-registered household disinfectants. These disinfectants have brand names that will likely sound familiar: Lysol, Clorox, etc. Check out this list of products that will kill the virus responsible for COVID-19: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.

2. Alcohol-based solutions. Make sure the solution you use has at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC.

3. Diluted household bleach. This may be the easiest—and most economical—option for disinfectants. Plus, you probably already have everything you need to make it in your laundry room already.

Simply mix 1/3 cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Need less? Use 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. This smaller batch size can be for storing in a sprayer bottle—just be sure to mark the bottle for safety.

When making your own cleaning solutions, always use caution. Use the chart below as a reference of what products to never mix.

Keep virus germs at bay by disinfecting surfaces as part of your daily routine. Place the products in easy reach and have everyone in the household help. This small chore can make a big difference in helping your family stay well and in flattening the curve for everyone.

SOURCES
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/ece_curriculumfinal.pdf
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/prevention/Pages/Cleaners-Sanitizers-Disinfectants.aspx
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/science/coronavirus-curve-mitigation-infection.html
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