Cleaning or Disinfection: Which One To Do First? During this pandemic, many people are striving to properly clean and disinfect their offices and homes. Both tasks are important. However, one must be done in the proper order.
This involves understanding the difference between cleaning and disinfection. Let us examine deeply the differences between the two and which one is appropriate to do first.
Cleaning is the physical removal of dirt and grime on a surface. It also involves organizing books on a shelf or putting toys away in a chest. Engaging in vacuuming or dusting are other good forms of cleaning.
But just cleaning a surface only removes a portion of its germs. You have to do a lot more than this if you want a thorough clean. That’s where disinfection comes in.
Disinfection is the complete removal of germs on a surface. When you disinfect a room, home, or building, you are killing the germs that grow within these areas.
Sanitizing is another form of disinfecting. Many hospitals, laboratories, and other facilities are using strong disinfectant cleaners to kill COVID-19. These cleansers can kill the virus in up to a minute and reduce its chances of spreading.
To stop the spread of any contagious virus, you must clean and disinfect every frequently-used surface. However, you must perform these tasks in the proper order.
Many experts, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggest cleaning surfaces before you disinfect. Some advisory organizations like the Food Standards Agency (FSA) feel the proper procedure consists of four steps.
The FSA outlines the following steps:
Chemical disinfectants work more effectively on completely clean surfaces. Because of this, you must clean soiled surfaces before disinfecting them. Cleaning and disinfection serve two different purposes.
Cleaning can visibly remove the germs, but doesn’t exactly kill them. The disinfectant process could kill those germs and reduce the spread of infection further.
Some products on the market clean and disinfect surfaces and objects. While these one-step solutions do save time and money in affording these products, they may not be ideal in removing all soils effectively.
For example, most countertops in public bathrooms are made of tile and grout. Cleaning and disinfectant products can eliminate most of the dirt and kill some surface-level pathogens. But they won’t eliminate the dirt stuck in the pores of the tile and grout.
Using separate products for cleaning and disinfecting will get the job done effectively.
It’s important to use the right products when disinfecting surfaces. Using the wrong products is hazardous to the environment and people’s health. Reading the labels properly on products before using is very essential.
What products should you use when disinfecting? Most experts suggest chlorine bleach. It is inexpensive and effective at killing viruses such as COVID-19 and the flu. When disinfecting surfaces against the flu, leave the solution on for 10 minutes and then rinse.
When disinfecting against COVID-19, air dry after applying the solution to the surface. Use bleaching solutions at very low dilutions. Make enough for what you will need for the day. Follow this chart in making proper bleaching solutions.
When using disinfectants like bleaching solutions, there are other safety measures you must exercise. When using this at home, you must keep out of reach from children. Making fresh solutions daily will keep it from breaking down over time.
Never combine chlorine bleach with ammonia-containing products. Toxic gases are created once they are mixed. Exposure to these gases causes all sorts of health problems like coughing and shortness of breath.
Whether you’re cleaning a commercial or residential bathroom, you must understand the importance of cleaning before disinfecting. Read all product labels before using them. Clean visibly dirty surfaces before disinfecting.
Use chlorine bleach safely and at very low dilutions. Make just enough for the day. Following these tasks effectively will help in the fight against COVID-19 and other contagious viruses.