Things are pretty crazy right now, aren’t they? Six months into 2020, and we’re fighting the pandemic, which is still here, as strong as ever. But we’re stronger, and we’ll overcome it eventually!
Meanwhile, the focus is on learning to live with the virus, since we can’t be locked in forever. The challenge is in carrying out our everyday tasks by following guidelines laid out by government organizations as well as the WHO, so we can keep ourselves, our families as well as others safe.
A big part of living with the coronavirus is hygiene, or, more specifically, sanitization. As we all know, the best defense is keeping your hands clean at all times. This virus spreads quite easily, and since most people don’t show any symptoms, we never know who could be a carrier.
The latest research shows that the virus may be able to live on surfaces like steel and cardboard for a few days. More research is being conducted on this, and it’s advised to keep everything around you spotless and disinfected.
Please remember that sanitizing is not the same as cleaning. Cleaning refers to mopping, dusting, or sweeping, which removes dust and dirt. However, sanitization removes pathogens or germs. In the current scenario, we need to do both, so let’s look at some effective tips for getting sanitization right.
5 Effective Tips for Getting Sanitization Right
Get the Supplies
The first thing to do is to stock up on the supplies you’ll need. You need cleaning solutions for getting rid of dirt as well as disinfecting solutions to kill germs. Again, you may need different solutions for different surfaces.
As far as possible, use plant-based solutions that are safer for your health as well as for the environment. For instance, Mamaearth is launching a Plant-Based Multipurpose Cleanser that’s even safe enough to be used by babies.
You can also make your own disinfecting solutions. The CDC has provided a quick DIY for a Homemade Bleach Disinfectant Spray. Mix a liter of water with four teaspoons household bleach in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray generously on the surface and let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it with a wet cloth.
Another spray solution can be made with 355 ml Isopropyl alcohol, two teaspoons glycerin, one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide, and 90 ml of distilled water. Put all of these in a spray bottle and for use.
NEVER mix bleach with any other cleaning chemical. While hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are effective on their own, they should never be mixed together.
Keep Personal Hygiene in Check
As mentioned earlier, the most important thing to do is to wash your hands. Frequently and properly. Scrub hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – the time equivalent to singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. If you don’t have access to soap and water, a hand sanitizer will suffice. When sneezing, ensure that you cover your mouth with your elbow or a tissue.
As much as possible, stay home. Limit going out for work and to buy essentials. If you do have to step outside, wear a face mask that follows the CDC guidelines. These guidelines include multiple layers for protection, a secure fit, ample space for breathing, and should be made with a washable cloth. Do not buy or stock up on N95 masks as health workers need them at the frontline. Don’t forget to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from others.
Clean and Disinfect your House
Clean all hard surfaces like floors, tables, and countertops with a cleaner, followed by a disinfectant. Remember not to wipe off the disinfectant immediately. Most disinfectants need a ‘sitting time’ of five to ten minutes to be truly effective. Read the label on your disinfectant and allow it the prescribed time.
Soft surfaces like sofa upholstery, carpets, and cushions need to be cleaned as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also wash them with vinegar in warm water. After a thorough wash, use a disinfectant meant for softer materials and follow the instructions on the label.
When cleaning around the house, don’t forget to some of these areas:
- Computer mouse and keyboard
- Door handles
- Backs and arms of hard chairs
- Game controllers
These areas tend to accumulate germs faster and need to be disinfected regularly.
Pay special attention to the bathrooms and disinfect all the areas. Wipe down the washbasin and bathtub while cleaning the floors and walls. Don’t forget bathroom hotspots like the toilet seat, flush and tap handles.
Disinfecting electronics need extra care. Use a disinfectant spray to wipe the screen, side buttons, and camera. Then use a clean cloth to dry it thoroughly. If your device has a case, take it out and clean it separately.
Spick and Span Kitchen
Disinfect all parts of the kitchen after cleaning, paying special attention to the countertops, sink, and cabinets. Again, don’t forget hot spots like fridge handles, cabinet handles, and microwave. If you can, remove the stove knobs and wash them. Once a month, sanitize the kitchen drain by pouring down a mixture of 1 teaspoon bleach and 1 liter of water.
As of today, there is no evidence of coronavirus contamination via food or food packaging. Wash fruits and vegetables that you buy in clean running water. Do not use soap on them as it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Pay attention to cleaning sponges and cloths, which need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. You can wash them in hot water, or place the wet sponge in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Always let these air dry completely, preferably in the sun.
The WHO recommends following the standard precautions for food safety even during these testing times. Maintain separate chopping boards for raw meat and produce like fruits and vegetables. Store food at the right temperatures and eat freshly cooked food only. The coronavirus is thermolabile, which means it is destroyed at cooking temperatures.
Maintain Utmost Hygiene around Kids
The latest studies show that children exposed to coronavirus are at greater risk of getting Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). All rules that apply to adults go for kids as well – make sure not to use a mask on children under two years of age.
Keep kids safe by teaching them to wash their hands correctly. Along with hand washing, teach them to sneeze into their elbows or a tissue.
If you have babies, make sure you take out the diaper trash every day. Clean and disinfect the changing table after every diaper change. Sterilize all their feeding utensils and pacifiers in boiling water or an electric sterilizer. Babies and young children tend to put everything in their mouth, so keep their hands clean at all times.
Toys made of non-porous material can be cleaned in a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Soak the toys in this mixture for half an hour. Then rinse with hot water and let them air dry. Wipe down with a sanitizer or use a spray to finish up. Toys made of porous materials can be washed in the washing machine on a hot setting.
Along with these tips, follow basic safety like wearing gloves when handling any kind of cleaning solution and keeping windows and doors open for ventilation. NEVER mix cleaning products and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Last but not least, stay updated with information from reliable sources, like the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.