How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home and Your Stuff

Are you overpaying for car, home, or renters insurance? Compare to find out in 45 seconds.
Quotes from up to 45 companies · No long forms · No phone calls
Disinfecting your home and belongings is important, especially in pandemic times. (Photo: @titovailona via Twenty20)
According to Healthline, the most common location where people contract germs is in the home. There is no time like the present to properly clean and disinfect your home and your personal belongings, especially since you may be confined to the home in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Consider the surfaces you touch over and over each day that can retain germs or respiratory droplets for hours, if not days. These germs can be ingested and lead to an illness such as COVID-19. The items in your home that most often collect germs include doorknobs, window coverings, light switches, coffeemakers, TV remotes, computer keyboards and mice, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, cell phones, wallets, handbags, keys, makeup and healthcare products, and even your hand sanitizer bottle.
Read on to discover the four best household products you can use to clean and disinfect your home and your stuff — and potentially reduce your health risks during a pandemic.

Bleach, a Low-Cost Disinfectant Known to Kill the Worst Types of Bacteria

Bleach is perhaps the most effective in killing the worst bacteria such as E. coli, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and salmonella. Before wiping surfaces with bleach, the bleach must be diluted. Use about a third of a cup of bleach for one gallon of water. Spray or wipe all surfaces with the solution. There are also many over-the-counter bleach products, blends, and wipes that are already diluted and safer for usage.
Warning: Keep in mind that bleach is hazardous to humans, animals, and certain materials. It should not touch the skin or be ingested. It is known to turn surfaces or objects white, and the discoloration is not fixable.

Rubbing Alcohol, an Effective Antiseptic and Disinfectant

Both isopropyl and ethanol (rubbing) alcohol are common, inexpensive household products that are extremely useful in the eradication of bacteria and some viruses such as the coronavirus. There are various concentrations of alcohol, ranging from 60% to 90%, but health specialists recommend 70% concentration for best results. A spray bottle with 70% alcohol may be the perfect solution for spraying and wiping all surfaces, and rubbing alcohol generally does not cause damage to surfaces.
Alcohol is also used in hand sanitizers. If you’re having trouble finding hand sanitizers in store or online, you can try making your own. There are a number of successful home recipes out there for hand sanitizers.

Good Old-Fashioned Soap and Water

There are times when soap and water are the only ingredients you have on hand to mitigate the spread of germs and infection. While soap and water don’t exactly disinfect, together they are known to clean away droplets containing harmful microorganisms that can be ingested. Wash your hands rigorously for at least 20 seconds using this demonstration.

White Vinegar, Which Has Antibacterial Properties Effective for Killing Many Germs

Pure white vinegar can be used for cleaning kitchen surfaces and food prep areas. Vinegar contains acetic acid, a reagent known to destroy viruses and bacteria. If you don’t mind its pungent smell, simply soak cutting boards and other items for at least 15 minutes. Cover the surface with vinegar for best results.
Vinegar becomes more powerful when used in conjunction with other commercial disinfectants such as Clorox or Lysol.
The CDC says the ideal disinfectant should:
  • Have a wide antimicrobial spectrum
  • Be fast-acting
  • Not be affected by environmental factors, such as the presence of organic matter (e.g., blood, sputum, feces), and compatible with soaps, detergents, and other chemicals
  • Be nontoxic
  • Not corrode instruments and metallic surfaces, nor cause the deterioration of cloth, rubber, plastics, and other materials
  • Leave an antimicrobial film on the treated surface
  • Be easy to use with clear label directions
  • Be odorless or have a pleasant odor
  • Not be prohibitively high in cost
  • Be soluble in water
  • Be stable in concentrate and use-dilution
  • Have good cleaning properties
  • Not damage the environment on disposal
While there are plenty of cleaning products online and in stores, some of the best solutions are found under your kitchen sink. Knowing how to use household cleaning solutions is an important step in preventing the spread of colds, flus, and especially the highly contagious coronavirus. You can also take extra steps to improve air quality while staying at home by using house plants.