You might be the reason your disinfectants aren’t fully effective or safe, and not even know it. Fortunately, that’s an easy fix. With awareness of common user mistakes, you and your disinfectants will become a stronger defense together in no time.
Consider these eight ways you might be secretly (and unknowingly) ruining your disinfectants’ power, safety, and longevity. Change the following faulty cleaning habits to improve disinfectant results against viruses, bacteria and other unwelcome germs in your home.
8. Not Cleaning Before Disinfecting
Did you wash those dirt-smudged doorknobs before you disinfected them? Turns out it’s pretty important that you do.
In their guidelines for coronavirus protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that “Visibly dirty surfaces should be cleaned prior to disinfection.” This is because the active ingredients in your disinfectant require a clean surface to work properly.
When grime, spilled food, and other solid waste become mixed with your disinfectant, the germ-fighting solution can be compromised.
We’re not just talking about pre-cleaning kitchen countertops, doorknobs and bathroom surfaces. The CDC recommends pre-cleaning both non-porous (glass, plastic, metal) and porous (rugs, carpets, seating areas) surfaces before applying disinfectants.
7. Adding Other Cleaners to Your Disinfectants
Before combining disinfectants X and Y to ramp up their collective cleaning power, consider how that could actually affect both products. More importantly, combining disinfectants could cause serious harm to people and pets.
According to the Toxins Use Reduction Institute (TURI), mixing certain disinfectants — particularly ammonia cleaners with bleach — can create toxic gases called chloramines. Especially when released in enclosed spaces (your home, car, garage), these gases are harmful when inhaled and could cause death to humans and animals.
Don’t even add bleach to your toilet bowl cleaner and other acid-based cleansers. Toxic fumes from these disinfectant combinations aren’t worth the risk to your health.