6. Improperly Diluting Your Disinfectants


It’s common practice to dilute bleach for household disinfecting. However, mixing water with various disinfectants might dilute them to the point of being ineffective.

It’s also possible you’re adding too little water when dilution is recommended. This could be especially problematic in a home with children and pets, where strong disinfectants like bleach should be used with extra caution.

Before diluting disinfectants, do your homework first. Find guidelines online from reliable sources, and consult the product manufacturer’s recommendations.

5. Not Understanding How Disinfectants Work


Speaking of doing your homework, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how different disinfecting cleaners battle different germs, and the basic terms and ingredients associated with each.

What’s the difference between a microbial and a chelating agent? Why does your disinfecting cleaner contain ingredients like alcohol ethoxylate? (It helps remove oily soils from surfaces and fabrics, FYI.) The American Cleaning Institute makes it easy to answer these questions and more with their Ingredient Glossary.

Becoming familiar with how disinfectants work and why also keeps you in-the-know about using each of these products safely.

4. Leaving Disinfectants in Extreme Temperatures


Do you store disinfectant in the garage or another place that isn’t temperature controlled? Most mass-produced household disinfectants are made to work best at room temperature (about 68 °F or 20 °C). Extreme temperatures above or below that baseline can ruin disinfectants and cause safety hazards.

In very cold temperatures, the chemical reactions of certain ingredients are slowed. Extreme heat can not only compromise the level of viruses and bacteria you eliminate from your home; an overheated disinfectant can explode. Remember, alcohol-based disinfectants and sanitizers are flammable.

Related: 7 Germiest Spots to Avoid at the Grocery Store


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