Keeping Your Home Clean in Regards to COVID-19
Tidy Casa has done 20,000+ cleanings. As such, we’re experts in the best and safest ways to keep any home clean.
After seeing many questions on cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19, we felt releasing some useful information as a must-do public service.
Without guidance from a professional, fear can run rampant; and it is our goal to squash those fears.
- The cheapest, most natural, and effective method for cleaning is with soap.
- Disinfecting and cleaning are different; disinfecting neutralizes the virus via chemicals. Cleaning removes it from a surface.
- Order of best to least favorable disinfectants: 60% – 95% Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Iodine, Bleach
- Things that do not work: Vinegar, Ammonia, Witch Hazel, Tea Tree oil, less than 60% Alcohol, using less than the needed amounts of the other disinfectants
Soap is a fantastic substance. With any microbe, its effects will help you. Bacteria, non-enveloped viruses, and other pathogens, soap will force the microbes to release from surfaces and break the water tension, moving the germs to a rag or down the sink.
However, envelope viruses are unique. The COVID-19 virus (and all coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS) is an enveloped virus, which means that it has a lipid (fatty) layer.
According to the FDA, soap destroys this lipid layer, stopping the virus from being able to infect you!
Once again, I highly recommend using soap as your main sanitizing agent throughout the house.
While soap’s primary function is to remove the pathogen, including viruses, from the surface, disinfecting neutralizes the virus where it is at.
My favorite disinfectant is alcohol. 60% – 95% is needed to stop the virus, and it only takes 10 seconds of contact time to do so. You must be careful that you have more than 60% alcohol content. That said, mixing the alcohol with ingredients reduces the percentage!
91% isopropyl alcohol is perfect.
Vodka is usually about 80 proof (40%) alcohol and is worthless! If you are going to use expensive drinking alcohol, you would need something like Everclear, which is 120 proof (50%) alcohol or higher. Still not the 60% we’re going for, but it’s getting close.
Hydrogen peroxide with a 0.5% mixture rate can be used but must have 1 minute of contact time. A .05% mixture needs 1 cup of 3% Hydrogen peroxide to 6 cups of water. DO NOT mix Hydrogen peroxide with soap! Hydrogen peroxide breaks down the soap.
In a pinch, iodine will work. 75-150 parts per million (minimal amount) is effective in 1-2 seconds of contact time. However, iodine WILL stain whatever it touches.
My least favorite choice is bleach, it’s toxic, and it is the least effective under short periods. Look on the back of your Clorox Bleach wipes; it needs 4+ minutes of contact time to kill viruses. Most people don’t let their counters soak for 4 minutes, nor should you.
What does NOT work:
- Vinegar, 10% Malt Vinegar has some signs of killing influenza, but not corona family viruses. Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, sums it up well. “[Vinegar] does have acid in it, and it [can] damage bacteria and viruses, but it’s not something I’d recommend using to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”
- Ammonia, ineffective toward enveloped viruses
- Hitch Hazel – not enough alcohol content
- Tea Tree Oil – has been shown to help cold sores (herpes virus) but not against the corona family
- Vodka (see above), or other alcohol meant for drinking below 120 proof
- Be smart, use soap on your hands, counters, bathrooms, light switches, and doorknobs.
A little cleaning and disinfecting knowledge will go a long way in keeping your family safe. That said, finding time to clean and sanitize can be just as hard as doing the actual cleaning.
If you need help Tidy Casa has your back. We’ve added an extra sanitization service to all our cleanings until the pandemic has passed. We’re here to support you and your family.