Protecting Your Home During COVID19

There’s everyday clean, guest clean, and then there is COVID-19 clean.

The Best Disinfectants 

For high traffic surfaces, the CDC recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, OR a 70% alcohol solution. These surfaces can include phones, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and other electronics.

Recipe & Instructions: 

  • Combine 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water in a large bucket. You can transfer to a spray bottle for storage purposes.
    • Be sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach. This is a great opportunity to open up the windows and let some fresh air into the house!
    • Double-check to make sure your bleach is not expired. After about a year, if it has lost its bleachy smell, it has most likely lost its disinfecting powers.
    • Tip: Don’t mix bleach with anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical reaction. 
  • Use a white rag and wipe down the high touch surfaces with a light layer of the bleach solution.
  • Be cautious around carpet and furniture!

How to disinfect your home if you don’t have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, so long as it's at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC. The alcohol concentration will be listed on the bottle. Rubbing alcohol you buy should already be diluted, unlike bleach.

Not All Floors Can Handle Bleach 

For floors found in your bathroom, the CDC recommends using the bleach solution.

Avoid the bleach solution on hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a disinfectant wet mop cloth without bleach.

Is There a Thing as Too Much Disinfectant? 

According to an EPA fact sheet, studies have found that using some disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant.

The EPA has issued a list of disinfectants on the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you have a match.

Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are your best bets.

What about the various disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)? Hartman says the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could become resistant to viruses over time.

What If I'm Selling My House, and Inviting More Germs In?

How to disinfect your home when it’s for sale? Virtual showings and tours are the ideal, and your Ask Cathy agent can set those up.

However, if there’s a need to have someone come in, talk to your agent who will work with you to establish a hygienic protocol, including requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in but potentially germs.

After showings, practice your surface wipe-down routine.

Finally, when you work with disinfectants, practice some self-care. Alcohol and bleach can be very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands.

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