Cleaning Guides

DIY Surface Disinfection: Most people do it wrong

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Coughing and sneezing in public are obvious culprits but we know that viruses can spread through touch as well. That is why proper hand-washing and surface disinfection are so important, not just during a pandemic.

Most people do the hand-washing part fine. You just have to take the extra 20 or so seconds to do it properly, use plenty of soap, and really get the area between your fingers.

However, surface disinfection is where we run into trouble because most people are skipping crucial steps in doing it properly.

To put it simply, surface disinfection is the application of a sanitisation agent on a potentially contaminated spot or area. It is an extra safety measure that goes beyond aesthetic cleanliness and we take it to protect ourselves and others from infection.

One commonly observed method involves the spraying of a surface with cleaning detergent and wiping it with a paper towel. But this approach is ineffective because proper surface disinfection actually consists of 3 major steps. Here is how to do it properly.

The 3 Steps to Proper DIY Surface Disinfection

#1. Clean the surface to remove the biofilm.

Consider this: the air itself has thousands of germs in it as well as dust particles. Basically, most dirty surfaces are coated with a layer of germs and grime. This is what we call a biofilm – a thin mass of germs and filth.

It is important to remove the biofilm before you disinfect the surfaces. Otherwise, the disinfectant won’t do its job properly. It might not reach some of the truly dangerous pathogens found on the surface. 

So clean the surface with any traditional method you see fit. Either apply a general surface cleaner and wipe the area with a paper towel or use plain dishwashing liquid, water, and an old cloth. This way you are clearing the way for the disinfectant.

#2. Apply your disinfectant of choice.

Now that the surface you are about to sanitise is free of sticky gunk, dust, and millions of germs, you can apply the disinfectant, be it some special detergent, bleach, or plain alcohol.

If you are using a special product, make sure to read the label for any additional instructions. Also, it is wise not to mix most detergents so be sure that the surface you are disinfected is cleared of any other cleaning agent before you apply the disinfectant.

#3. Wait, let it rest and do its job!

That’s right, don’t wipe the surface immediately, there is no rush. Just let the disinfectant you are using stay there for a while and purge any dangerous pathogens. In fact, most specialty disinfection products come with instructions on how long you should wait before you wipe or rinse the surface.

When you have waited long enough, either wipe the surface with a paper towel and discard it, or rinse the surface with a wet cloth based on label recommendations.

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