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Spring cleaning during a pandemic

27th April 2020

Spring cleaning has taken a new sense of urgency with the coronavirus outbreak. Heeding the guidelines set by the World Health Organization, people across the globe have started to wash, dust, and disinfect their homes and offices more intensely, for health as well as increased need for good hygiene during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The novel coronavirus can be transmitted through respiratory droplets such as saliva or mucus from an infected person to another. COVID-19 can also be spread by touching infected surfaces. These include handles, doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, and even the screens of your smartphones.

Start with good personal hygiene. Use soap and water as you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You should wash your hands every time you enter a new environment. Use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not convenient.

After you have taken care of your personal hygiene, it is time to focus on spring cleaning. Using surface disinfectants to remove and kill viruses and bacteria from the surfaces of your home or office workspace is important in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.

Can COVID-19 live on surfaces?

An immunologist from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Rudra Channappanavar discovered that coronaviruses can live up to 96 hours on glass surfaces, like the ones used on smartphones.

Surface Hours
Plastered wall 36
Formica (laminate material on counter tops) 36
Plastic 72
Stainless steel 72
Glass 96

You might be wondering how you can pick up the virus from your phone’s screen. If an infected person, especially those who are asymptomatic, coughs, or sneezes near your phone while you’re scrolling through Facebook during your morning commute, you may inadvertently touch the droplet and then touch your mouth or nose.

An average person uses their phone 2,600 times per day. People touch their faces about 23 times per hour or as many as 368 times during their waking hours. Imagine how susceptible you are to getting the virus if you don’t practice social distancing, good hygiene, proper handwashing, and if you don’t disinfect surfaces that you regularly touch.

With recent studies revealing that the virus can stay on surfaces for days, people are doing more than just removing visible dirt from the surfaces of their home. They are also using surface disinfectants. Doing so helps to keep their environment clean and lower the possibility of catching or spreading the coronavirus.

Using surface disinfectants on Apple iPhones

For the longest time, tech giant Apple has instructed its customers to use only a soft lint-free cloth to clean their iPhones. But with the global health crisis, the company has finally addressed questions if surface disinfectants can be used to clean their Apple product.

Apple said on its support page that users of their products can use surface disinfectants to clean the nonporous surfaces of their Apple products like the display, the keyboard, and other exterior surfaces. However, the company warned against using bleach. Users must also avoid getting moisture into any openings and the device must not be submerged into any cleaning agents.

Cleaning versus disinfecting

Cleaning and disinfecting are two different things. Soap is the first choice for cleaning the hands. It works by detaching germs and dirt from the skin and then get rinsed off. A good hand washing practice is to wash for at least 20 seconds using warm water.

Meanwhile, disinfecting is the top choice for surfaces. Surface disinfectants kill viruses and bacteria. Use the surface disinfectants on the kitchen counter, refrigerator doors, doorknob, handles, and other surfaces that you touch.

Tips for cleaning and disinfecting your home

Get rid of any visible dirt and grime before applying the surface disinfectants. There are different kinds of surface disinfectants in the market today; if you prefer to use a non alcohol-based disinfectant, we sell SurSol which is effective in killing viruses, but contains no alcohol. Follow the directions in the label for the surface disinfectant to be effective. Surface disinfectants work well when you let them saturate a surface for at least 30 seconds.

For hard and durable surfaces that are meant to be resistant to various kinds of chemicals, like tile, granite, or metal, you can use any surface disinfectant you have on hand. For marble and other porous surfaces, be sure to check the recommendations of the surface manufacturer first for the most effective ways to disinfect them without damaging their surface.

Avoid using surface disinfectants that are acidic on porous surfaces. If you are using a surface disinfectant on a surface that comes in contact with food like cutting boards or kitchen counters, don’t forget to rinse them with water after the surface disinfectant dries.

Glass surfaces are chemically inert and that means you can use any cleaner and surface disinfectant. However, for clear plastic materials like plexiglass and polycarbonate, you need to be cautious with the kind of disinfectant you use, as some may cloud the surface.

On plexiglass, avoid any cleaning products that contain alcohol, ammonia, aromatics, and other abrasives. Alcohol can cause cracks and microfractures in the surface of the acrylic. Ammonia can eat into the surface of acrylic and leave it looking cloudy. Most grades of acrylic are susceptible to chemical attack from aromatic hydrocarbons. Acrylic will even dissolve inorganic compounds such as acetone, benzene, or toluene. You should also stay clear of traditional glass cleaners, halogens, and ketones.