HOUSTON – Disposable disinfectant wipes are convenient - but how effective are they? There’s a right and wrong way to use cleaning wipes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says disinfection usually requires the product to remain on the surface for a certain period of time.
Let it stay wet for a while
After you wipe off an item, you should let it stand for three to five minutes. You might notice, labels for both Clorox disinfecting wipes and Lysol disinfecting wipes says the surface should remain wet for four minutes to disinfect the area fully. Each brand is different, so check the labels. You want to see the wetness on the item.
If you are using diluted or ready-to-use cleaners that you may be wiping on an item, the recommendation for keeping it wet could be up to 10 minutes. Why is the wetness factor important? The key is to ensure that the cleaning product sticks around on the surface long enough to kill the germs or viruses.
Clean one surface at a time
When using wipes, make sure you only use them on one surface and then dispose of them. So, don’t grab a wipe and clean off the doorknobs, handles, and something else with the same wipe. Reusing a single wipe could have you just spreading germs from one surface to another.
The same “wetness” rules apply for disinfecting sprays. You want to see the wetness on the item. For areas like the couch or carpets that can’t be wiped down, you can use disinfectant spray. Just wait until the surface is dry before sitting or walking on it.
It may seem simple, but wiping down items in your home the right way can help break chains of infection.
Note: You should clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting. Here is the EPA’s list of cleaning products that will kill coronavirus.
What if I don’t have disinfecting wipes?
Disinfecting wipes are one of those items that are in high demand at stores. You may have trouble finding them. Or, by now, you may have run out of the ones you had. It’s OK. A simple mix of bleach and cold water also works for disinfecting coronavirus.
Bleach cleaning recipe
Mix four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water – or, for larger loads, five tablespoons (1/3rd cup) per gallon.
With standard Clorox or similar, five minutes exposed to those mixtures should kill coronavirus, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Given bleach’s harshness on stainless steel and countertops, wipe surfaces down with water after those five minutes. A plastic toy or metal item can be immersed in bleach for 30 seconds to disinfect.
Make sure you wear gloves and don’t mix bleach with ammonia as the combination is toxic.
The bleach solution should be used within 24 hours as it loses effectiveness with time.