Personal hygiene and frequent cleaning of the house are important for good health. Likewise, regular hand washing is significant to prevent the spread of microorganisms that leads to several illnesses especially COVID-19. Frequent cleaning of surfaces in the home eliminates dirt and food particles on which germs can start breeding.
The best products to use for cleaning and disinfecting are products that contain an active antibacterial or antimicrobial ingredient that provides additional protection against germs and disease-causing bacteria and viruses. The active ingredient helps to make their effect go beyond normal or simple cleaning to eliminate or control the growth of microorganisms. The words antibacterial and antimicrobial are usually used interchangeably). Antimicrobial means activity against a large variety of microorganisms, while antibacterial means activity against bacteria.)
This article contains information about the differences between cleaning and disinfecting and also explains the top benefits of cleaning and disinfecting when preventing coronavirus.
What is Cleaning?
Cleaning is the removal of debris, dirt, dust, and unwanted soil. It can also remove oily and greasy stains. Cleaning is the process of removing stains and unwanted particles from surfaces such as floors, mirrors, and counters. It is a gradual process and can be quite strenuous.
To efficiently clean, you need two important things: water and cleaning chemicals like soaps, or surfactants.
What is Disinfecting?
Disinfection is the process of eliminating the germs that may be available on any surface. For the disinfection to be efficient, a surface must be properly clean and free from any debris.Which surface disinfectants are effective against COVID-19 in non-healthcare setting environments?
In non-healthcare facilities, sodium hypochlorite (bleach/chlorine) can be used at a suggested concentration of 0.1% or 1,000ppm (which is 1 part of 5% strength household bleach to about 49 parts of water). For alcohol-based disinfectant, the alcohol used should be at 70-90%. Alcohol-based disinfectant can be used for surface disinfection. Surfaces must be initially cleaned with water and soap or a detergent to remove any dirt, after cleaning you can now disinfect. When cleaning, you should always begin from the least soiled or cleanest area to the most soiled or dirtiest area to avoid spreading the dirty to less soiled areas.
All disinfectant solutions must be stored in opaque containers, and kept in a well-ventilated, covered area that isn't exposed to direct sunlight. Also, they should be prepared preferably when needed.
For indoor spaces, the regular application of disinfectants to surfaces through spraying is not recommended for Coronavirus. If any disinfectants are to be applied, it should be through a cloth or wipe that is already soaked in the disinfectant.
Why Is It Important to Kill Germs?
- Germs usually spread by hand via person-to-person contact.
- Germs can easily enter our bodies through our mouth, nose, eyes, and breaks in on our skin without us realizing that we've been infected.
- Inadequate and poor personal hygiene done by some food handlers is the second leading cause of food-borne diseases.
- Americans spend about $5 billion annually only on colds ($3 billion on doctors' visits and $2 billion on treatments).
- About 60 million days of school and 50 million days of work are lost and ruined annually due to the common cold.
- About 5.5 million visits to doctors' offices annually because of skin infections.
- Germs can also be transferred from inanimate surfaces or objects to hands or vice-versa.
- Some bacteria or viruses can stay for long hours on dry surfaces like a TV remote, for moist surfaces like bathroom sinks can stay up to three days.
- Salmonella can survive freezing conditions and can survive on dry surfaces for more than 24 hours.
- An average kitchen dishcloth possesses about 4 billion living germs.
Benefits of Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces
Cleaning and disinfecting surface are beneficial in preventing the spread of coronavirus because:
- Effective cleaning products do an excellent job of removing soil. Also, disinfectants or antibacterial cleaners decreases the number of the virus causing COVID-19.
- Surfaces like a handle, TV remotes, doorknobs, kitchen and bathroom counters, toilet seats, and children's toys can be contaminated with unseen microorganisms even when they're not visibly dirty.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces help in preventing the further spreading of coronavirus that can be spread from the surfaces to dirty cleaning cloths or sponges.
- They are performed with products that have met the efficacy requirements and guidelines laid down by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are already registered with EPA by having an EPA registration number on their label.
- They work effectively when the instructions on product labels are strictly observed.
- Working in a clean office will make you feel less worn-out and allow you to do your job perfectly, but working in a messy office makes you have a constant reminder of things that need to be done, hence you'll lose focus to work.
- You will be less exposed to covid-19 and other diseases. Also, a dirty office will be a good breeding environment for mildew or mould, and you can easily contact coronavirus.
- Your office will be well-secured and protected from dangerous viruses or bacterial.
- A clean office is free from allergens, mould, pests, mildew, that can make people fall sick. Pests stay in dark places, and they hide in clutters. Pests carry diseases that are dangerous to you and your colleagues' health.
- A clean office means little or no sick days and more productive and efficient days.
You must clean your office, home, etc. regularly, not only to prevent the spread of covid-19 but for attractive purposes too. People tend to stay in offices for a longer time, and most times, visitors are also expected. Hence, the office must be kept clean. You will certainly be happier and healthier if you accurately and regularly clean and disinfect every surface in your home, workspace or office.