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Maintaining home hygiene during the colder months, when many people spend more time indoors, is important to prevent the spread of germs.
Frequent contact between dirty hands and commonly used surfaces gives cold, flu and COVID-19 germs a better chance to spread. Regular cleaning and disinfection at home can help slow the spread of illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the following guidance on how best to clean and disinfect commonly contacted objects.
Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use a disinfectant.
Routinely clean tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks and cabinet pulls.
Caution: Before disinfecting light switches with liquids or sprays, turn off the electricity at the breaker to prevent electric shock.
Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from harsh soaps.
Be sure to read and follow cleaning product directions, paying close attention to surface types and precautionary statements.
Wear gloves when using disinfectants and eye protection when using chemicals that could splash.
Ensure there is adequate ventilation to remove fumes when cleaning.
Use only the amount specified on disinfectant instructions.
Do not mix chemicals.
Label the container of any product stored in any nonoriginal container.
Store all chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
Bleach is an effective disinfectant, but special precautions should be used when applying this chemical.
Use bleach containing 5.25%–8.25% sodium hypochlorite.
Follow the directions printed on the product label, and make sure bleach sits on surfaces for at least one minute.
Ensure proper ventilation when using bleach.
Do not use product that has expired.
Do not mix bleach with other cleansers or ammonia. Mixing can cause dangerous fumes.
To prepare a bleach solution for disinfecting, mix 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water.
Remember that bleach and bleach solutions will fade colors on fabric.
Phones, tablets, touch screens, keyboards and remote controls are frequently touched objects that may have special cleaning requirements.
Consider applying a wipeable cover to electronics. The cover helps protect sensitive electronics while making them easy to clean and disinfect.
Follow manufacturer’s directions for cleaning and disinfecting electronics. If there are no instructions, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays with at least 70% alcohol, then dry thoroughly.
De-energize equipment and close openings before applying any cleaner or disinfectant.
If liquid or atomized products are approved for disinfecting electronics, follow product directions carefully.
UL, a global safety certification company, provides a list of what NOT to do when cleaning and disinfecting electronics.