The emergence of COVID-19 in 2020 brought a renewed focus to the importance of home sanitization. Although the pandemic phase is over, keeping your living space clean and healthy is still crucial. Maybe even more so.
Because we are no longer wearing masks or avoiding public gatherings and travel, the flu is seeing a resurgence. Medical experts are sounding the alarm about a possible “tripledemic” of the omicron variant of COVID-19, the flu, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).
In addition to stemming the spread of illness, it is common sense to sanitize home surfaces. So what exactly does it mean to sanitize? And what is the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting?
Cleaning – Cleaning is the process of removing visible food, dirt, dust, and other soil from surfaces. Cleaning eliminates most harmful bacteria, but it doesn’t necessarily kill all the germs. You should always clean the surfaces in your home before sanitizing or disinfecting them.
Sanitizing – Sanitizing reduces the remaining germs on surfaces after cleaning. According to the EPA, a hard surface or object has been effectively sanitized when the number of germs has been reduced by at least 99.9%.
Disinfecting – Disinfecting uses chemicals, such as bleach or alcohol, to kill germs from surfaces or objects.
So why is it so important to sanitize home surfaces?
Reduce the spread of illness
As mentioned above, sanitizing your home reduces the spread of illness. This means less stress, lower healthcare costs, and fewer sick days off work or school.
Does someone in your home suffer from allergies? If so, sanitizing is even more critical because it removes allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, and mold.
A fresher-smelling home
Have you ever walked into someone’s home that smells icky? It’s not pleasant for guests and it’s certainly not pleasant for those who live there! Mold and other pathogens cause unpleasant odors. Sanitizing leaves your home smelling fresh and clean.
So how do you know what to sanitize in your home? Start with the “germiest” areas and high-touch surfaces.
Would you be shocked to learn that your kitchen sink is germier than your toilet and garbage can? One study found that a kitchen sink has more fecal bacteria than a flushed toilet. Gross, right?
That same study found that cutting boards have 200 times more coliform bacteria than toilet seats. And if you use your cutting boards to trim poultry or meat, it might also have dangerous salmonella and campylobacter bacteria.
When you consider how many times a day someone from your family touches handles on appliances like your refrigerator or microwave, it is not surprising to learn that they have some of the highest densities of coliform, fecal coliform, and HPC bacteria in your home.
Infant or children’s toys and play areas
Infants and young children share toys and frequently put them in their mouths. They also put their fingers and hands in their mouth and then touch surfaces. All of these things increase the risk of spreading infections.
If you’re wiping your counters regularly, you might assume they’re clean and sanitary. However, many cleaning cloths and sponges have E. coli and bacteria, which means you are simply spreading germs all over your countertops!
Bathrooms are moist, humid places. This creates the perfect environment for germs to thrive. Pay special attention to high-touch areas such as toilet and sink handles, faucets, toothbrush holders, and of course, the toilet, shower, and bathtub.
Don’t neglect your home office when it comes to sanitization! One study found that home office keyboards have five times more bacteria than kitchen sinks. Other germy home office surfaces include computer monitors, keyboards, headsets, computer mouses, and desks.
And last, but not least, be sure to sanitize other high-touch surfaces in your home such as doorknobs and light switches.
Expert house cleaning and sanitizing
At Above the Line Cleaning, we understand the importance of having a clean and sanitary home. Our services include sanitizing the high-touch and germiest areas of your home so you have peace of mind that your family will stay safe and healthy.
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Read our recent customer reviews to learn why we are the premiere professional house cleaning company in the Walla Walla area.
Contact us for a free estimate!