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Even if everyone in your household is being COVID-careful, the question about what they might be bringing back when they return from the outside world still hangs like tiny airborne droplets of uncertainty. So you clean a bit more than you used to, when you remember. And then you forget. And then you remember again. We could all use some guidelines.
Biohazard and infection control specialist Cory Chalmers, featured expert and host on A&E’s ‘Hoarders’ and president of Steri-Clean Inc, tells Yahoo Life: “The most important thing people need to be doing on a regular basis is simple: Cleaning the commonly touched areas as often as is reasonably possible.”
Hands leave behind ‘invisible biofilms’ that can transmit germs, bacteria and viruses, Chalmers explains. “These biofilms are always found on the items we touch most, and, by simply giving these items a thorough cleaning, we can remove 90 percent of the germs before we even apply disinfectant.” So simply cleaning door knobs, drawer handles, appliance knobs, touchscreens, keyboards, phones, hand rails, flushers and sink and shower knobs can make a difference.
Donna Dougherty of Go Green Cleaning Experts, LLC, and cleaning consultant at The Creative Organizer tells Yahoo Life that it’s smart to commit to a cleaning schedule, “based on how many pets and how many people are in the home,” she says. “My cleaning days are Monday and Wednesday,” which leaves weekends open. And, Dougherty says, “having the right tools in the right place sets you up for success.”
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Dougherty says a Swiffer is a must for a professional-looking clean. “It clings [to] the dust so you have fewer dust particles in the air,” she says. “The Swiffer is your go-to for hard-to-reach areas.” The duster’s pole extends up to six feet, allowing you to reach high places without a step stool and low spots without straining your back.
Shop it: Swiffer Duster Heavy Duty Super Extendable Handle Starter Kit, $12, walmart.com
An all-purpose disinfectant like Clorox bleach is crucial, Chalmers says. “Bleach is great, and mixing it to a 10 percent solution still kills most organisms and makes it less of an irritant to people who are sensitive to its fumes or contact with their skin,” he says. (It’s a good idea to wear gloves and eye protection when handling bleach, just to be safe, he says.)
Shop it: Clorox Bleach, $4, walmart.com
It’s a good idea to have a “broad spectrum, powerful disinfectant” handy, Chalmers says. “Disinfectants are not all the same.” Lysol All Purpose Cleaner Spray has been proven to kill 99 percent of bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Shop it: Lysol All Purpose Cleaner Spray, $3, walmart.com
“I prefer and always recommend microfiber towels for great cleaning power,” Chalmer says. And, huge perk, he says: “They don’t leave behind little dust bunnies.” This two-pack of microfiber towels is just $1.
Shop it: Great Value Microfiber Cleaning Towels, 2 count, $1, walmart.com
“I love steamers,” says Chalmer. They clean using nothing but water, so “they don’t have any ongoing cost associated with them once purchased. The temperature at which the steam comes out can kill a majority of the microorganisms we face today and they don’t call for any scrubbing.” Steamers—like this easy-to-use Shark Steam Mop—are also good at hitting cracks and crevices that might be tough to reach otherwise.
Shop it: Shark Steam Mop, $39 (was $49), walmart.com
A toilet brush is a necessity that can get pretty gross over time. Dougherty says you should just be sure to clean yours: “Soak toilet brushes from time to time in rubbing alcohol to kill germs.” This toilet brush comes in a holder that helps keep germs off the floor.
Shop it: Mainstays Basic Toilet Bowl Brush Holder, $4, walmart.com
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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