At Honest Cleaning and Services, we understand how concerns about COVID-19 are affecting how you clean and disinfect your home. It must be very frustrating when you search for products that say they eradicate bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can thrive on your surfaces – how do you know which to trust?
Know that not all of these disinfectant products are effective against all types of bacteria or bugs. Although through marketing and advertising, we get the impression these products are keeping us safe and healthy, many may be harmful to both your health and the environment.
To help you choose the right disinfectant, we have created a how-to list for a variety of agents that work.
FACT: The coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to spread most commonly from person to person via respiratory droplets, according to the Health Canada, usually between people who are within about 6 feet or 1.8 metres away from each other. While transmission of the virus from contaminated surfaces has not yet been documented (at the time of this writing), Health Canada suggests that it can remain viable for hours to days on a variety of surfaces and materials.
Five Most Common Products for COVID-19 Home Disinfection
1. Using Household Bleach
Bleach is an affordable and very effective disinfectant. It kills some of the most dangerous bacteria — streptococcus, staphylococcus, e-coli salmonella — and many viruses, including the common cold and flu.
In the CDC guidance for COVID-19, they advise mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart. Always remember to follow the bottle instructions for application and ventilation.
Is Bleach Dangerous?
Bleach can be hazardous to animals and ecological health. While bleach is an important disinfectant in our current COVID-19 situation, it is also a potential hazard to human health. Bleach is irritating to sensitive eyes, skin, mouth, and throat, and when the pandemic is over, you should switch to a more natural non-toxic cleaning product. Safer alternatives include wipes and cleaning sprays, although eco-friendly choices may not be as effective in killing bacteria and viruses.
Warning: Bleach and bleach alternatives should never be used to clean or disinfect your skin, and most importantly, bleach should never be combined with ammonia or vinegar—the mixing of the two releases of toxic chlorine gas.
2. Soap and Water
Using regular soap and water will clean germs away rather than killing them, but that is still an essential step in reducing infection. We all know that washing your hands limits the spread of the novel coronavirus because it reportedly spreads primarily from person to person via respiratory droplets—which are often found on our hands and easily transferred to our faces.
What are the dangers?
Store shelves have many products that boast ‘antimicrobial’ properties, including antibacterial soap. Although this soap may kill some bacteria, there is little evidence that it offers any additional protection from viruses.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Most of us have a little bottle of Tea Tree Oil because it is versatile for so many things. It is a natural, biodegradable antiseptic that can be useful for treating minor cuts and wounds. Unfortunately, there are no studies to show that it is strong enough to kill viruses and more powerful bacteria.
What are the dangers?
Tea tree oil is poisonous if swallowed and definitely should not be used anywhere near the mouth, so be careful if you have it on your hands and are doing food prep or applying make-up.
Vinegar can be a safer biodegradable alternative to bleach for cleaning, and research has shown it can be effective against bacteria and viruses, including the flu. Vinegar is not a registered disinfectant (does not kill dangerous bacteria like staphylococcus) and should never be mixed with bleach.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial properties, is highly biodegradable, and can be an effective household cleaner at dilution of less than 3%. There are over 50 items approved by Health Canada containing hydrogen peroxide that has been deemed effective in combating COVID-19.
Baking Soda for COVID-19?
Many have asked HCAS about the effectiveness of baking soda for disinfectant. While we love using baking soda as a household cleaner, it is ineffective against most bacteria, including salmonella, e-coli, and staphylococcus. Sorry!
On the shelves at your local grocer, there is an incredible amount of sprays, cleaners, and wipes sold to clean and disinfectant various areas of your home. The Government of Canada has a secure access website – canada.ca – that updates as new information regarding disinfectant products that meet its criteria to combat COVID-19 and a multitude of helpful links.
Thank you for reading my blog post! If you have any questions about all the amazing ways Honest Cleaning and Services can help you and your family, please click our logo above and a Team Member will reply within 72 hours.
- Marisa is the owner and operator of Honest Cleaning and Services. She is passionate about animal welfare, human rights and is an advocate for many causes, both locally and internationally. When not cleaning and over-seeing the HCAS Teams, Marisa can be found enjoying a nature hike or involved in activism for causes she believes in.