Between the surge in coronavirus cases across the country and the cold and flus that come every winter, we’re all thinking about germs right now.
While it’s smart to try and minimise the spread of germs, instead of trying to rip in and completely sanitise the whole house, start with high-touch areas.
The idea behind this method of cleaning is that not every germ in the home needs to die. Instead, focus on the areas that are most likely to carry harmful bacteria and viruses. These areas are also the same ones where you’re more likely to pick up the germs.
Remote controls are definitely something you should be cleaning more often. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
High-touch areas are the spaces in our homes that we’re constantly touching and often forgetting during day-to-day cleaning.
These areas include:
Faucets and taps
Communal surfaces like tables and benchtops
Cleaning these specific areas is also known as targeted hygiene — to put it simply it means disinfecting those areas, especially when someone is sick.
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By doing this and cleaning the right areas at the right time you can stop the spread of germs through your household. It also lessons the burden of an entire house clean in one go.
You do need to do this kind of cleaning daily, if not multiple times a day, especially if someone in the home is sick and touching these areas often.
“If you have someone sick in your home, targeted hygiene is something you’ll want to do much more frequently, maybe even more than once a day if that person is touching things in the home,” Elizabeth Scott, professor of microbiology at Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons University in Boston told Apartment Therapy.
She explained that most viruses survive for hours, but there are some bacteria that can last for several days on a dry surface. This is also why you need to keep on top of cleaning these areas.
“The risk is that someone unwittingly or unknowingly touches that surface, then they bring their hands to their face and infect themselves,” she explained.
If someone is sick you should disinfect these areas multiple times a day. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
When it comes to actually cleaning these areas, you should clean as normal then use a disinfectant over the top and let that air dry.
For disinfecting you want to look for an alcohol solution that contains at least 70 per cent alcohol, a diluted bleach solution or household disinfectants registered with the EPA or classes as hospital grade. Make sure you’re wearing gloves while doing this too, and follow the directions on the product.
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Don’t use expired cleaners, or mix bleach with any other cleaners.
Aside from cleaning your high-touch areas you should also be cleaning other commonly used areas in the home if someone is unwell.
Don’t forget to keep on top of washing hands with soap and water too.