When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, knowing where to focus your attention is just as important as selecting the best disinfectant for your home. 

We all want our homes to be safe and for our family to be out of harm’s way. And, in the midst of the worldwide spread of COVID-19, that means taking extra measures to ensure you aren’t just removing, but killing, harmful bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. 

You probably already take cleaning your home seriously. Now, we want to make sure you know how to properly disinfect the surfaces in your home – and help make sure you never overlook one of these four germ collectors in your house.

1. Smartphones

Washing your hands with antimicrobial soap is virtually pointless if your clean hands touch a contaminated surface – such as a phone – shortly after. This will cause your hands and any surface the phone comes in contact with to be re-contaminated, spreading the microorganisms around your home and potentially to other people.

On average, we touch our phones up to 58 times a day (check your activity tracker to know just how often you are reaching for yours!). This leaves a lot of opportunities to spread any bacteria or viruses from the phone to our face, hands and vice versa.

Using recommendations from Apple and Android device manufacturers, the FCC has compiled some tips for safely cleaning and disinfecting your phone:

– Unplug all external power sources, devices and cables before cleaning and disinfecting.

– Use a soft, lint-free cloth, avoid abrasive clothes and paper towels. 

– Use a non-abrasive, phosphate-free, alcohol-free, and bleach-free disinfectant antimicrobial to maintain the integrity of the protective coating many smartphone screens have.

– Apply the solution to the front, back and sides of the phone, taking special care to avoid getting moisture into any openings. Be sure to follow the product instructions, paying particular attention to how long the solution should remain on the surface.

– Let the phone sit to completely air dry before using it or plugging it back in.

2. Light Switches, Door Handles and Faucets

Turning on lights, faucets and opening doors are such automatic motions that we often forget they’re all high-touch surfaces. And, ironically, we often turn on a faucet when we are cleaning and disinfecting our homes, but we forget to disinfect the faucet itself before we finish the job.

To effectively kill the microorganisms on a light switch, door handle or faucet, you must make sure the area is noticeably wet, letting it sit for several minutes. The exact time may vary depending on which solutions you use (be sure to follow the product directions). MicroGold® Multi-Action Disinfectant Antimicrobial Spray, for example, is tested and proven effective to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus in association with COVID-19 when left for three minutes on hard non-porous surfaces.  

Remember we said the area will become re-contaminated the moment someone touches it again? That’s why it’s advantageous to use a solution that is both a disinfectant and an antimicrobial. Antimicrobial agents have the ability to kill both bacteria and viruses as well as suppress their future growth by molecularly bonding to a surface and mechanically killing microbes through microscopic spikes. We’re excited the EPA is expediting testing and review on the long-lasting properties of antimicrobials like MicroGold® Multi-Action Disinfectant Antimicrobial Spray.

3. Areas Around Your Pet’s Bed

It’s unlikely that you’ll get sick directly from your dog, cat or other pet. Their immune systems react to certain bacteria and viruses much differently than those of humans. 

But your pet – especially those that spend time both indoors and outdoors – can act as a germ carrier, contaminating the surfaces he or she touches after a day at the dog park or a walk around the block. So, when cleaning and disinfecting your home, do not overlook the areas they frequently come in contact with, such as their kennel, hard non-porous floors and walls and hard, non-porous cabinets.

To protect your pet and your family, you may want to consider evaluating the products you are using for them as well. Food and water bowls should be made of non-porous materials such as stainless steel. These are more resistant to the collection and growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, rust-resistant, dishwasher safe, easy to disinfectant and undergo less (or no) chemical treatment when being manufactured. 

Another practice to incorporate is cleaning your pet’s paws before they enter the house to help them from spreading dirt and debris that may be carrying harmful germs. Be sure to do that with a solution specifically formulated for pets.

4. TV Remotes, Video Game Controls, Home Security Keypads and In-Home Voice Assistants

Remotes, controllers, keypads and voice assistants such as your Alexa contain many small crevices and buttons – and are often being used by many people throughout the day. Yet, it’s easy to overlook them when cleaning and disinfecting.

But consider this: If you enjoy watching movies with a bag of potato chips, popcorn or any other finger food, you are touching a TV remote that may be contaminated and then immediately touching your food. 

That’s why it’s extremely important to take stock of these hidden germ collectors in your home. 

Important Things to Know About Disinfecting Your Home

Your home is a hidden world of germs. And, while many are truly harmless, the spread of certain microorganisms can lead to serious illnesses. 

With so much misinformation floating around about what works and what doesn’t, it’s important to turn to facts, studies and reputable sources that can provide the most up-to-date information. For the best cleaning and disinfecting guidelines, we advise our customers to follow a simple, two-step process outlined by the CDC:

First, clean with soap or detergent. This will remove the bacteria and virus-causing substances and the germs themselves from the surface.

But it will not kill them.

Secondly, use a disinfectant and antimicrobial to destroy remaining microorganisms, following the instructions on the label for the best results. 

To make the process of cleaning and disinfecting your home even easier, our All-Purpose Cleaner (EPA Reg. No: 1839-220-88653) is specifically formulated to be both a cleaner and disinfectant in one. This eliminates the need for two steps while protecting your home from harmful germs.

How do Germs Spread?

Bacteria and viruses can spread by adhering to a surface or item they come in contact with, such as your hands or a countertop. When that comes in contact with another surface, some of the tiny microorganisms may move to the second surface. 

The COVID-19 virus specifically spreads by invisible air droplets that leave your mouth when you breathe, talk, laugh, cough and more. These droplets linger both in the air and on nearby surfaces. So, if you later touch that surface with your hand, your hand will become contaminated.

A recent study found that, on average, people touch their faces 23 times an hour, facilitating a rather rapid spread of bacteria, viruses and other harmful germs from a high-touch surface to your mouth, eyes and more. 

Finding the Best Disinfectant for Your Home 

To fully protect your loved ones from harmful germs, it’s important to be regularly cleaning and disinfecting your home.

But with so many solutions on the shelves, it’s hard to know which is the best disinfectant for your home. Many household cleaning products claim to kill 99.9% of germs and have antibacterial or antiviral properties. 

But what does that mean?

When considering an antimicrobial vs antibacterial solution, know that the latter is only effective against bacteria, not viruses. Meanwhile, if you use a solution that is just a disinfectant (rather than a disinfectant and an antimicrobial), it will effectively kill any harmful germs it comes in contact with. But these frequently used areas will almost immediately become contaminated again because it does not stop the spread and future growth of microorganisms. 

Additionally, the disinfectant and antimicrobial solution you choose must be approved by the EPA; otherwise, it should not be trusted. Look for an EPA registration number on the product label, and you can verify that on the EPA website. MicroGold® Multi-Action Disinfectant Antimicrobial Spray, EPA Reg. No: 90856-4-88653, is a non-abrasive, bleach-free, alcohol-free and phosphate-free solution that is safe for use in homes and hospitals. It is the only multi-action solution approved to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus in association with COVID-19 in 3 minutes when properly applied to hard non-porous surfaces such as countertops, doorknobs, TV remotes, stainless steel and more.