Many people use these terms interchangeably, and it’s important that you don’t confuse the two. Cleaning is when you remove any dirt, grime, germs, etc. from a surface. Disinfection is when you kill all, or most, of the germs like viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. on any given surface. Therefore, cleaning is a very temporary solution to get rid of germs, while disinfection is a longer-lasting protective measure.
Disinfection is important so exposure to harmful microbes can be minimized. If you don’t disinfect completely and regularly, the microbes will come back almost immediately in full force since these pestilential creatures multiply like crazy and develop into thousands, and even millions, within a space of few hours. [Source: Microbiology Online]
What many people don’t know is that a disinfectant is not something that you have to step out of your house to get your hands on. You can make it quite easily with household bleach. Bleach, that you use around the house, is a very cheap and highly effective solution for all your disinfectant problems. A word of caution: Bleach is not to be handled lightly. Please ensure these steps:
1. Handle with care and be in a well-ventilated room while working with this chemical
2. Do NOT mix bleach with any other chemicals, especially ammonia-related ones. This might lead to production of harmful gases.
3. Make sure you always make a fresh bleach solution when disinfecting any surface
4. Dispose all unused solution, because it might break down and not be very effective
|Kitchen Disinfection||1/4 tablespoon||1 quart|
|Bathroom Disinfection||1/4 tablespoon||1 quart|
|Disinfecting Surfaces against Flu||1 tablespoon||1 quart|
|Disinfecting Surfaces against Norovirus||1.5 tablespoons||1 quart|
|Disinfecting Surfaces against Coronavirus [source: CDC]||4 teaspoons||1 quart|
If you want a larger quantity of the disinfectant solution, you can simply double/triple/quadruple the quantities according to your requirements.
[Source: Water Quality & Health Council]
Your homemade disinfectant solution is very easy to use. After cleaning the target surface thoroughly, cover it with the bleach solution. Leave it for up to 10 minutes for a complete, thorough disinfection. This will ensure that absolutely no viruses and bacteria remain.
If the target surface will have food contact then rinse the surface once the bleach solution has dried completely on it. Leave to air-dry.
Too much disinfection is something that falls under ‘too much of anything is bad’ [source: BBC]. However, if any place is constantly being touched by a lot of people, or if there is an outbreak of disease, no amount of disinfection can be enough.
Immediately when you know a surface has been contaminated.
Some common disinfectant chemicals that you can use in routine disinfection are:
Bonus: how to make hand sanitizer at home
People have stormed the stores and stocked up on sanitizers and toilet paper, but there are a lot of unlucky souls who cannot stock up. If you find yourself out of sanitizer, here are a few ways you can make some for yourself.
What you’ll need: