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Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home: A Guide to a Healthier, Safer Environment

Charles M. Carlsen

Published December 18, 2023
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You might have read that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” In the physical world—replete with disease-causing pathogens—this is not just a mantra but a scientifically proven fact(1) that, indeed, cleaning and disinfecting lead to a healthier and safer environment, especially in our homes where we tend to spend considerable time either for relaxation, or rejuvenation.
Cleaning and disinfection are steps toward ensuring that your home is safe. How do we go about this? And what are the benefits? We shall answer this below.

1. Why Clean and Disinfect?

The primary goal of cleaning and disinfecting is to kill disease-carrying pathogens. In your day-to-day life, you might have used the words cleaning and disinfecting interchangeably, and whereas both are vital to maintaining a safe environment in your home, they don’t mean the same.
why clean and disinfect

Why Clean Your Home?

Done regularly, cleaning removes dirt, an essential part of maintaining good health. Whereas cleaning might not eliminate disease-caused pathogens, it disturbs an ecosystem. Moreover, it leads to a stress-free environment, allowing for relaxation and better mental health(2).
Fun fact: 70-80% of dust in your house is dead skin.

Why Disinfect Your Home?

Disinfecting achieves what cleaning doesn’t: it destroys or inactivates disease-causing pathogens from surfaces, such as bacteria and viruses.
As part of good practices, regularly disinfect your home, especially if you live with a sick person with a compromised immune system.
Fun fact: Disinfectants killing 99.99% is primarily a marketing gimmick.
Why Clean and Disinfect

2. Benefits of Cleaning and Disinfecting

When you regularly clean and disinfect your home, you will get the following key benefits:
Reduces chances of infection: regularly cleaning and disinfecting minimizes the chances of infection by killing pathogen-breeding ecosystems.
Better mental health: by staying in a clean environment, we improve our mental health status as the brain is generally wired for order. A clean and organized environment improves focus, creates a sense of achievement, and enhances productivity(3).
Your home will smell better: Cleaning and disinfecting clears molds and mildew, eliminating unwanted musty smells.
Reduces allergy flare-ups & respiratory issues: A clean, disinfected environment means airflow is devoid of allergy flare-ups such as dust and molds that can potentially cause a flare-up, allergy, and other respiratory problems.

3. How to Cleaning and Disinfect Every room in Your House

How to Cleaning and Disinfect Every room in Your House
Maintaining a clean working environment at home is essential and takes deliberate work and effort. How often you need to clean and disinfect your house depends on various factors; for example, counters need to be cleaned daily, while you can vacuum your house at least once a week - unless you have young children or pets.
Before starting, you will require the following essentials:
All-purpose cleaner: This is a versatile cleaner(4) that works on most surfaces and is effective for most types of dirt.
Disinfectants: Disinfectants are about killing pathogens. As such, use approved EPA-registered disinfectants(5). These disinfectants have undergone quality assurance and are safe to use.
The choice of microfiber cloth, Sponges, or paper towels depends on the cleaning surface. For example, microfiber cloth is recommended for cleaning wet surfaces, while sponges work best in cleaning non-scratch surfaces such as glass or tile walls.
Fitting Rubber gloves: Offers protection to your hands from the abrasive effects of chemicals and ensures comfort.
Mop and bucket: They go hand-in-hand as an influential duo for removing dust, grime, and other dust forms.
Vacuum cleaner: great for sucking up dirt on different surfaces
Before starting, you will require the following essentials:

4. Step-by-Step Process of Cleaning Your Kitchen

Step-by-Step Process of Cleaning Your Kitchen
Unknown to many, some places in the kitchen have more bacteria than the toilet including fecal matter(6). Another study identified 362 different bacteria(7) in kitchen sponges. Being one of the germiest places at home means cleaning and disinfecting must be done correctly. Here is how to do it:
Create a working place: For uninterrupted and continuous cleaning, you must create a functional working space; this entails taking out kitchen appliances such as Microwaves, etc.
Get the cleaning underway: This is best done in stages; first, clear dust on selected surfaces, then apply an all-purpose cleaner. Then, diligently wipe down critical areas such as the backsplash, appliances, sink, stovetop, and countertops. Pay more attention to the sink as it tends to harbor more bacteria and germs, including E. coli and Salmonella(8). Then thoroughly rinse with water, preferably, to remove the soap.
Disinfect high-touch surfaces that include countertops, door knobs, refrigerator door handles and shelves, etc
Finally, clean the floor: Choose the right cleaner depending on the floor type and degree of cleaning required for the best results.

5. Step-by-step process of cleaning your Bathroom

Step-by-step process of cleaning your Bathroom
The first step is gathering suitable cleaning material, such as sponges and microfiber cloth. Then, remove toiletries and other items to give you ample time for cleaning. As part of this preparation, open the windows for good ventilation.
Secondly, clean the toilet seat. The first step in cleaning the toilet seat is spraying a disinfectant under the rim, allowing it to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a bowl brush, and finally flushing. You can then wipe the exterior with disinfection wipes.
Thirdly, clean the sink. Apply a cleaner on the sink and then gently scrub the sink, including the handles and faucets; pay attention to areas such as the drain where sediments such as food tend to collect. Once done, rinse and polish with a microfiber cloth.
Fourthly, clean the mirrors using a microfiber cloth. For stubborn grime, you can use a vinegar solution. It is advisable to avoid a paper towel as it tends to leave a lint on the surface.
Finally, wash the walls and floors. To save time, start with the walls. An all-purpose cleaner works perfectly here. Just apply it on the walls and wipe down the walls. For stubborn stains, you can use some vinegar. How you wash the floor depends on the type of floor. If it is a tiled floor, as is often the case, pay more attention to the grout lines, rub with a brush until grim clears, and then rinse with water.

6. Step-by-step process of cleaning your Living Room:

Step-by-step process of cleaning your Living Room
The first step is decluttering to set the stage for the cleaning process. Unless you are a hoarder, it should be easy to identify the things you don’t need regularly. They tend to accumulate dust and can be habitats for breeding germs.
Secondly, remove the dust. A microfiber or dust feather will do the job here. Focus on the furniture, electronics, picture frames, etc. Dust from top to bottom and finish the job using a damp microfiber to clean surfaces such as TV stands or coffee tables. You can follow up with furniture polish to create a luster and protect from moisture if available
Thirdly, vacuum clean the carpet or rugs. Particular attention should be paid to high-traffic areas and children's play areas. Finally, vacuum the floors before moping.
Fourthly, clean the windows. It is recommended to use a glass cleaner in addition to a microfiber and, using a circular motion, clean all the areas.

7. Step-by-step process of cleaning your Bedroom

Step-by-step process of cleaning your Bedroom
Do you know that the bedroom is where we spend the most time in our homes? We spend almost a third of our lives sleeping or attempting to do so. It’s no wonder some people treat it as a sanctuary. How, then, do you keep this place clean? Here’s how:
First, declutter and take out the trash. You can declutter old clothes, expired make-up, worn-out shoes, old bills, and don’t forget the sentimental clutter(9).
Next, use a microfiber duster to remove the dust, and be very careful around the nightstands, blinds, and dresser tops. You can also sweep away the dust and look for cobwebs in the room's corners.
Thirdly, vacuum and mop the floor. If need be, you can vacuum the mattress.
Clean the walls and mirrors. An all-purpose cleaner will only do the job if there are stubborn stains. On cleaning the mirrors, use the same procedures as you did before in cleaning the other mirrors.
Finally, spread your bed, change the bedsheet and curtains, arrange your clothing and accessories, and remember to return your shoes to their proper places.

8. Tips for Maintaining a Clean Home

Maintaining a clean home is not a single event but a continuous process comprising daily, weekly, and seasonal tasks. You need to have a mindset that appreciates a clean environment. This way, cleaning and maintaining your home extends who you are. Here are some tips for how to get going.

Daily Cleaning Habits

Do the following daily:
When you wake up, make your bed and change sheets if need be. This sets the tone for the day.
After meals, clean the table and put the utensils in the dishwasher
If you have a family, educate them on the importance of hygiene and make it a collaborative effort
Ensure that you stock enough cleaning detergents accessible when needed
As routine, with each bathroom usage, clean up.
Wash your hands with soap after bathroom- also applies to family
Leave your shoes at the door to avoid the transfer of dust and germs

Weekly Cleaning Habits

Do the following weekly:
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Thirdly, vacuum and mop the floor. If need be, you can vacuum the mattress.
Clean the walls and mirrors. An all-purpose cleaner will only do the job if there are stubborn stains. On cleaning the mirrors, use the same procedures as you did before in cleaning the other mirrors.
Finally, spread your bed, change the bedsheet and curtains, arrange your clothing and accessories, and remember to return your shoes to their proper places.

9. Summing it up

Everybody wants to retire to a tidy, well-maintained house. In addition to the health advantages mentioned above, this guarantees that we are comfortable and happy in our houses. However, one of the most important things we can do to ensure our homes are havens is to learn how to thoroughly clean and sanitize every space.

REFERENCES

1.Bloomfield, S. F. (2007). Importance of disinfection as a means of prevention in our changing world hygiene and the home. GMS Krankenhaushygiene Interdisziplinar, 2(1), Doc25
3.Tidier homes, fitter bodies?: IU News Room: Indiana University. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2023
4.Meesters, J. A. J., Nijkamp, M. M., Schuur, A. G., & te Biesebeek, J. D. (2018, January 1). All-purpose cleaners. NCBI Bookshelf
5.Selected EPA-registered disinfectants. (2015, September 28). US EPA.
7.Cardinale, M., Kaiser, D., Lueders, T., Schnell, S., & Egert, M. (2017). Microbiome analysis and confocal microscopy of used kitchen sponges reveal massive colonization by Acinetobacter, Moraxella, and Chryseobacterium species. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1–13.
8.6 surprisingly dirty places in your home. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved December 15, 2023
9.Hurst, M. (2023, February 23). How to declutter sentimental items when it feels hard to let go. Homes & Gardens.
Article by
Charles M. Carlsen
Hello! I'm Charles, As co-founder of Drsono, I contribute to the DRSONO blog, providing valuable insights and up-to-date information on ultrasound technology and diagnostic imaging.

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