What You Should Know About Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

I remember the days of lying to get out of going to school. Now I've pretended to be ill (in my head only) during a 14 day quaranteen as a way to protect myself and others around me.

The whole idea of pretending was/is to be extra vigilant about my actions around the home and neighbourhood.

You see, I am surrounded by elders who are high risk, and it would break my heart if anyone of them got ill because of me.

Now, during lockdown restrictions, I've remained cautious and only go out for food and exercise.

With that said, I've focused on advice of cleaning and disinfecting your home especially if someone is sick and the importance of having a consistent clean and safe environment.

So I put on my researcher hat and got deep into the world of house cleaning if someone is sick in the home.

What I've found, got me thinking about dealing with germs and bacteria entering my home via shoes, food stuff contained in packaging and frequently touched surfaces such as appliances, electronic gadgets, door handles and dishes.

Here is what I initially realized.

You know how sometimes you do things but don't know or really care about the reason why?

Well that is what sanitizing and disinfecting was for me. I remember that I never liked preparing and cooking meat because of the extra cleaning and sanitizing that had to take place.

Anyway, this is about the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting your home and how often you should do each.

Cleaning is about getting rid of dirt and grime. It removes germs rather than kills them. While sanitizing kills most germs and disinfecting is meant to kill all germs and bacteria.

Personally I tended to see it all as cleaning. But after spending some time researching the topic and best practices, that is not longer the case.

Here are some of the key points I've come away with:

  1. Sanitizing and disinfecting is not cleaning.

  2. Sanitizing and disinfecting have a sitting time for how efficient they are. The sitting time for a disinfectant is 10 minutes because according to test, it can destroy all organisms in that time. For sanitizers the sitting time is 30 seconds in which they can destroy 99.999 percent of bacteria.

  3. Bleach can be considered as both a sanitizer and disinfectant depending on its concentration. According to CDC guidelines bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours and you can prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. For sanitizing you can use a lower concentration, for example use 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water (or 1 teaspoon to 1 quart).

  4. Always clean a surface before sanitizing or disinfecting as a dirty surface will reduce their effects.

  5. Sanitize or Disinfect to stop the spread of germs and bacteria. This is especially important in the home when someone is sick.

  6. Have a checklist for all the 'High Touch' areas in your home and clean and disinfect/sanitize them regularly even if you're not going out often.

By now you know how much I like a checklist. Go on ahead and make one for the most frequently touched surfaces that you need to sanitize or disinfect regularly especially if someone is sick is your home. Here's my list below.

Checklist of Frequently Touched Areas and Items

Here are some other things I've realized since making that checklist that I should add.

Things to disinfect:

  • Trash cans/bins

  • Kitchen sink and counters

  • Floors

  • Stove nobs

For a more specific plan on cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting frequency, checkout this table from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for more information. I've found it to be very useful. It shows you all the different areas to clean in your home, whether or not to disinfect or sanitize and how often to do it.

Subscribe to the Saturday Morning Cleanup for Weekly cleaning advice.

House Cleaning Tips Blog

↑ Grab this Headline Animator


Home : Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home


Claim your free copy of our Special Report:

How To Clean Your House: Advice From the Past

* indicates required

Read our privacy policy here.

In it you'll get...

  • The exact practices used for household management back in 1914 -- you'll be shocked to know that we still use some of these today.

  • The best methods of removing dust, cleaning paint, woodwork and glass.

  • Instructions on how and why you should make an inventory of household goods in a card file -- e.g., "Keep bed linen and towels, piled preferably on shelves, near bedrooms and bathrooms, marked and numbered. Put the clean underneath when they come from the laundry."

By entering your email, you're opting in to receive our free weekly house cleaning letter, "The Saturday Morning Cleanup". It will give you house cleaning tips and motivation to create a home that is quick and easy to clean. We'll never send you spam, and you can opt-out at any time.

Recent Articles

  1. How to Scape Up Some Motivation to Get Your House Cleaning Done

    Sep 12, 20 07:52 AM

    Sometimes you just need a little bit of motivation to get started and finish cleaning your home. Here are 5 tips to get you motivated.

    Read more

  2. How to Organize Your Kitchen In One Day

    Sep 05, 20 10:45 AM

    Organize your kitchen for a space that's less of a time suck when it comes to keeping it clean and ready for the next meal preparation session.

    Read more

  3. Toward A Self Cleaning House

    Aug 30, 20 02:21 PM

    Can you imagine having a self cleaning house? What would something like that even look like? Would it have reversible parts that automatically switch

    Read more

  4. Clutter Clearing: How the State of Your Home Affects Your Life

    Aug 29, 20 12:11 PM

    Clutter clearing is one of the most effective self-improvement tactics available to you.

    Read more

  5. Stay on Top of Your House Cleaning and Keep Your House Clean

    Aug 29, 20 01:17 AM

    Use these 5 tips to help you to keep your house clean.

    Read more