As schools and offices reopen in the face of dwindling COVID-19 positive numbers, and life begins to adjust to what we’re calling the ‘new normal’, let’s not take for granted the basic hygiene practices that played a huge part in our defense against the novel coronavirus. The most important one of all being sanitization.
Yes, it seems like Pakistan has managed to keep the worst of the pandemic at bay, and yes, restaurants, wedding halls, schools and offices have reopened, but that does not mean we can throw all caution to the wind and forget about social distancing, hand washing, and sanitization. Now is the time to be more cautious than ever when it comes to following SOPs as this crucial juncture will determine our success in the battle against COVID-19 in the long run.
First things first, let’s not confuse cleaning with sanitization. Cleaning removes germs physically through the use of soap or detergent, while Sanitizing kills germs and reduces the growth of viruses, fungi, and all types of harmful bacteria. You can clean every day, but it won’t be as effective as thoroughly sanitizing your home or workplace. A product that sanitizes effectively, like Conaturals’ Hand and Surface Sanitizing Spray, which contains 75 percent alcohol, greatly reduces all bacteria, not just one specific type. That's why sanitizing is one of the most essential components of the cleaning process in medical offices, food service businesses, schools, daycares, shopping malls, gymnasiums, and work environments and it should be in your homes too.
Bacteria and viruses can not only spread from person to person, but from person to surface as well. There are several factors that influence bacteria and virus life, including the type of surface, such as counters or fabric, living habits such as regularly washing clothes and disinfecting surfaces, lifestyle practices such as washing your hands and showering regularly and cleaning procedures, such as the use of alcohol and bleach versus detergent and soap.
Different areas of your home have different levels of risk when it comes to exposing you to bacteria and viruses. While sanitizing each and every inch of your space every day is not realistic, there are some surfaces that have proven to be a breeding ground for bacteria if left unchecked. Here are the potential germ hubs that you need to tackle ASAP:
The National Sanitization Foundation found that areas where food is stored or prepared had more bacteria and fecal contamination than even the bathroom. This includes the inside of your refrigerator as well as your microwave!
In the study, more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags had Salmonella, E. coli, and fecal matter compared to 9 percent on bathroom faucet handles. Pretty gross, right? Other kitchen items that need frequent cleaning include cutting boards, coffee makers and electronic kettles, the refrigerator, especially areas in contact with uncooked and unwashed food and kitchen sink and countertops.
To target these areas effectively, use disinfectant wipes or surface sanitizers with more than 70 percent alcohol on the faucet, refrigerator surfaces, and countertops. You should also make it a habit to heat damp sponges in the microwave for a minute to kill bacteria. And the obvious, wash your hands before and after touching or handling food.
Using bleach and rubbing alcohol or disinfectant wipes with over 60 percent Ethanol or 70 percent Isopropanol is especially effective against SARS-CoV-2 on these surfaces in the kitchen, too.
Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water, or use Conaturals’ Hand Sanitizer for 20 seconds before and after you touch raw meat or unprepared food.
Knobs, Handles, and Switches
While you may assume the bathroom door handle would be the dirtiest surface in your home, studies have found that other spots such as bathroom light switches, refrigerator handles, stove knobs and microwave handles ranked higher in terms of dirtiness! Sanitize these spots once a week with disinfecting wipes or a Conaturals’ Hand and Surface sanitizing spray and clean rag. This will not just eliminate lingering SARS COVID-19 bacteria but every type of harmful bacteria.
The handles and bristles of makeup applicators, like brushes, are prime real estate for germs, especially if you carry your makeup bag outside the house. And the worst part is, germs that reside on your makeup brushes can cause very prominent skin and eye infections. The new coronavirus can also spread from your hands onto your makeup applicators, making its way into your mouth, nose and eyes, allowing the virus to infect your respiratory tract directly.
All makeup products should be stored in a clean, dry place at room temperature to ensure maximum cleanliness. Spraying your makeup brushes as well as all other applicators with sanitizing spray that has a high alcohol content is most effective in eradicating all kinds of nasties and keeping your makeup utensils germ free.
Surprise, surprise! The place you scrub dirt and grime off of your body holds bacteria. And since we all love a hot shower, moisture creates the perfect breeding ground for germ growth. Spots such as the bathtub, the drains, faucets, the floor area around the toilet, bath towels and tooth brushes should be paid special attention. You can wipe surfaces and handles down with a sanitizing spray on a daily basis and do a thorough cleaning once a week.
Old toothbrushes sprayed with Conaturals’ Hand and Surface Sanitizing spray can be used for cleaning small spaces like around drains and faucets. As for toothbrushes in use, always ensure they have a protective cover. Go the extra mile by spraying the insides of the covers as often as you can with an alcohol based sanitizing spray.
Office and Living Room
TV and AC Remote controls, computer keyboards, phones, and tablets are often passed around between multiple people, be it at home or at your workplace, which unfortunately leads to these items being unknowingly covered in germs and bacteria. Even the humble carpets in your homes or offices can hold up to eight times in dirt and dust and may even be dirtier than a city street!
Spray a clean rag with an effective sanitizing spray, like Conaturals’ Hand and Surface Sanitizing spray, and wipe down all remotes, keyboards, and especially your phone to get rid of harmful germs and bacteria that could lead to severe illnesses. And be diligent about washing or sanitizing your hands before touching any household objects if you’ve been out in public or have come into contact with someone who has.
You can bring in bacteria and viruses from the outside to your house each day through your shoes, gym bag, and even headphones. Easily contaminated items include cell phones, keys, wallets and money, lunch boxes and the bottoms of your favorite bags. The novel coronavirus, as well most other viruses, can live on the surfaces of these objects for up to 3 days. Spray them down with an alcohol-based sanitizer to ensure you’re not bringing in unwanted bacteria into your home.
While sanitization is one way of keeping bacteria and viruses from spreading, what’s even more effective against them are good habits. Taking off your shoes before walking through the house, immediately changing your clothes when you’ve come from outside, sneezing and coughing into a tissue or the nook of your elbow, showering daily and most importantly, washing or sanitizing your hands for 20 to 30 seconds after you’ve come into contact with anything that may be contaminated are key habits that will protect you and your close ones in the long run. Live your life to the fullest in this new normal, just don’t forget to wash or sanitize your hands!
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