The first thing to understand is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning can leave a surface sparkling clean, but it doesn’t kill germs that may still be present.
Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to the use of chemicals to kill germs on surfaces, helping prevent the spread of infections. Most disinfectants can be used to both clean and disinfect but, if a surface is visibly dirty, it’s best to remove excess dirt first with soap and water.
Health Canada has published a list of hard-surface disinfectants that can be used against COVID-19. You can use one of these ready-made products or make your own bleach solution. Add 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of 5% bleach in 250 mL (a cup) of water, or add 4 teaspoons of 5% bleach in 1 litre (4 cups) of water (if bleach concentration is different, follow the manufacturer's instructions).
If someone in your household has contracted COVID-19 (or another viral illness such as stomach flu), the following guidelines will help prevent the spread of the virus:
A common mistake is not allowing enough contact time to kill the virus. Disinfectants need time to kill germs. If you apply the product and swipe it off immediately, you will have a clean surface but most germs will still be active.
To make sure all germs are killed, you have to apply enough product (the surface should look wet) and wait 15 seconds to 1 minute before wiping it off, depending on the active ingredient. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.