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By Pam Burke 

CDC gives recommendations on disinfecting


Last updated 3/24/2020 at 11:40am

The Centers for Disease Control recommends disinfecting surfaces, but it helps to know a little more about products to get that done effectively and safely.

Cleaning and disinfecting are two different things, the “Clean & Disinfect” guidance for households from the CDC says.

Cleaning is the “removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces,” and it isn’t done to remove germs. It does lower germ numbers and lowers the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting, on the other hand, is the use of chemicals on surfaces to kill germs. Disinfecting doesn’t have to clean dirty surfaces, and it doesn’t necessarily remove all germs.

“Killing germs on a surface after cleaning it can further lower the risk of spreading infection,” the guidance says.

CDC recommends using any Evironmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning products that specifically say they are disinfectants. The key here is that not all cleaners are disinfectants, even bleach. Read the labels, even on bleach bottles.

Other recommended common household disinfectants include soap and water, hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol, the CDC says.

The CDC recommends the following guidelines for these cleaners, and commercial products that contain them as active ingredients.

8 Bleach is diluted 5 tablespoons — one-third cup — of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water, and has to be left on a surface for 10 minutes.

• Hydrogen peroxide is applied non-diluted and left for 10 minutes.

• Isopropyl alcohol has to be at least 70 percent alcohol, undiluted and left for at least 30 seconds.

• Soap and water can be used on surfaces, but surfaces have to be scrubbed as diligently as hands, not just wiped down, which can be difficult in a large surface area. Cleaning with soap and water before disinfecting is recommended to make the disinfectants for effective.

Liquid soap like dish soap can be used prior to other disinfectants and cleaners and let to dry, but cleaners and disinfectants cannot be mixed because they cause a detrimental chemical reaction.

Do Not Mix

• Bleach and vinegar

• Bleach and ammonia

• Bleach and rubbing alcohol

• Bleach and other cleaning and disinfecting products

• Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar


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