During these uncertain times, all of us at Sweeping Dimensions Cleaning Service are here for you. We’re your Chicago cleaning experts, and we’re always ready to help in any way that we can. Here on our blog, we will continue to pass along guidelines, tips, and all of the up-to-the-minute information you need to keep your home, business, and family safe and comfortable.
We know this is a stressful time. And our mission will always be to make a sweeping effort to make life less stressful.
As we all do our part to help bend the curve on the coronavirus, many people here in Chicago and around the country are on the lookout for the best ways to keep their loved ones safe. One of the most effective steps we can all take to help mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 is to adopt some basic deep cleaning principles — including disinfecting our household surfaces on a regular basis.
“Cleaning and sanitizing your household after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease.”
With cleaning and sanitation products flying off of store shelves, one of the most effective household disinfectants remains one of the most common: bleach. While bleach can be a powerful disinfectant, it is often somewhat misunderstood. Many people are nervous about the idea of using this potent cleaning agent. After all, bleach can have an intense smell, and it requires some care and proper handling to be used safely — which can make some people afraid to get started.
Interested in learning more about bleach, and how you can put it to work around your Chicago home safely and effectively? Curious about bleach alternatives, or other disinfecting products you can use in the fight against COVID-19 and other pathogens? Here’s what you need to know…
“What Is Bleach, and What Is It Used For?”
Bleach is a bit of a catch-all term used to refer to powerful cleaning agents. Specifically, most household bleaches contain a dilution of sodium hypochlorite (usually around 5-6%) and water. Some other types of bleach contain hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate, and sodium perborate, among other active ingredients.
Bleach can be used for disinfecting a variety of porous and non-porous surfaces around your home, including toilets, showers, sinks, floors, outdoor furniture, and countertops. Bleach can also be used as a general disinfectant for most hard surfaces and household items, including toys, tools, and touchpoints like lightswitches, cabinet hardware, trash cans, shower curtains, and doorknobs. Many people also use bleach as part of their laundry regimen, as it can brighten colors and freshen up worn-down fabrics.
“How Do I Use Bleach Effectively?”
So, how can you put bleach to work effectively? First and foremost, keep in mind that bleach is used for disinfecting, rather than cleaning. While it can be tempting to use those two words interchangeably, they have some important distinctions to keep in mind — particularly now, as we all work to stop the spread of dangerous pathogens.
As the CDC sums it up, cleaning refers to “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces.” It does not kill germs, but may help remove them from surfaces. Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to using chemicals “to kill germs on surfaces.” To get the best results, use both methods in tandem. First, clean the surface with soap and water to get rid of visible dirt and debris, and let it dry. Then, follow up by sanitizing the surface with a solution of bleach and cool, clean water.
Always dilute bleach before putting it to use! While most bleach products that you can purchase in a store will already be diluted, be sure to dilute them down even further with water — and water only. A little bit of bleach goes a long way. For most surfaces, the CDC recommends mixing five tablespoons (or one-third cup) bleach per gallon of water, or four teaspoons bleach per quart of water. Bleach expert Mary Gagliardi agrees, encouraging the use of one half cup of bleach or less with a gallon of water to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces.
Additionally, the CDC recommends taking care to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application for all disinfectants, ensuring a contact time of at least one minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application.
“What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Using Bleach?”
While bleach can be used safely in spots around the house, it’s also important to remember to take basic precautions — before, during, and after you put it to work:
- Avoid getting bleach on exposed skin or in your eyes. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection to avoid mishaps or splashes on vulnerable parts of your body.
- When working with bleach, keep the room ventilated and avoid inhaling fumes directly. Consider opening windows and doors to let in fresh air.
- Never mix bleach with ammonia, alcohol, or other household cleansers. Mixing bleach with other chemicals can create a bad reaction that may cause adverse health effects.
- Keep bleach in a safe location — out of the reach of children, and in a space where it is not likely to spill.
“Are There Any Alternatives I Can Use? Who Can Help Me Learn More?”
Still nervous about using bleach? Fortunately, there is a long list of disinfectants approved to help kill the coronavirus. You can find a list of EPA-approved disinfectants here; CNN has a helpful guide to common disinfectants you can use against coronavirus, here.
We’re also here to help, in whatever way we can! At Sweeping Dimensions, we’re always updating our arsenal of cleaning products so we can provide options that will suit your needs. This includes non-bleach, environmentally friendly disinfectants that are safe for household use. As always, we can bring all of the supplies necessary to disinfect your home from top to bottom.
Curious about what disinfectants we can put to work for you? Interested in learning more about how to use bleach safely and effectively? We can offer safety guidance and plenty of information. Just reach out to keep the discussion going. Nervous about handling bleach on your own? Our skillful teams are ready to take on your biggest cleaning jobs safely and efficiently — so you can get the clean you need, without any extra stress.
Sweeping Dimensions Is Here to Help Keep You Safe, Healthy, and Comfortable
Whatever challenges life brings, you can rest assured that Sweeping Dimensions Cleaning Service will always be here to help.
Our cleaning experts can tackle the little things, so you and your loved ones can remain safe and secure, no matter what life brings. Our teams of professionally trained cleaners offer flexible time windows, unparalleled attention to detail, and can bring all of the cleaning supplies needed to sanitize your home or workplace.
We can help take some of the pressure off, giving you back time to focus on what matters most — while staying safe and healthy, at every step of the way.