Given the news reports about the new coronavirus, cleanliness is top of mind for many. We've put together a quick guide of some hot topics to help you stay clean, happy, and healthy during this time.
Can towels, sheets, and clothes spread germs?
Yes, germs can spread through laundry items such as towels, sheets, and clothing. Some washing machines have sanitize or steam settings. Normal washing of clothing with any laundry detergent will reduce the risk of germs being spread.
Less is more when it comes to laundry detergent - by overdosing your detergent you can end up with an excess of detergent that can lock in bacteria and odor. Use the recommended amount, and make sure you don't overload your washing machine - too many clothes can lead to items not being washed thoroughly during the wash cycle.
If anyone in your household is sick, we recommend washing their items separately using the warmest appropriate water setting. The ideal temperature for killing germs is between 140 and 150 degrees, however, this may not be appropriate for all items based on their material. And most importantly, remember to wash your hands after handling unwashed clothes!
For extra cleaning power, we recommend using Dropps Oxi Booster Pods. They oxidize stains and microbes, allowing them to be broken up and lifted away from fabrics and surfaces.
One of the most effective germ killers is the sun - you can avoid the dryer altogether using the sun's ultraviolet radiation to kill germs. Alternatively, tumble drying on high for more than 28 minutes can kill many harmful microorganisms.
Will vinegar kill coronavirus?
While vinegar is a popular home cleaning product, it will not sanitize and kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses that are known to cause the cold, flu, and other viruses as effectively as stronger products. Some studies have shown that it will decrease the presence of bacteria, however you need to allow at least a half hour of exposure.
“There is a common perception that vinegar can clean everything, but it isn't the catchall ingredient that you might think it is,” says Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communications at the American Cleaning Institute (CR Reports).
The EPA has provided a list of EPA-registered surface disinfectant products for use against SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Should I make my own hand sanitizer?
With hand sanitizers flying off the shelf, many are considering their own DIY versions with recipes from Pinterest, Twitter, and Reddit. Experts caution that following a recipe and making your own version is difficult - it's hard to get the concentration right and you may end up with an end product that is not effective or is too harsh on your skin.
The alternative? Just use soap.
The CDC and WHO both recommend washing your hands as one of the top ways to prevent illness. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, many times per day (before and after you eat, after you use the restroom, etc.) Avoid touching your face - particularly your mucous membranes including your lips, nose and eyes.
Additional Cleaning Resources
CDC Environmental Cleaning & Disinfection Recommendations
American Cleaning Institute's Cleaning for Health Guide
EPA Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting Guide
Looking for more tips? Drop them in the comments below.