The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t showed signs of slowing — but it’s at least forced us into rethinking our hygiene habits.
Social distancing measures or no, going out means exposure to germs that you might then carry home with you.
We don’t mean to be alarmist, but these are the unfortunate facts: bacteria can live on common surfaces for several days, particularly in the home.
Which is why learning how to disinfect and clean your home the right way is important, and even more so now.
Here’s what this guide covers:
- Cleaning vs Disinfecting: What’s the Difference?
- What You’ll Need to Disinfect Your Home (+ Costs)
- Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home
- High-Contact Surfaces to Sanitise
- Final Tips
TL;DR: It Costs $0.31/Day to Disinfect Your Home
I’d never realised this, but cleaning and disinfecting are not the same.
So — and before getting to a breakdown of the above tallied figure — it’s important to first understand the differences between the two.
Cleaning vs Disinfecting: What’s the Difference?
Cleaning involves using an agent (like soap or detergent) to remove contaminants and impurities from a surface. This doesn’t kill germs, but lowers the risk of infection by decreasing the amount of bacteria on a surface.
On the other hand, disinfecting uses chemical agents to effectively kill germs.
Ideally, you should first clean a surface with soap and a hand towel before disinfecting. Using antibacterial wipes or a disinfectant spray should do the trick.
While it’s fully OK to clean crockery and kitchenware with just dishwashing liquid and water, it’s important not to neglect larger surfaces, either.
What You’ll Need to Disinfect Your Home ( + Costs)
Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you’ll need to disinfect your home, based on the lowest prices in online supermarkets:
|For Cleaning||Dishwashing liquid||$4.30 (5l)||NTUC FairPrice On|
|Microfibre cleaning cloth||$5.50 (3 pcs)||Redmart|
|For Disinfecting||Spray bottle||$2||Daiso|
|Disinfecting wipes, e.g. Clorox||$4.10 (35 pcs)||NTUC FairPrice On|
|Disinfectant liquid||$10.80 (750ml)|
|Optional add-ons||Isopropyl alcohol 70%||$14.95 (2 x 250ml bottles)||Redmart|
|Disinfectant spray||$7.80 (340g)|
|Total (Excluding add-ons)||$41.65|
For the sake of the — ahem — budget-conscious among us, I’ve further whittled the list to prove how little it costs to keep your home (and devices!) clean.
For Cleaning Dishwashing liquid $4.30 (5l) NTUC FairPrice On
Microfibre cleaning cloth $5.50 (3 pcs) Redmart
For Disinfecting Spray bottle $2 Daiso
Disinfectant liquid $10.80 (750ml)
Isopropyl alcohol 70% $14.95 (2 x 250ml bottles) Redmart
Total Cost (Assuming Over Four-Month Period) $37.55
Total Cost Per Day Breakdown:
[$37.55 / (30.5 days x 4 months)]
Some considerations to factor in include:
- That numbers are averaged over a four-month period
- That you’d likely already have some of the abovementioned household products — like microfibre cloths or dishwashing liquid — so your costs per day might in fact be lower than reflected.
How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home
It sounds obvious enough, but maintaining a clean home is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing — particularly in a time where precautionary measures are being meted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to sanitising your home.
This should ideally be done once a day, even if no one in the household is showing signs of sickness.
Step 1: Cleaning
There’re two ways of doing this:
In a spray bottle, dilute two to three pumps of dishwashing liquid with water and spritz high-contact surface areas.
(PSST: We’ve a full list below, but this essentially refers to areas around the house that the hands regularly come into contact with.)
Alternatively, add half a pump of dishwashing liquid to a damp microfibre cloth. Briefly run it under water to effectively dilute the dishwashing liquid, then gently wring the cloth and do a wipe down of areas around your home.
Step 2: Disinfecting the Home
In a spray bottle, dilute several drops of disinfectant spray (like Dettol) with warm water, then again generously spritz the same high-contact surface areas.
Allow around three to five seconds before wiping down each area with a microfibre cloth. That’s because disinfectants take time to effectively destroy germs.
Step 3: Disinfecting Devices
If you’re disinfecting your devices, the most effective way’s to use a nonabrasive disinfectant — like 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Your smartphone requires extra attention since it follows you to most places…including your bathroom.
(C’mon; who isn’t guilty of this? 🤭)
Add several drops of disinfectant directly to a slightly damp microfibre cloth or soft cloth, then wipe down your devices. Be sure that they aren’t plugged in to a charging port.
If you’d rather not purchase isopropyl alcohol — it admittedly isn’t cheap — then consider instead using disinfectant wipes that contain the ingredient.
Step 4: Disinfecting Cloths and Sponges
It’s easy to forget how much gunk can accumulate on sponges and cloths.
It’s good practice to scald them in a sink with boiling hot water every other day to decrease the chances of bacterial growth.
High-Contact Surfaces to Sanitise
When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, think about which areas around the home are most frequented.
Some high-contact surfaces might include:
- Cupboard and door handles
- Fridge door handles
- Light switches
- Waste bin
- Toilet seats
- Flush handle/flush button
- Table surfaces, countertops
- TV remote control
- Aircon/fan remote controls
- Home phone
- Gaming console controllers
- Dining chairs
- Devices: Phone, tablets, PCs and desktop computers
- Kitchen sponges and microfibre cloths
With all that in mind, these are some final reminders to round things off:
Sanitise Like Your Life Depends On It
If you’re expecting visitors, offer them hand sanitiser. Be shameless about it; insist on it!
Much as being environmentally friendly is important, food spills and body liquids are nasty carriers of bacteria. Clean them up soon as possible with disposable kitchen towels; you don’t want a new breeding ground of germs in your safe haven.
Keep Surfaces Dry
Germs thrive in damp environments. Be sure to air-dry your kitchen cloths and sponges regularly — as well as check for mould growth or mildew, particularly in the bathroom.
A cleaner space is a healthier space, so go forth and disinfect your home the right way!