Fall Cleaning: Give your home a flu shot

Posted: 8/29/2012

Clean before disinfecting. Dirt and grime may prevent disinfectants from working, by creating a shield for microorganisms. To ensure dirt and oil are removed completely, be sure to choose a cleaning solution that is designed to bond with dirt and suspend it in water. Also, make sure your cleaning rags have enough absorbency to wipe the dirty water from the surface you are cleaning.

Focus on the critical areas such as door handles, faucets and light switches, especially during local flu outbreaks or when someone in your family is suffering from the flu.

Pay close attention to the labels. Products that say "disinfectant" on the label are required to meet government specifications. To be sure the product has met all government requirements for effectiveness, look for an EPA Registration Number on the label. You must follow the product label instructions exactly for the disinfectant to be effective.

Choose the right tools.  Disinfecting wipes make a great standby for when you need to quickly disinfect a surface. During a stomach flu epidemic they are a convenient way to wipe down doorknobs, toys, and the telephone quickly and often. To disinfect, make sure you allow the surface to stay visibly wet for 5 minutes before surface drying. For nonporous surfaces allow to be visibly wet for 30 seconds. Do not use these wipes on unpainted wood. Meanwhile, if you opt to use disinfecting sprays or liquids with reusable rags, be sure to avoid cross contaminating your surfaces by using one colored rag exclusively in your bathroom, another exclusively in your kitchen, and so forth.

So remember, just a little bit of extra care and caution will help keep you and your family safe during flu season and at all times.