Disinfectant or Cleanser - What's Best for Your Home?
Updated: Oct 9, 2022
With schools finally open once again as of today, September 2021, and public health officials warning that we're far from out of the woods relative to COVID-19, you may be wondering: How do I effectively sanitize my home without aggravating allergies, spending a whole lot of money, and coming out of this crisis looking like the mutant fish from The Simpsons?
At Shoppers Drug Mart the other day I saw a product that had literally disappeared from the shelves in my local grocery and drug stores for six months: Lysol wipes. I immediately bought myself a couple of tubes. God how I missed those large, textured wipes, so beautifully pre-soaked with chemicals that will kill 99.9 percent of just about every harmful thing I can't see!
But wait...I make natural (and nearly-natural) bath and body care products because I care about things like endocrine disruption and surfactants destroying our fresh water and detergents irritating sensitive skin. I use bar soap whenever possible and polish my glass coffee table to a shine with nothing stronger than white vinegar. Traumatized by memories of my mother spraying every surface of our apartment with Lysol from an aerosol can back in the 80s (presumably right before she went out onto the ice to club some helpless seals) I use mild dish detergent as an all purpose cleaner.
By eco-conscious standards, I don't go nearly far enough; there are people who have always made their own gentle, natural cleansing wipes using nothing more than essential oils, water, and faith. Why was I snapping up Lysol wipes - most of which score a D rating or lower in terms of their potential harm to humans??
Disinfecting vs. Cleaning
Well it turns out that my lifelong scrubbing habit falls squarely into the cleaning category - as opposed to disinfecting, which is what is required to kill viruses that make us sick. When the pandemic hit, in order to keep my family and customers safe, I had to rethink the whole elbow grease thing.
Cleaning removes dirt, debris and germs, but it doesn't kill all the germs present on a surface. Disinfecting does kill those germs, or disarms their ability to make us sick.
With my wasteful, expensive, blessedly convenient disposable wipes being out of stock everywhere in the known universe - at any price - we had to adapt to a new regime. Alcohol and peroxide both make great disinfectants, plus you don't feel your sponge melting after you use it, as with bleach. Alcohol being just about as hard to find in store as wipes, I began to order online from C6 Medical Supply, which has low prices on medical grade disinfectants, sanitizers and PPE, and free shipping - no commercial account required. No, this is not a paid endorsement, just a mom sharing intel...but please, C6 Medical, feel free to notice this plug and send me a few more gallon jugs of alcohol when you have a minute!
So now that I stock enough alcohol to bathe in and a few hundred wipes, is it just one big chemical soup in here? No need.
Tips for Keeping Surfaces Clean During COVID-19 (or anytime)
It feels like we're not really going anywhere or seeing anyone, but hey, viruses be sneaky like that...so what do we need to disinfect regularly with the hardcore products, and what can merely be cleaned?
Professionals recommend disinfecting a minimum of 4 high traffic, high touch areas for optimal safety:
Kitchen: Cutting boards, countertops, faucets, sinks, handles like fridge & freezer door and oven handle
Household: Doorknobs and door handles, light switches, appliance switches, and outlets
Bathroom: Again sinks, faucets, counters, and the things you grab for every day - maybe it's the Lubriderm or your mascara or hair brush.
Devices: Cell phone! Have you seen your screen lately?! Also tablets, ear buds, key fobs, and anything else that leaves the house with you.
To this we add all the tables, counters, stove, and appliances where our products are made and packaged, and the airtight bins where they are stored. I'm grateful that someone out there took a scorched-earth approach to killing ordinary household germs and bacteria, because we need it right now.
The Burning Question - Natural Cleaning Products?
Just about every week someone emails to ask whether SaltZ&Co also makes natural laundry detergent and household cleaning products for sale. These products are really, really easy to make with online recipes, and most families find they have to experiment with what works best for them, anyway, so this expansion remains on my scroll-like to-do list.
For now we are committed to getting your body - not your house - clean, soft, smoove, great-smelling, relaxed and pampered, the natural way. We have a great new, all-natural handmade soap that is great for face AND body, and contains 3 naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial essential oils - orange, clove and cinnamon bark - so you can smell great and fight dirt and oils in the shower or tub.
Check out Christmas & Clover 100% natural soap here.
Till next time, stay safe and happy!