Should I disinfect as a professional house cleaner? What natural cleaning agents should you be using?
Are there recommended disinfectants for house cleaning? When should you disinfect a client’s house? Is disinfecting overkill or is sanitizing enough when cleaning professionally.
Listen: Should I Disinfect as a Professional House Cleaner?
Watch: Should I Disinfect as a Professional House Cleaner?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Should I Disinfect as a Professional House Cleaner?
Should I disinfect as a professional house cleaner?
“My question today is about disinfectant. I do know that there’s a lot of cleaning companies out there right now that are offering disinfecting packages. Can you tell me about products to use that disinfect versus some of the natural ones that may not do the 99.99% of the germs and viruses?
Do you always keep an all-purpose disinfectant in your cleaning caddy? I’m interested in the disinfectant side of it that would be for all-purpose or for most surfaces.
It’s important and there are a lot of people that want their home disinfected now that this virus is going around and even for a long period afterward. And I know some cleaning agents are not disinfectant.”
The Virus is Causing New Conversations
So going back after the stay at home encouragement from our leaders. When you start working again, every contact that you have with your customer is going to need a new conversation.
The world has changed. Expectations have changed. Everyone everywhere now is aware of personal protective equipment and disinfecting and sanitizing. So, this is not something you can wing your way through. You need to be very well educated and very informed.
The good news is lots of house cleaners have been using this time to become certified in COVID special training for disinfecting. That said, when you go back on a walk-through with your customer, there’s going to need to be a conversation. And the conversation will be, “Do we need to disinfect your home?”
Not Every Home Will Need to be Disinfected
Now, the reason behind this is that lots of house cleaners assume they’re going to be going back and they’re going to be bringing fogging machines. And they’re going to be wearing hazmat suits and they’re going to be looking like one of the Ghostbusters.
But the reality is this. Many homes did not change. Many homes never had the COVID-19 virus or the coronavirus. And so, to go into their home and to be fogging everything and disinfecting everything is overkill.
Most of the cleaning we do is cleaning and sanitizing. And sanitizing cleans everything to 99.9% of bacteria, which is good enough for most homes. And so, the conversation is going to be, “Do we need to disinfect your home?”
Disinfecting is Overkill for Some Homes
There are homes where nobody there has infected with the virus. Everyone in that home is healthy, and the house is clean. That would be overkill for that home, and it’s going to be overkill for lots of people’s homes.
So, if you assume nobody’s cleaned their house in the month and a half we’ve been out, that might be erroneous. They might be cleaning every single day, so you may not need a deep clean going in and you may not need to disinfect.
What Products to Keep in Your Cleaning Caddy
You will have cleaning supplies that you will keep with you in your cleaning caddy at all times that disinfect. Now, one of them may be the Lysol product that is on the List N for EPA in the United States, and every country has its own list that’s like the EPA list. So, this will disinfect. And you can search for disinfectant products that are listed to kill the coronavirus.
Now, the reason that you may have this in your cleaning caddy, is because when you go into a home, even if there’s no need to disinfect, there may be scenarios in which you need to disinfect certain areas. And that would be if there’s OPIM, which stands for other people’s infectious materials.
So, if you go into a house and somebody’s been puking or there’s blood or there’s urine or something like that. Then you’re going to have to clean that up and disinfect that area.
You Have to Clean Before Disinfecting
Now, the disinfecting rules that we’ve been watching on the news say that you have to clean first. So, you’re going to use your regular cleaning first, then you’re going to disinfect.
The scary thing is, if you look at the List N for the EPA, lots of the contact time for dwelling on a surface is 2 to 10 minutes. So, if you start spraying chemicals and you leave them there for 10 minutes, that will disinfect. But, most of the time disinfectant is used for hospital rooms. And most people don’t need hospital room quality in their homes. For the majority of people that isn’t really necessary.
What Natural Disinfectants to Use
There are some natural products on the market, but they all come with a clause. Vinegar is a natural product.
That said, it is 2.5 on the pH scale, which means it’s very acidic and not safe for most surfaces. Another natural product is lemons. You can clean with lemons, but these are a two on the pH scale, so this is very, very acidic, and again, not safe for most surfaces.
Hydrogen peroxide, if you go to the List N, you can look it up, and it needs to sit for five minutes before it will kill the bacteria and it’s not listed for the coronavirus.
How to Disinfect Surfaces
Also, there is rubbing alcohol, the isopropyl alcohol at 70%. This is what you would use on granite countertops. Nothing else on the market it seems is great for porous surfaces. And a porous surface has the little cracks and fissures in it like granite and marble.
So, if you have granite and marble, the only way you’re going to be able to disinfect that is if you are able to put it inside a spray bottle and spray it on. Now, 70% is already diluted and so you don’t want to dilute it anymore because if you dilute it then it loses its effectiveness.
And first, and foremost, you have to make sure that the surfaces are sealed. So, if you’ll beat up a little bit of water on the surface and leave it for about five minutes if it sinks in, it’s not sealed, and it needs to be sealed. Now, you can leave it for five minutes and that will kill 99.9% of the bacteria. But it is not designed for the coronavirus. So, there are several products that are on the market but not safe for all surfaces.
Check the pH Level on All Your Cleaning Chemicals
So make sure that you check the pH level on all the cleaning chemicals that you use. And more than ever, and this is where it becomes important that house cleaners know your chemical safety issues. You have to know your stuff, you have to know the pH, you have to know what surfaces you can use your cleaning chemicals on.
You may ask “Can I spray bleach on everything and leave it for 10 minutes?” No, don’t! No offense against bleach. It has its purposes. But if you spray bleach on anything and leave it for 10 minutes, it could have some very serious effects, including ruining or damaging the surface. You can’t spray it on everything.
So, there are reasons to sanitize and there are reasons to disinfect. But you need to have a conversation with the customer about what they prefer and then act accordingly. Because not all homes need to be disinfected, and 99.9% in the sanitization process is good enough for most homes.Resources
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