Keeping living spaces and common surfaces clean is very important for your health. After disinfecting or sterilizing, you can make the surfaces around you safe. Both processes are called decontamination. The purpose of decontamination is to reduce the risk of infection extremely by killing enough microorganisms.
What is Disinfection?
Microorganisms are part of daily life and are present on almost every surface. Besides, they are found in soil, water and air. While some are beneficial, some are harmful and cause illness. Sometimes these germs can infect you and make you sick. For example, germs on the remote can pass to you and infect you when you touch the remote. To prevent this infection, it is necessary to disinfect the surfaces. In addition, washing your hands frequently prevents such infections.
Disinfection is a decontamination process to remove harmful microorganisms from the surfaces of objects. This process is carried out with disinfectants. The disinfectant is a public product in the form of a chemical spray or wipe. You can even prepare your own disinfectant at home. The product can remain on surfaces for as little as 20 minutes or for as long as 12 hours.
What Are Disinfectants Effective Against?
Disinfectants work against most viruses and fungi. Most commercial products are currently sold as effective against the Covid-19 virus when used as indicated. In addition, disinfectants can kill bacteria, but they are not effective against dormant bacterial spores.
Best Practices for Disinfecting Surfaces
There are some points that you should pay attention to for a safe disinfection process as stated below.
First, make sure that the product is really an effective disinfectant. The manufacturer must indicate on the product labels that it is suitable for such use.
· Turn to “natural” products that allegedly kill microbes. These easy-to-use natural wipes and sprays can be useful for cleaning. However, chemical disinfectants do not have the ability to destroy microorganisms.
Find out what the product is effective against. Check your disinfectant label to find out what types of bacteria, fungi, and viruses you can get rid of. This is especially important if you are now trying to fight Covid-19.
The right amount of disinfectant should remain on the surface. Therefore, follow the instructions on the product. Do not wipe or wash the disinfectant unless specified in the instructions.
· Avoid contact and wear gloves as the use of these products may cause skin irritation.
· Store disinfectants in a safe place. Tightly close the lids and place the products out of the reach of children. Place disinfectants in a cool, dry environment and carefully follow the expiration date.
· When using the disinfectant, make sure that it is in a well-ventilated environment.
Disinfection in Protection Against Covid-19
Washing your hands frequently and for a long time, wearing masks especially in closed and crowded places and not having close contact with people outside your home reduces the risk of getting Covid-19. Besides, it is very important that you clean and disinfect the surfaces in common areas.
To increase protection against Covid-19, some common areas that need to be disinfected are:
Countertops, sinks and toilets in the kitchen
Door handles and stair handrails
Mobile phones and controls
Toys and items belonging to your children
What are the Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting?
People often think that disinfecting is the same as cleaning or sanitation. But actually they are all different from each other.
Cleaning removes dirt, dust, crumbs and germs from surfaces or objects.
In the cleaning process, mostly water and soap or detergent are used to purify surfaces and objects. In this case, the microbes do not die absolutely. However, since some will move away from the environment, there will not be enough microbes to infect you.
Sanitation can be done by cleaning, disinfection, or both. Sanitizing means that you are reducing the number of germs to a safe level. The value considered safe level depends on public health standards or requirements at a workplace or school. For example, there are cleaning procedures for restaurants and other food preparation facilities.
What you do to sterilize will depend on your needs. You can mop a place using chemicals and water. You can use a dishwasher to sterilize the dishes. In disinfection, disinfectants are used to kill germs on surfaces and objects. Some common disinfectants are bleach and alcohol solutions. In order to kill germs, you usually have to leave the disinfectant on the surfaces for a certain period of time, and this process cannot be said to be thoroughly cleaned of dirty surfaces. There are also products that clean and disinfect at the same time. If you clean and disinfect a surface or object, you further reduce the risk of infection.
Is It Different From Antiseptic And Disinfectant?
Antiseptics and disinfectants both kill microorganisms and many people confuse these terms. However, there are differences between antiseptics and disinfectants. While antiseptic is applied to the body, disinfectant is applied to non-living surfaces such as countertops and handrails. For example, in a surgical setting, a doctor applies an antiseptic to the surgical site on a person’s body, but uses disinfectant to sterilize the operating table.
Antiseptics and disinfectants also contain chemicals sometimes called ‘biocides’. Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in both antiseptics and disinfectants. Antiseptics generally have a lower biocide content than disinfectants.
Questions You Should Ask When Choosing a Hand Sanitizer
· Are microorganisms neutralized by organic matter?
· Is it affected by hard water?
Does it leave residue?
Is it corrosive?
· Does it irritate the skin, eyes or respiratory tract?
· Does it cause toxic effects when applied on the skin or inhaled?
What is the effective shelf life after dilution?
Dirty objects or surfaces prevent the effects of the disinfectant. Therefore, in order to disinfect a surface efficiently, it requires cleaning the surface with soap, detergent and water before disinfection. Bleach (disinfectant) and ammonia (cleaner) should never be mixed as they will produce a toxic gas.
About Hand Washing and Hand Disinfectants
Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer have a separate place. While both serve a purpose, washing your hands with soap and water should always be a priority. Use hand sanitizer only in a particular situation, if soap and water are not available. You should always wash your hands after going to the bathroom, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, before eating, and after touching surfaces that may be contaminated.
For the most effective way to wash and clean your hands, the following steps are recommended:
· Always use clean, running water.
First put your hands in water, then turn off the water and lather your hands thoroughly with soap.
Rub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to clean the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Then turn on the water and rinse your hands. Finally, use a clean towel or air dry.
Hand sanitizer is a handy product on the go that helps prevent the spread of germs when soap and water are not available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of Covid-19 infection.
If you have trouble finding hand sanitizer in shops near you and there are no conditions for hand washing, you can take steps to do it yourself. You can make your own disinfectant by supplying just a few ingredients, such as alcohol, aloe vera gel, and essential oil or lemon juice.