Are You Disinfecting Or Cleaning

Published by usjemu on

Are You Disinfecting Or Are You Just Cleaning?

Quick question for you.  True or False?

“My bottle of disinfectant says that it cleans AND kills 99.9% of germs.  So all I need to do is pull out the cloth and wipe the counter and it has been disinfected.”

FALSE!  Unfortunately, many consumers never read the back of the bottle.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a great deal of products out there on the market that can do both.  But HOW they do both is listed in small print on the back of the bottle (which is often overlooked).

So let’s stick with Clorox wipes for a bit.  You can totally ‘clean’ your counters with them, removing the jelly your kids spilled on the counter.  And it will come clean.  

But, let’s say you wanted to disinfect…after all, the Clorox wipes say they do both.  So you cleaned up the jelly and disinfected the counter all in one step, right?  


The back of the bottle lets us know that in order to disinfect, the surface needs to remain visibly wet for 4 min!  And, just so you know, every disinfectant has what we refer to as a “dwell” time (aka, needs to stay wet for X amount of time).  

Say what!?!?

I know, I know…What you really want to know is if the above info isn’t actually disinfecting….Then how do you properly disinfect?

So let’s break it down into 3 steps.

Step 1.  Clean, then Zap

Fist you will need to clean the counter.  This can be any all purpose cleaner or even a microfiber towel and just water will do a great job (you can read more about how great microfiber is here).  Then you want to Zap it with disinfectant (either spray or use a wipe).

2.  Spray and Stay

This is what I was talking about earlier.  This is the biggest mistake the most make when using disinfectant.  You will need to read the back of the bottle of disinfectant you are using to see how long of a dwell time is required to kill viruses or bacteria.

Depending on the disinfectant, the dwell time will vary from 90 seconds to 10 minutes depending on what you trying to kill (viruses are easier to kill than bacteria). If you are using the Clorox wipes and the area air dries before the dwell time as been reached, you will need to re-wipe the area with the Clorox wipe to keep it wet until you have reached the end of the dwell time.  If the surface is still wet once the dwell time is reached, you can then proceed to wipe the surface dry.

3.  One & Done

Now it’s time to learn the proper way to wipe the surface. You are going to want to wipe each surface with a different side of the towel.  This is important because you will not want to take containments from one surface to another as it would completely defeat the purpose of disinfecting to begin with.  If you are using the disinfecting wipes, same rules apply.  Wipe the surface, allow for it to stay wet and then use the back side of the wipe for the next surface.  After both sides of the wipe have been used, toss the wipe and get a new one for the remaining surfaces.

To quickly re-cap, here are the main things to remember:

Clean the area to be disinfected first

Spray & Stay – Make sure your disinfectant is remain wet for the length of the dwell time

One & Done – only use 1 side of the towel per surface to avoid cross contamination.

So there you have it!  If you were lucky enough to score some disinfectant at Target this week, make sure you are using it correctly so you are getting full effect of your investment and work.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!  

Categories: Ella's Cleaning Tips

Get a Quote (949) 447-4602