Disinfecting for the Underachiever

#12DaysofBlogmas Health Tips

When a prompt is about “Healthy Holidays,” I know most of you are thinking “healthy eating,” but I’m not a healthy eater. I could live off of Cheeseburgers. But I do have some serious health tips. These are boring things, and many of you already think you’re experts, but I bet I tell you something here you didn’t know. Disinfecting for the Underachiever…

Disinfecting for the Underachiever. A short guide to disinfecting everything enough.

Disinfecting is probably the most vital role in germ management and sickness prevention.

You don’t have to clean your house like it’s a hospital as long as you know what you are doing. Knowledge is power in the war against germs, and the more you know, the lazier you can be about it. You’re going to be surprised at some of this shit I’m about to say because mainstream advice isn’t always good advice.

Use EPA Certified Products

Your best strategy in the war on germs is to use EPA certified products over homemade things because its more of a guarantee. Sure steam kills bacteria, but can you be sure there was enough heat and steam in each spot to do the job? You gotta hit about 160 degrees F to kill germs. Vinegar might sanitize, but that doesn’t kill little germy pests. The certified products are tested enough to almost guarantee germ deaths if you follow instructions.

Follow Instructions Carefully

Most people don’t realize this, but for a product to disinfect, you have to follow those instructions, and some of them are ridiculous.

Lysol Spray, for instance. You think spraying will kill germs, so you quickly spray all the key areas regularly with a fine mist, BUT the instructions say the surface has to be wet for 3 minutes to kill germs. In fact, the instructions say, “Let stand for 3 minutes then allow to air dry.” THEN allow to air dry? Like how am I supposed to stop this stuff from air drying for 3 minutes?

A lot of products require a 10 minute wet time. You try keeping a door knob (attached to a door) wet for 10 minutes.

Best Product

I’m not getting paid to say this, but the BEST PRODUCT for disinfecting at the time of writing this is Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaner. It’s expensive. The list price is $32 a bottle, but Amazon generally keeps it around $12 to $16.The ONLY place I can find it is on Amazon. Why is it the best product?

Kills Norovirus

It’s about the ONLY product out there that kills Norovirus. That little bastard virus does not want to “die.” I mean, viruses aren’t really alive to die, but by die, I mean disinfect. Hand sanitizer won’t disinfect norovirus, and that little sucker can live up to 6 months on hard surfaces, and indefinitely frozen. And you only build a partial immunity to it. Read more about the stomach flu.

One Minute Kill Time

It actually kills most germs in 30 seconds, but the tougher ones, one minute. Yep. That’s right folks. In one minute, this thing will kill what 10 minutes of Lysol can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I use Lysol All Purpose cleaner on my floors; they are a great company. But germ management, Clorox has the best thing for it, and at $12-$20 a bottle, I only reserve it for germ management.

Germ Management is Key

For the most part, you can underachieve safely.

Kitchen: Bacteria Disinfectant used after meat and produce. 

Bathroom: Mold and Mildew killers

Well Family: Any cleaner

Cold and Flu: Most cold stuff dies on its own in 2 days on hard surfaces (rhinovirus within a couple hours). No need to hit the book shelves with disinfectant times unless it’s used more often than 2 days. Most products will kill cold and flu causes, and you want to hit main traffic areas with those like door knobs, remote controls, phones, cabinet handles, etc.  

Horrible Stomach Bug from Hell: Ok this stuff usually lasts longer than 2 days on surfaces, more like 2 months plus, and if it sucks so bad you really don’t want it to happen again, it should be treated like it’s lice. Read more about the Stomach Flu.

Extra Tips

Chase germs intelligently. No need to blindly sanitize your entire house every time someone sneezes.

Find out what it is. Take the sick person to a doctor to find out if its bacterial or viral. Bacteria requires an antibiotic, which is why doctors try very hard to differentiate between the two, but then that clues you into what germ you are up against in your house. If your kid has Strep Throat, then make sure whatever cleaner you use can kill Strep.

Watch the holes. The main method germs transfer to your body is through the holes. A sick person touches their hole, then touches something, then the well person touches the something, and then touches their hole. I know that sounds dirty, but it’s true. The main holes of illness transfer include the mouth (you all know that one), the nose (we get snot, but if your kid is a nose picker, he’s jamming germs in his nose), eyes (rub your eyes ever?) and ears. Stomach flu also includes the hole in the butt (or at least the stuff that comes out of it). The main thing is tell people to avoid hole touching, and if they must do it, wash their hands right after if they are sick, and before if they are well.

Hit the key areas. Toilet areas, door knobs and cabinet handles and TV buttons are obvious, but the phones are a must because mouths get close to it. The kitchen sponge is another good one. If it smells bad, that’s bacteria. Don’t smash it onto your dishes, get a new sponge and if you don’t want to throw the old sponge away, let it sit in boiling water.

Remember most germs that sit around waiting to infect people, the longer they sit around, the less potent they become, even if they can still infect. You should up your game if you have immunocompromised people living with you, but for the most part, underachieving is enough.

Check out my new book, The Underachiever’s Guide to Perfect Holidays.

This is part of the 12 Days of Blogmas

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Disinfecting for the Underachiever. A short guide on good-enough disinfecting

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