The world is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic and India has a high number of positive cases. In such a scenario, it is natural for you to want to take every precaution possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
All the surfaces in your home, including those in your kitchen, bathroom, kids’ room, especially high-touch surfaces, need to be cleaned, sanitised and disinfected daily to ensure maximum protection from SARS CoV-2 for your family and you.
Cleaning helps to remove or significantly reduce microorganisms from contaminated surfaces and is an essential first step in any disinfection process. It does not kill the microorganisms though.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), studies have shown that coronavirus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.
Like other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus with a fragile outer envelope that makes it more susceptible to disinfectants compared to non-enveloped viruses. Hence, using sodium hypochlorite correctly to disinfect surfaces can kill the coronavirus. Always use it as directed on the pack; test on a small hidden area and rinse to check compatibility first.
Let’s find out more about how you can use it to disinfect your home.
1) Chlorine-Based Disinfectant
Sodium hypochlorite (commonly known as household bleach) is a chlorine-based disinfectant meant to be used on objects and surfaces. WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend it as one of the methods to disinfect surfaces contaminated by the novel coronavirus.
2) Preparing the Sodium Hypochlorite Solution
WHO recommends use of Sodium Hypochlorite at 0.5% (equivalent 5000ppm) for disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct preparation of the disinfectant solution and for its safe handling. Inadequate dilution (too high or too low) may reduce their effectiveness. High concentrations may increase chemical exposure to users and may also damage surfaces.
Always test on a small hidden area and rinse to check compatibility first.
Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label). Avoid mixing chemical products or disinfectants, both during preparation and usage.
Before preparing the solution, wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves, mask and eye protection to avoid chemical exposure. Also, always prepare the solution in a well-ventilated area.
3) Using Sodium Hypochlorite Solution
Start cleaning from the least soiled (cleanest) area to the most soiled (dirtiest) and from the top to the bottom so that all the dust, dirt, etc falls to the ground. Clean the floor at the end. This way you will not miss any area.
Before you start using this solution on surfaces, clean them with soap and water. Cleaning with water, soap and some form of mechanical action (brushing or scrubbing) removes and reduces dirt, debris and other organic matter, such as blood.
Disinfect only after cleaning because organic matter blocks the disinfectant from touching the surface, thus impacting its ability to kill remaining microorganisms.
The diluted sodium hypochlorite can either be used by soaking a cloth or wipes in the solution or by using a spray bottle to apply it.
For disinfecting large surfaces such as tables, kitchen countertops, floors, etc, soak a clean cloth in the diluted sodium hypochlorite solution prepared above and wipe these surfaces. For small frequently touched surfaces like door and window handles, toilet flush, switches, remote controls and similar others, you may fill a spray bottle with this diluted solution and spray on the surfaces.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring recommended contact time, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application.
Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
Test on a small hidden area to check compatibility first.
4) Storing Sodium Hypochlorite Solution
Ideally chlorine solutions should be prepared fresh daily. But if that is not possible, then store it in an opaque container and place it in a well-ventilated covered area that is not exposed to direct sunlight.
Using sodium hypochlorite in the prescribed way can help you disinfect your home effectively. Remember that prevention is your family’s first line of defence against Covid-19.