Dealing with germs is tough. They're tiny, only some of them are bad, and not everyone who comes into contact with them is going to get sick. They're sneaky and mischievous; they're everywhere, and the fact that they're invisible to our eyes doesn't help. Most of us know to wash our hands before we eat, after we use the bathroom, and after we cough or sneeze, but it's important to regularly disinfect the areas in our homes where germs love to live and are most easily transferred between family members.

Why Disinfecting Is Important

It's no secret that some of the most germ-infested surfaces are the ones we touch every day, over and over again. From doorknobs to remote controls to light switches, a household full of people (especially ones with kids!) can accumulate some wicked germs, especially after a long winter when everyone's been stuck inside together. Bacteria and viruses can live on touch point surfaces (like handles and knobs) for up to 48 hours, so while you should be regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, no matter how long it's been, your home is probably due for a good wipe down.

gloved hand disinfecting door handle with rag

FotoDuets/Shutterstock

The Best Way To Disinfect

Disposable disinfectant wipes are your best tool for tackling germy areas, since the wet wipes leave germ-killing residue on the surfaces they touch, whereas disinfectant dispersed by damp cloths is wiped away quickly. If using disinfectant sprays, remember that paper towels work better than sponges or dishcloths, as those materials tend to just spread germs around. For those who prefer to disinfect with bleach, always dilute bleach into water before use. (Undiluted bleach will leave a salty residue as the water in bleach evaporates.) To make a disinfecting solution for non-porous surfaces like sinks, showers, bathtubs, and counters, a good ratio for dilution is a 1/2 cup of concentrated bleach into 1 gallon of water. After wiping, let the bleach rest for 5 minutes before rinsing it off with clean water and drying the surface.

hand disinfecting wall with a wipe

Art_Photo/Shutterstock

Home Disinfecting Check List

  • door knobs
  • light switches
  • drawer pulls
  • countertops
  • table
  • chairs
  • toothbrush holders
  • shower caddy
  • toilet
  • remote controls
  • computer and keyboard
  • kitchen appliances if applicable
  • high chairs
  • garbage can
  • garbage disposal
  • household keys
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