In the midst of this sweeping pandemic, it can be hard to feel like we’ve got things under control.
What each person can control, though, is how well we sanitize the spaces in our own homes. Bathroom cleaning has always been an important part of home maintenance, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become more crucial than ever.
You might even find that the pandemic will cause you to take a different approach to bathroom cleaning. Think double-cleaning, extra emphasis on gloves, and proper percentages of ingredients. Here are some bathroom cleaning tips to help you understand it all and feel confident about your cleaning rituals—and maybe even teach you things you never knew about cleaning in general!
1. Wear Gloves
Use disposable or reusable gloves when you’re cleaning your bathroom. After all, you’ll be running into lots of germs (whether or not the coronavirus has landed in your home) and some amount of grime as well. So this is about your safety and your comfort—you’ll want to remember this as a pleasant experience, not one that has you feeling dirty.
Gloves are important even if you’re using disinfecting wipes rather than sprays. You don’t want the chemical solution to damage your skin.
If you’re using reusable gloves, remember to wash them just like you’d wash your hands. You can do this periodically, but what’s most important is to do this at the end of your cleaning session. Then, you might want to wash your hands again for good measure.
And if you’re using disposable gloves, take some notes from scientists and doctors. Rather than pulling off the gloves from the fingertips, peel them off from the inside out to keep your bare skin from having to touch the outside of the gloves.
2. Clean Before You Clean
You might have heard the recommendations to use disinfectants that pass a certain threshold of strength to protect against the novel coronavirus. For disinfecting sprays, we’re told to look for key ingredients like ethanol and hydrogen peroxide. And for disinfecting wipes, the general recommendation is at least a 70% alcohol concentration.
But if you’re only buying and using cleaning products that pass these standards, you might be missing out on an important step: pre-cleaning. You can use natural cleaners, good old soap and water, and traditional cleaners like vinegar for this step.
When you clean a surface before you disinfect it, you’re allowing the disinfectant to reach the surface itself rather than random dirt that may fall off at any point. So get in there and lift off any layers of dust and dirt that could get in the way of your disinfecting action!
3. One of the Most-Ignored Bathroom Cleaning Tips: Wait a Little While
One of the biggest steps that the general public seems to be largely unaware of is to give the disinfectant its recommended wait time before wiping it down or rinsing it. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at the disinfectant bottle or container! There should be some indication of how long you need to let it sit so its disinfecting agents can take full effect.
Usually, this is only for a few minutes or several minutes, tops. So spray (or wipe, if you’re using disinfecting wipes), go listen to some songs or clean a different part of the bathroom, and then wipe with a dry towel or rinse. Some experts even let surfaces air dry after using a disinfectant.
If you’re using a strong disinfectant, you might be worried about it damaging the surface it’s on if you leave it on for too long. In this case, you might want to wipe it down with a wet towel after the normal wait time.
4. Focus on the High-Touch Areas
If you’re only cleaning the parts of your bathroom that feel the dirtiest, like the toilet and drains, you may be missing some key areas. During this COVID-19 pandemic, you should take extra care to disinfect “high-touch” areas, like doorknobs, faucets, knobs, and handles of any kind.
High-touch areas are important in lots of different situations—and you can read these helpful tips to learn more about general cleaning procedures—but when it comes to the bathroom, sometimes they tend to take a backseat to classic cleaning targets like mold prevention.
While COVID-19 is still in the air, it’s important to think about the whole picture of what may harm our health. When you’re concerned about the transmission of a highly contagious virus, high-touch areas become more important than ever before. You might do a great job cleaning the toilet bowl, but if you’re leaving the door handle dirty, you’re missing a spot that anyone who enters the room will touch.
5. Use Time-Tested Methods for Grime Removal
Remember the pre-cleaning step? Let’s circle back to that for this last tip.
The traditional cleaning methods you may have learned from your parents will still work for the pre-cleaning routine, whether or not they will kill the coronavirus. Don’t worry—that’s what the disinfecting step is for.
So what are some effective and cheap ways to get rid of layers of dirt and grime? You can use basic items like baking soda, vinegar, and a specially designated “cleaning” toothbrush.
To scrub dirty faucets, drains, and tubs, you can make a quick paste from baking soda and water, and then use a sponge or toothbrush to rub that into the surface. And for a more hands-free route, you can use baking soda and vinegar for a self-scrubbing reaction. Turns out all those 3rd-grade science fair volcanoes really taught us something useful!
Let’s Get Clean!
Phew! After all this talk about cleaning, it’s also important to take a breath and remember that cleaning doesn’t have to take over our whole lives. Smart, efficient, and enjoyable cleaning comes down to knowing what works and what doesn’t.
And when this pandemic is over, you’ll be glad you followed bathroom cleaning tips like these and kept your home as safe as possible. For more important tips on everyday health and wellness, check out the other articles in the health section of our site!