We’re all living through a public health emergency. As bad news transforms into an everyday reality, it’s important to maintain a strict sanitation routine. All the more so if you have children, senior citizens and sickly family members at home.
Personal hygiene is essential, but it’s equally important to disinfect freqeuntly-touched areas at home, like furniture, door handles, knobs and counters.
Research shows that the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can survive on hard surfaces like wood, paper, glass, steel and plastic for up to five days. If not thoroughly cleaned, family members may contract the disease, eventually starting a series of infections.
To keep your furniture safe and germ-free, follow these easy, DIY tips:
- Use alcohol-based cleaners – The ones available in our market are particularly effective against the novel coronavirus. Spritz them onto wooden surfaces using a spray bottle, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth. Make sure the cloth isn’t too wet. If the wood absorbs excess moisture, it can lead to discolouration. Do not use rubbing alcohol as a replacement—it can dissolve the finish on contact.
- Dry Upholstery or cushion out in the sun – If your furniture has cushions or seat covers that can be removed, it’s a good idea to expose them to direct sunlight for a while. UV rays from the sun are effective against Novel Corona Virus. You can also buy UV Disinfection lamps if you have one at home. If you don’t, it’s not the time to go and buy one because you probably won’t get it.
- Disinfect plastic veneers: Furniture bearing a plastic coating can be easily wiped off with antimicrobial wipes. If you see a shortage in the market, switch them out with a disinfectant spray, and wipe gently but firmly using a microfibre cloth.
- Vacuum your upholstered furniture: Virus or not, it’s a good idea to regularly vacuum upholstered pieces. Over time, dirt particles and microbes can penetrate layers of the fabric, leading to long-term damage. If you have upholstered furniture in common areas like the living room, remember they see maximum exposure to pet hairs, sneezes, unwashed hands and dust. The vacuuming not only airs out every nook and cranny, but also combats allergies.
- Try EPA-registered products: The United States Environmental Protection Agency has shared a list of disinfectants that are useful against the novel coronavirus. Carefully read this guide to find the products meant for home cleaning (marked as ‘Residential’) , plus their individual contact times. Follow the use instructions, and wipe off with a dry cloth after use. The EPA list has some potent names that can irritate the skin, so keep out of reach of children.
You’ll find the terms ‘sanitization’, ‘disinfection’ and ‘sterilization’ being used a lot these days, often interchangeably. They have similar purposes, but mean different things.
Sanitization is the process of cleaning away dust, debris, and germs. It reduces their presence, but doesn’t promise complete removal. Disinfection refers to killing specific pathogens according to the claims made by a product. And sterilization? It’s the process of killing, removing or deactivating all living microorganisms from a surface. How frequently you carry out these processes, and in what order, depends on the utility of a surface and the people around it.
For wooden furniture, sanitization and disinfection are crucial. Wooden cabinets, tables, sofa arm rests should be sanitised daily, since these are high-contact areas. Disinfecting, meanwhile, is effective if done once a week or every fortnight.
Hoarding and price markups are an unfortunate reality of the times. Plan your disinfecting routine well, so you can reasonably stock up on the most effective products, and keep your family healthy and happy through the crisis.
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