You're Definitely Making This Mistake Every Time You Use Disinfectant

Thankfully, it's an easy problem to fix once you know you're doing it.

Chances are, you make a point of disinfecting the high-touch surfaces in your home more regularly these days, and you're feeling safer for your new and improved hygiene habits. But researchers are quick to point out that many of us are making a single mistake that prevents us from actually killing coronavirus in our homes. A video produced by the American Chemical Society explains that not using enough disinfectant to let the product do its job can leave harmful coronavirus particles behind.

As the video's host, George Zaidan, explains, the key is to use enough disinfectant to saturate the whole surface. "Don't just moisten a surface," Zaidan advises. "You have to fully wet it." In other words, going forward, you'll likely need to use more disinfectant spray than you're used to.

This is because when you spray a disinfectant, the spray nozzle distributes droplets of various sizes onto the surface. Where larger droplets of disinfectant land, coronavirus and other harmful viruses and bacteria will die. However, this is not the case in the areas between those larger droplets. The liquid doesn't spread out as we would imagine, but instead creates little pools of disinfectant, separated by dry spaces in between. Using enough disinfecting spray to really cover the entire surface area helps you avoid this problem, because every bit of the virus will come in direct contact with the product.

Using this same logic, it is also advisable to pre-clean surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting. Zaidan warns that dirt particles can serve as an "umbrella" that can shield coronavirus and other harmful viruses and bacteria from disinfectant products. Without that direct contact between the two, coronavirus can continue to survive.

So, the next time you disinfect a surface in your home, make sure that you're generous with how much product you use. Spend the extra few minutes to scrub the surface down with soap and water, then make sure the whole surface is thoroughly wet with disinfectant before wiping it down again. These simple hacks could make all the difference between a room that merely feels clean, and a room that's COVID-free. And to make sure your home is maximally clean and safe from coronavirus, check out these 10 Disinfectants That Kill Coronavirus Faster Than Disinfectant Wipes.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more