The One Thing You're Doing Wrong Every Time You Disinfect

Make sure you're keeping yourself safe by avoiding this one mistake when you're sanitizing your space.

Whether or not regularly disinfecting your home was part of your routine before the coronavirus pandemic, there's a good chance you've recently become accustomed to spraying down your surfaces and wiping off your walls every single day. And while using disinfectants that kill viruses like COVID-19 is necessary to stay safe, there are still some mistakes you're making when you sanitize that could be putting your health at risk in other ways. One of the biggest errors? Using a spray bottle.

As convenient and popular as those spray bottles may be, using one can set you and those around you up to accidentally ingest the same chemicals that are meant to keep you safe from the coronavirus.

"Disinfectants that are sprayed—whether from a squirt bottle or pressurized can—become aerosolized," says dermatologist Brooke Jackson, MD. "This means that anything which is spritzed or sprayed creates droplets that can be inhaled and cause irritation of the lungs and nasal passages." This can be especially bad in areas of the house with poor ventilation, such as a bathroom or basement. Inhaling these chemicals too often and for too long can ultimately put you at risk for everything from asthma to cancer.

Mid section man cleaning black marble counter in kitchen at home

Luckily, there's an easy way to prevent breathing in toxins without having to ditch your favorite disinfectants. "Try opening the spray bottle and pouring the disinfectant right onto a sponge or cloth," says Jackson. If you absolutely can't avoid using a disinfectant in a spray bottle or pressurized can—especially in an area with terrible ventilation—consider putting on a mask for the duration of your clean up.

You can also open up your windows to promote a cross breeze, or run ceiling and floor fans to help keep the air circulating and free of chemicals. And for more mistakes you may be making while cleaning up, check out the 5 Ways Your Disinfectants Are Harming Your Health.


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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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