Published on April 10, 2020 by Sara Roman  
Keep it clean

You are practicing social distancing, washing your hands and limiting your trips out of the house, but you just went to the grocery store and unloaded all of your groceries on to your counter. Is your kitchen now contaminated?

According to Pam Carver, assistant professor in Samford University’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing, it is important to properly disinfect your kitchen surfaces, and other commonly used surfaces like doorknobs, light switches and remote controls, frequently.

Carver says before you expose a surface to a disinfectant you should first clean the surface of all debris, a commonly skipped step. “You want the disinfectant on the surface, not in dirt,” says Carver. “After putting on your cleaning gloves, wipe down your surface with a damp paper towel before you spray the disinfectant.”

After cleaning your counters of dirt, it is time to sanitize. Check that your cleaning product is a disinfectant not just a surface cleaner. The product label should show it is antiviral and antibacterial. While surface cleaners will remove dirt and grime, disinfectants kill germs and sanitize your surfaces.

Completely cover your surface with the sanitizing solution. Carver says that in most cases, this is necessary to ensure that the product can properly do its job.

It may seem superfluous but you should read your product label before using. Most disinfectants state that you should let the product sit before wiping the surface down. Not letting the product sit long enough can limit the product’s effectiveness. “They need time to work,” said Carver. “The longer you allow the sanitizing solution to remain in contact with the surface, the more germs you’ll kill. Different products suggest different ideal timeframes to let the product sit, but to kill 99.9% of viruses and fungi on nonporous surfaces, you often need to let the disinfectant sit for 5-10 minutes.”

After you have let the product sit, wipe up the product with a dry paper towel, discard and allow air drying to do the rest. Do not rinse your counter with soap and water because this may remove the sanitizer. Finish the process by washing your hands.

To view the most recent information about Samford University related to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 webpage for ongoing updates.