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A Guide to Cleaning for Health
In addition to personal hygiene, house cleaning is also essential for good health, as regular cleaning of surfaces throughout the home removes food particles and dirt which can be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Household cleaning products that contain antimicrobial or antibacterial ingredients can provide extra protection against germs that may lead to illness.
The Facts on Germs
Germs can enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, or through breaks in the skin, and are often spread through person to person contact. The second leading cause of food borne illness is attributed to poor personal hygiene by food workers. Many germs can continue to live on dry surfaces for hours while germs found in moist areas can often survive for up to three days. Germs can easily be transferred from hands to inanimate objects and vise-versa. Given how easily germs are spread, an important part of staying healthy is regularly cleaning surfaces throughout the home that could harbor any germs or bacteria.
Household Cleaning Products
There are many household cleaning products that are intended to kill germs on different surfaces. These products are often advertised as being able to kill bacteria, disinfect, and sanitize. Depending on the active ingredients in such products, they may be able to kill a wide range of microorganisms that can live on surfaces throughout the household. Such microorganisms may include Salmonella, or even the virus that causes colds. In the United States, such cleaning products are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Cleaning and Disinfecting the Household
It is important to keep a clean home for a number of reasons including prevention of pests, having a comfortable living space, and for overall health. Regular cleaning can kill germs that cause many common illnesses such as colds. Many surfaces in the home, even though they may not appear soiled, can be contaminated with germs and bacteria. Such surfaces include door knobs, countertops, and even children’s toys. When cleaning the house, you should also regularly switch out sponges or cleaning cloths as they can become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Instructions on cleaning products should also be followed carefully for not only safety but maximum results.
Common antimicrobial ingredients found in household cleaners include ethanol, pine oil, and sodium hypochlorite, among others. Household cleaning products, depending on their exact formulation, may kill any number of bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and many viruses including Rotavirus, and Rhinovirus.
While regular household cleaning is important for overall health, it is also important to use caution with cleaning products which often contain several chemicals. Cleaning products should be stored out of reach of children and pets and only used as instructed on labels.
More Information on Cleaning and Health
- Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work, and School
- Cleaning for Health
- EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning
- Regular Cleaning is Good for Your Heart and Soul
- Cleaning to Prevent the Spread of Germs
- Household Germs: Quick Cleaning Tips
- De-Germing Your House: Words to the Wise
- How to Keep a Super Clean House
- In the Kitchen: Prevent the Spread of Infection
- Kill Household Germs: Disinfect Your Home
Last modified: April 9, 2018