Right now, many of us are cooped up at home and while the situation is far from ideal, it can be a great time to get some cleaning done. It’s not only important to keep a clean home to lower the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and other germs, but getting a head start on spring cleaning can help you feel productive and make your home a more pleasant place to be. If someone in your home is sick, it’s important to not just clean, but to disinfect surfaces and your floors are no exception. While you might not consider the floor a frequent touch point, it is important to keep these high traffic areas as clean as possible, especially if someone has walked through your home with shoes or if you have pets who might be carrying in dirt, germs, and bacteria from outside. From cleaning to disinfecting, we’re here to share some tips to help you keep your floors clean and safe.
Should I Clean or Disinfect My Floors?
One of the first things to note is there is a big difference between simply cleaning and disinfecting your home. Cleaning helps to remove germs but does not kill them, though this does lower the risk of spreading infection as it reduces the number of germs. Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This does not necessarily clean dirt or remove these germs, so it is always best to clean first and then disinfect to lower the risk of spread. However, disinfecting requires specific products to complete effectively and these supplies might be hard to come by if you don’t already have them on hand. The good news is, if no one in your home is sick it is only necessary to clean (without disinfecting) to reduce the spread and keep everyone safe and healthy. Keep up with a daily cleaning schedule and follow the CDC’s best practices like frequent and thorough hand washing to maintain a healthy household.
Fortunately, when it comes to flooring, fully disinfecting is rarely necessary in any case. CDC studies have shown that disinfecting floors has minimal impact beyond regular cleaning. We’ve included some disinfecting tips below anyway, but for the most part you don’t have to change your cleaning methods, though you may want to clean a little more frequently than usual.
Cleaning Tips for Hard Flooring– Hardwood, Laminate & Vinyl Flooring
Just like any other time, daily use of a microfiber mop or Swiffer is a great way to keep your hard surface floors clean. You can vacuum with a soft-bristled floor brush attachment to clean up even more dirt, dust, and debris. Depending on the type of flooring in your home, you’ll want to be careful with any kind of mopping- hardwood and laminate floors can be damaged by moisture so opt for damp mopping with those instead. If you have vinyl flooring, you can mop with either a store-bought cleaner or a solution of apple cider vinegar and warm water. Routine cleaning here will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses
Disinfecting Hard Flooring– Hardwood, Laminate & Vinyl Flooring
Again, it’s important to clean hard surfaces prior to disinfecting, and if you’re using a disinfecting product be sure to carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions prior to use to know how long your disinfectant needs to be in contact with the surface to kill germs. It’s also good to know the difference between cleaners that kill bacteria and ones that kill viruses and look for the latter. Many anti-bacterial cleaning agents are also disinfectants that will kill viruses but double check the label.
Whenever you’re disinfecting, make sure to wear disposable gloves if you have them handy to protect your skin from the chemicals. If you only have reusable gloves, be sure to dedicate these gloves specifically for cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19. Wash and clean your hands thoroughly as soon as you remove these gloves.Most hard surfaces recommend a bleach solution for disinfecting, but often you’ll want to keep bleach and other harsh chemicals away from your flooring. Instead, you can disinfect vinyl and laminate flooring by mopping with a mix of one gallon of warm water and one cup of white vinegar.
Disinfecting hardwood floors is a little trickier—remember that keeping water and moisture away is key to ensure your floors last so you don’t want to use the vinegar solution here. The best option is to use a damp mop with a cleaner made specifically to disinfect hardwood floors. After damp mopping, dry the surface with a clean, soft, dry towel to remove any lingering moisture.
Cleaning Tips for Soft Flooring– Carpets & Area Rugs
Depending on the amount of traffic, daily or weekly vacuuming is recommended. Go slowly while vacuuming to make sure you’re thoroughly picking up all the dust and debris—slow passes with your vacuum can pick up more ground-in dirt than fast passes. A lot of dust and debris tend to hide underneath or behind furniture, so if you can, move or lift your furniture to vacuum more thoroughly. If you’re cleaning the entire room, it’s smart to vacuum both before and after dusting- once before to pick up existing dust and once again after to pick up any that has made it’s way to the carpet after your other cleaning efforts.
Disinfecting Soft Flooring– Carpets & Area Rugs
Routine cleaning should be enough to reduce the spread of germs in your home so unless someone is sick, you rarely need to disinfect. If it has come to disinfecting, soft surfaces like your carpets and area rugs might be a little more challenging than the hard surfaces. The CDC recommends cleaning these surfaces either with soap and water or with cleaners made specifically for these surfaces. Again, you’ll want to pay attention to those cleaners and look for the ones that are specifically made with disinfecting properties. If you’ve got a home carpet steam cleaner handy- you can use this for a more thorough cleaning. You can use that mixture of white vinegar with hot water in your steamer but change the ratio to equal parts of each this time.
Keeping Your Floors Clean to Keep Your Home Healthy
Frequent and thorough cleaning is important right now to keep your home safe and healthy from the spread of the Coronavirus and other sicknesses. The good news is that your usual routine floor cleaning, no matter your flooring surface typically will suffice in lowering the spread of germs. Working out a daily schedule can help keep your home happy and healthy.