It is absolutely a smart idea to clean and disinfect your home after you or someone in your family has recovered from COVID-19.
What you really don’t want to do, however, is end up infecting yourself and your loved ones when you do it!
Unfortunately, with a literal avalanche of cleaning and disinfecting guidance to sift through – not all of it accurate – many people find out only too late that they have combined the wrong cleaning products to get the job done.
This is especially worrisome given that COVID-19 directly attacks the respiratory system, which can be weakened by inhaling toxic combinations of household cleaners.
In this post, we cover essential tips for safely cleaning and disinfecting your home after COVID-19.
4 Biggest Exposure Threats from COVID-19 Cleaning Supplies
Health Canada reports a more than 100 percent spike in calls to local poison control centres as the pandemic continues on. Many of these calls are due to improper use of household cleaning products.
These are the four biggest COVID-19-related, cleaning product-related exposure issues that are leading Canadians to call poison control centres:
1. Swallowing the cleaning products.
2. Inhaling fumes from the cleaning products.
3. Splash-back from the cleaning products into the eyes.
4. Skin contact with the cleaning products.
Get Prepared: General Cleaning & Disinfecting Safety Guidelines
The place where most people let down their guard around household cleaning and disinfecting products is right at the beginning.
If you don’t handle these potent products correctly, they are absolutely capable of burning you, making you very sick or even killing you.
You absolutely have to take this preparation phase seriously.
Here is what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends to prepare to clean and disinfect your home after COVID-19:
1. Wear your PPE (mask and gloves).
2. Wear eye protection (safety goggles are ideal).
3. Wear long pants and long sleeves, boots or shoes with socks.
4. Open windows and turn on fans to provide extra fresh air and ventilation.
5. Use only room-temperature water (never hot water) for cleaning projects.
6. Read the labels on every cleaning product very carefully.
7. DO NOT MIX ANY CLEANING PRODUCTS TOGETHER – EVER!
We capitalize this last point because when you mix cleaning products together, this can release toxic gases into your air that can cause temporary or permanent respiratory and lung damage, and even death.
4 Huge Dangers to Avoid When Cleaning Your Home After COVID-19
There is a reason bleach is the recommended cleaning agent of choice when it comes to disinfecting your home after COVID-19. When used correctly, bleach can be a very powerful cleaning agent; however, when used incorrectly, bleach is also a very toxic and dangerous chemical in its own right. Use it in the wrong way, or mix it with something it should not be mixed with, and COVID-19 may be the least of your worries.
The same holds true for drinking or ingesting bleach or any other potentially toxic sanitizing or disinfecting product, including hand sanitizer (more on this below).
To stay safe yourself while keeping your family and home safe, you need to make sure to never do these four things when you are cleaning and disinfecting your home after COVID-19.
1. Do not mix bleach with hot water.
When you combine bleach with hot water, it causes the bleach to vaporize. The bleach will then be in the air you are breathing.
Breathing in vaporized bleach can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chemical pneumonia, burning and blistering of the skin, throat and lungs, permanent lung scarring, COPD and death.
2. Do not mix bleach with any other cleaning product or non-water substance.
If breathing in vaporized pure bleach isn’t already dangerous enough, consider what can occur when you mix bleach with another cleaning product.
When bleach is mixed with vinegar, it vaporizes into chlorine gas. Chlorine is the chemical added to pool water!
When bleach is mixed with ammonia, it vaporizes into chloramine gas.
Ingesting vaporized chloramine or chlorine gas can cause burns and blisters to form on the skin, throat and lungs. Coughing, shortness of breath, pneumonia (chemical pneumonitis) and death are also side effects.
3. Do not drink hand sanitizer.
The government of Canada recently issued a nationwide recall https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2020/73291a-eng.php of certain hand sanitizer products. These products were packaged in bottles that were repurposed from the beverage industry.
In some cases, the bottles looked like water, juice or soda bottles. In other cases, the bottles looked like liquor bottles.
In all cases involved in the recall order, consumers were sufficiently confused by the packaging that they mistook the hand sanitizer for a beverage and drank it, leading to accidental poisoning.
This can be especially concerning with young or elderly family members, so be sure to keep all hand sanitizer products in your home out of harm’s way.
4. Do not expose your skin or eyes to UV-C light.
Finally, while it is highly likely that short-wave ultraviolet band-C light has the potential to neutralize active coronavirus droplets, all recommendations regarding use focus on irradiating air or HVAC coils.
The International Ultraviolet Association strongly advises against exposing bare skin to UV-C light as it can cause burns, blisters, skin cancer and damage to the eyes.
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we do offer a range of ultraviolet purification systems for both central (ducted) and non-ducted spaces of all sizes.
We can show you how to safely use these systems to purify both your indoor air and your HVAC coils.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton is open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Interested in hearing about our recent product promotions? Right now, add whole-home ultraviolet air purification to your HVAC and get $50 off.
Need some professional indoor air duct cleaning done? Schedule our trained technicians and for air duct cleaning and get 10 percent off any of our three popular cleaning packages.
Give us a call at 1-905-549-2470 or visit us online.