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Germs and Safe Practices for Residential and Commercial Spaces

Refreshing Office Cleaning > Cleaning Blog > General Information > Germs and Safe Practices for Residential and Commercial Spaces

Due to my daughter being a cancer survivor I was forced to become an expert in the prevention of spreading germs and how to effectively clean up. Here is my bulleted list.

* For special needs patients such as those with immune compromise we did the following.

  • All ha7103UYyy0+L._SY450_nds were washed as soon as we walked into our home to prevent spreading germs from what we had unwittingly brought in with us. We washed up to our elbows like surgeons, with warm soapy water.

* Initially we white gloved all walls in our home from about six feet high and down to the floor, followed by a spraying of Virex TB, a product that our local hospital used to clean their spaces. This is very powerful and kills practically anything that is contagious. Any surface that is touched by people was washed in this manner followed by spraying with Virex TB waiting ten minutes and then rinsed with clean water.  Cabinet doors, bathroom cabinets, sinks, walls, etc., were all washed in this manner which worked very well. Resulting in our patient being hospitalized very few times during 2.5 years of cancer treatment. By-the-way, Virex TB is low in toxic chemicals which was very surprising to find out.

For Regular Cleaning of Home or Office, here are my Suggestions.

* Never use a sponge in kitchens or bathrooms. These just move germs around and create a breeding area for germs to grow. In the kitchen use small dish rags to wash dishes, rinse out this rag and hang on the faucet to dry. When the rag dries out you are killing the germs. Have a dish rag available for everyday of the week and replace daily, so they can be washed in a washing machine weekly. In our bathroom I have a towel holder inside the cabinet door underneath the sink for my cleaning rags. Once I have used one to clean, I then clean out the rag and place it on the rack to fully dry.

* People do not realize the power of simple soap. The secret is in the bubbles. Bubbles grab dirt and germs, then when you rinse them away with water all the nasties are attached to the bubbles flowing down the drain. Cleaning kitchen and bathroom sinks with plain soap is enough to attain a very clean sink. Per the Environmental Working Group most common dish soaps and body soaps are not good for you.  Instead use products like these:

You are looking for Green Certified Approval,  Organic or with statements that state the product is composed of 98% to 100% plant derived ingredients.  These types of products protect everyone and the environment.

After you have washed counters with warm soapy water and rinsed, this is when you need to decide if the area needs additional disinfection.

Here is some great information from a professor regarding cleaning and bacteria.

Professor Collignon says the following “Disinfectants work by having a 99 per cent kill [rate] in say 10 minutes.

That means if there were 1,000,000 bacteria present, there would still be 10,000 left afterwards. But if you did some basic scrubbing first, you might well reduce the bacteria present to say, around 1000. If you then use vinegar to take out a further 99 per cent, you could end up with only 10 bacteria: much fewer than the 10,000 you’d still have if you’d relied on vinegar alone.”


“Vinegar is the perfect cleaning agent to remove both inorganic and tough combination soils, and it can replace many expensive commercial cleaners. Consumers often buy expensive cleaners to keep their toilet bowls sparkling and their homes spotless, despite the fact that these conventional household cleaners are some of the most toxic substances one can bring into the home. Many have not been tested for long-term health effects [9]. Additionally, possible health risks from cleaners include asthma attacks, headaches, dizziness, memory impairment, and visual disorders, according to the Environmental Protection Agency [9]. Household vinegar is a nontoxic alternative to conventional cleaners with many uses in the home.
Vinegar has an acidity of 2.5 to 4.0 on the pH scale [10]. The acidity of vinegar helps to dissolve soil particles by making them charged. These newly charged soil particles become attracted to the positive and negative charges in water. The soil is pulled into the water by strong intermolecular electrostatic forces and thus can be easily removed [10]. Vinegar is extremely helpful in places with shower head corrosion, toilet bowl stains, soap scum build-up, and various other mineral surface deposits. Vinegar can also be used to clean up the dark green and black inorganic coating that develops on copper and brass metals, which are often used for cooking utensils and jewelry [8]. Copper and brass tarnish because the metallic elements react with carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the air. These deposits can be removed because they easily become charged by the acidity of vinegar.”  Link to this article reference.

Now that you have that from a science point of view, here is my method and formula.

* In commercial bathrooms I use paper-towels to clean each toilet avoiding the spreading of germs. It costs a little more but I prefer to throw out the paper towel after cleaning each toilet. For disinfecting areas I use a denatured alcohol mixture.  (Formula is 1/3 distilled water, 1/3rd white distilled vinegar and 1/3rd denatured alcohol added to a 32 ounce sprayer bottle.) This is sprayed on all surfaces that are touched by many. Faucets, door knobs, counters, toilet seats, etc., are all sprayed with the denatured alcohol cleaner, allowed to sit for several minutes and wiped off with a paper towel.  *If you need a stronger solution use less water to more alcohol. For more information here are two links specifically about using alcohol in cleaning.



* All doorknobs in home or offices should be sprayed and washed where many hands touch.

* Telephone hand pieces get particularly dirty along with the key pad. These cannot be heavily sprayed. Clean first with a damp rag. Then use a new rag sprayed with alcohol mixture to sanitize.

* Many people do not just use a door knob when opening and closing doors, as evidenced by traces of fingerprints on door panels. These are washed using the watered down white vinegar. With painted surfaces water is your safest bet. Alcohol eats into painted surfaces.

* In offices and homes the three areas that need the most sanitizing are bathrooms, kitchens and doors.

When trying to disinfect the trick is to spray the area with the formula above and allow to sit for at least several minutes, the longer the better for maximum results.

Each client is different with requirements that go through a wide spectrum of choices. It is wise to find out the particulars of each client, what they want, regarding cleaning products, smell or no smell etc. For instance one of my clients in a dental office required that I use a very strong solution of Pine Sol. Honestly I hated that stuff because it caused my nails to peel and the client wanted it so strong it would give me headaches. Eventually I ended that relationship as I cannot stand smells that strong. Fragrances are downright dangerous due to the vast numbers of chemicals used to form them. Always look for products that use essential oils for fragrance or –  ideally are fragrance free.

Here in the US we have been inundated by so many companies pushing their antibacterial products that germ fighting has become a major marketing ploy. In most circumstances this level of clean is not really needed. For me, a great compromise that kills germs without tons of smell and chemicals is the denatured alcohol mixture. It just feels and smells clean and after it dries there is no smell at all,  which is the cleanest indicator of clean that there is!



1 Comment

  1. Some very good tips here. You don’t need fifteen different types of cleaners to get your home cleaner and more germ-free, just a few products and a little work from you. Thanks for sharing this.

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