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    Stay Vigilant with these Home Cleaning and Disinfecting Tips

    What's natural is the microbe. All the rest—health, integrity, purity—is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention.

    —Albert Camus

    It has been a long year of social distancing, canceled plans, economic uncertainty, and the anxiety that comes with living through a global health crisis. The truth is, we’re all worn out. According to the University of Wisconsin, “Compounded stress and exhaustion from worrying about the coronavirus is leading to “COVID-19 Fatigue”—a shorthand way of talking about an overall sense of exhaustion based on the combination of challenges people are facing during the pandemic.”

    Unfortunately, the coronavirus doesn’t care that we’re all tired of dealing with it. With numbers starting to rise again throughout the country, now is not the time to let our guard down. In this blog post, we’ll give you tips for cleaning and disinfecting practices that can help keep your home and family as safe as possible while we continue to guard against COVID-19.

    Cleaning Tips

    Step one to achieving a safe and clean home is keeping it as clean as possible, as often as possible. Here are some cleaning tips from the CDC that you can use to help keep your home and family virus-free:

    • Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection.

    • Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.

    • Cleaning with soap and water reduces number of germs, dirt, and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.

    • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. High-touch surfaces include:

      • Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

    Disinfecting Tips

    Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects, and is the best way to help ensure that your home is safe and sanitary. The EPA recommends the following six steps for using disinfectant safely and effectively:

    1. Check that your cleaning product is EPA-approved. You can find a list here.

    2. Read the directions carefully, paying particular attention to the type of surface the product is meant to be used on.

    3. Pre-clean surface with soap and water, especially if the surface is visibly dirty.

    4. Follow the contact time in the directions; the surface should remain wet the whole time to ensure the product is effective.

    5. Wear gloves and wash your hands. If you are using disposable gloves, do not reuse them. For reusable gloves, dedicate a pair to disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19.

    6. Make sure that the lids to your cleaning and disinfecting products are tightly closed and stored out of the reach of children.

    Wash Your Hands Often

    We’ve been hearing about how important regular and thorough hand-washing is to preventing the spread of COVID-19 since March—and it’s still the best advice to follow! Keeping your hands clean is one of the most beneficial steps you can proactively take to help prevent illness and limit the spread of germs to others.

    You should be washing your hands regularly anyway, but be particularly cognizant of it during gatherings or if you are preparing food. Make sure that you wash your hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

    Clean Air Is a Must

    It seems obvious, but keeping the air clean and well-circulated in your home will help reduce the spread of air-borne illnesses. Every home has an HVAC, or Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning System. Within the air system is a filter that collects pollution and debris that is floating around in the air around your home. Using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can trap and filter out invisible dander and other particulate matter in the air.

    There is a four-step process to changing out your filter, and if done on the anniversary date of your birthday every month, you will easily remember to do the task regularly.

    Step 1: Buy a New Filter

    Check your owner’s manual to your HVAC to determine the correct size filter. Filters can range in price from a few bucks to $20 or $30 for a top-of-the-line filter. There are also reusable filters that just have to be rinsed with water.

    Step 2: Turn Off Your HVAC Unit

    Be sure to turn off your HVAC unit before attempting to change the filter, for your own safety. If you can't figure out how to turn off the unit itself, you should turn off the breaker.

    Step 3: Remove the Old Filter

    Most air filters are located on the right side of the unit. The filter should easily pull out of its slot in the furnace. It's not common, but sometimes filters are found in air vents in your home. If that is the case, you will likely need to contact a professional to change the filter.

    Step 4: Insert the New Filter

    Simply slide the new filter into place. There are arrows on the new filter to indicate which side should be facing the outside air. You’re done!

    Although we know it’s impossible to entirely erase germs and the danger they pose from our everyday lives, taking the extra time and dedication to clean and disinfect your home will help keep you and your family as safe as possible as we continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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    Amanda Harr

    A graduate of the Plan II Honors program at UT Austin, Amanda Harr has been the Marketing Content Writer at SWBC since 2019. A clever wordsmith who appreciates artful persuasion and authenticity in writing, Amanda uses a structured creative process to craft marketing strategies, develop communications solutions, and deliver top-notch content.

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