Wash your hands and surfaces well before using Sanitizer!
“It isn’t possible to disinfect every surface you touch throughout your day,” says Stephen Thomas, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of global health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. “The planet is covered with bacteria and viruses, and we’re constantly in contact with these surfaces, so hand-washing is still your best defense.”
We all need to amp up our cleaning routine to protect the environment in which we live and work. Your hands and other surfaces need to be cleaned well of oils and debris before sanitizing to be most effective. Thomas says, “Clean high-traffic areas that get touched frequently, such as kitchen counters and bathroom faucets, three times a day with a product that kills viruses.”
The good news is that viruses are typically some of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate products, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “It has an envelope around it that allows it to merge with other cells to infect them,” Thomas says. “If you disrupt that coating, the virus can’t do its job.”
Soap and Water
Just the friction from scrubbing with soap (any kind of soap) and water can break the virus’s protective envelope. “Scrub like you’ve got sticky stuff on the surface and you really need to get it off,” says Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and a member of the American Chemical Society. Discard the towel or leave it in a bowl of soapy water for a while to destroy any virus particles that may have survived.
Using antibacterial soap won’t give you added protection against the virus because it kills bacteria, not viruses. You can still use it as long as you scrub.
Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against the virus on hard surfaces. First, clean the surface with water and detergent. Apply the alcohol solution (do not dilute it) and let it sit on the surface for at least 30 seconds to disinfect. Alcohol is generally safe for all surfaces but can discolor some plastics.