How To Use Bleach To Kill Germs During Cold + Flu Season
As the weather gets cooler, the memory of a very scary time a few years ago creeps into my memory. Around this time a couple years ago, some nasty germs got the best of me and I contracted an insanely strong strain of pneumonia. Because my immune system was already stressed, the pneumonia devastated my body and I was in/out of the hospital the rest of the year.
Talk about a wake-up call! I’m happy to say I’ve recovered from that experience and back into mom-mode, raising babies and a legacy… but I learned that taking precautions to disinfect our home is a high priority.
My kids are now school aged and protecting our health from germs feels super important. So when Clorox offered to connect me with a leading expert to learn how to use bleach to kill germs during cold and flu season, I jumped at the chance!
Clorox Bleach Mythbusters For Cold + Flu Season
Connecting with Mary Gagliardi, aka Clorox’s Dr. Laundry, about the basics of Clorox® Regular-Bleach, including how to prepare for the cold and flu season, was so empowering. Wow, I learned so much! Who knew I was cleaning all wrong? She provided me with the differences between cleaning and sanitizing/disinfecting and when to do what. I’m one of those people who likes to keep my home tidy, but did you know that cleaning your laundry and household surfaces is not the same as sanitizing and disinfecting?! Sadly, I had no idea… especially when it came to the germs within my laundry.
During cold and flu season, myths can be just as contagious as the germs circulating. Between old wives’ tales and unique cleaning remedies, it can be hard to decipher what is myth and what is reality. We all just want to keep our kids safe and our families free of germs. In order to stay healthy during cold and flu season, it’s important to know the difference between cleaning and sanitizing/disinfecting. The kitchen and bathroom are places that can get exceptionally germy and require special attention – and a great solution is to reach for the Clorox® Regular-Bleach. But even our laundry needs a little Bleach 101 lesson in order to stay germ free and help reduce spreading them around.
Bleach 101: My Germ Free Plan
One of the biggest takeaways I learned from Dr. Laundry was that my failure to read and use my cleaning products exactly as instructed on the labels was comprising the effectiveness of the products. Only EPA-registered products can make claims against certain viruses and bacteria because they have been thoroughly tested. This is why, while some people really like homemade cleaners, when you want to kill germs it’s important to check your labels to ensure products are effective. That even extends to vinegar. Tests have show that vinegar only kills about 80% of germs and 82% of mold, while Clorox Regular Bleach kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria.
Dr. Laundry was so gracious and explained that, since products are tested in the lab with exact instructions, anybody could create the same effects and kill off the germs by following the same methods! After that call, I changed my habits immediately and have started to disinfect my home exactly as she recommended. Knock on wood, but we haven’t been sick yet. I feel grateful to Dr. Laundry her knowledge and guidance!
Here is my germ-free plan for the cold and free season:
For frequently touched hard surfaces all over my house (this includes computer keys, light switches door handles and cabinet knobs), I use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to clean and disinfect. I’m pretty neurotic about this step! This is what I do:
– Use 1/2 cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach in 1 gallon of water.
– Thoroughly wet surface with the solution and allow it to remain on the surface for 5 minutes.
– Rinse with clean water and dry.
For the bathroom and other hard, non-porous surfaces that are prone to attract mold, I use a cleaning solution of Clorox® Regular-Bleach and follow these instructions exactly every week.
– Disinfect all cleaned surfaces with a solution of 1/2 cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water.
– Let the solution stay on the surface for at least 10 minutes before rinsing with clear water or allowing to dry.
– Routinely check potential problem spots for moldy odors, and disinfect often with a solution of 1/2 cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water.
You’ll notice you only need to create one solution of ½ cup of Clorox Regular-Bleach to 1 gallon of water, so it’s also simple and cost-effective!
For laundry, bleach isn’t just used for keeping whites bright. This was another bleach myth busted for me! Here’s how I now sanitize my laundry using high efficiency washing machines and other machines with a bleach dispenser:
– Simply fill your bleach dispenser to the maximum fill line with Clorox® Regular-Bleach. It measures the bleach for you — yes, it’s that easy!
– Add ½ cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach to wash water after your detergent, but before adding clothes. For optimal results, we recommend adding ½ cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach to water five minutes after the wash cycle has begun.
– For dark or bright colored fabrics (especially towels or bed linens), I follow Dr. Laundry’s instructions for Sanitizing Colored Laundry.
Protecting our health by disinfecting my home was never a high priority until just a few years ago and, since chatting with Dr. Laundry, I’ve learned how to effectively use bleach to combat some of those nasty germs.