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  • You Sanitize Baby's Utensils But You Can't Disinfect Them. Here's Why

    Choosing to disinfect certain items can do more harm than good.
    by Kitty Elicay .
You Sanitize Baby's Utensils But You Can't Disinfect Them. Here's Why
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Since the enhanced community quarantine started, we’ve become more conscious of our home and surroundings. We’re reading up on how to disinfect groceries and clothes after going outdoors and how to sanitize rooms. But did you know there’s a huge difference between the words sanitize and disinfect?

    Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

    “Sanitization is reducing a contamination or bacteria to a safe level, while disinfection is killing everything on a particular surface,” according to Travers Anderson, R&D Group Manager at Clorox, in an interview with Real Simple.

    Sanitizers are a little gentler. It lessens and kills germs on the surface to make them safe for contact. Disinfectants, which use stronger chemicals, destroy all germs rather than reducing them.

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    Which one do you use for a deep clean?

    When it comes to cleaning, there are certain areas and items that only need sanitizing, while others require disinfecting. You usually sanitize surfaces that don’t come into contact with dangerous bacteria, or those that are best left without contact with powerful chemicals, according to Real Simple.

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    So, you’ll sanitize the kitchen and other areas that come into contact with food (Take note of the items you need to clean here). You’ll also sanitize dishes and utensils after using them, and your children’s toys especially those that they put in their mouths.

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    On the other hand, you use disinfectants on areas that involve bodily fluidsblood, and the like. So you might disinfect the toilet or sinks, or the changing table where you change baby’s diaper.

    Choose your cleaning agent

    Water and bleach solutions can both be a sanitizer and disinfectant, depending on the concentration. Higher concentrations can disinfect, while lower concentrations are safe to use as sanitizers. (Read up on the disinfectants that can kill the coronavirus here.)

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    Want to make your own water and bleach solution? Here’s an easy how-to from HowStuffWorks.com. Make sure that you use rubber gloves to protect your hands and choose a bleach concentration meant for the household — concentrations of 5.25 percent or 6 percent hypochlorite — rather than industrial use.

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    Sanitizer

    • Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water (or 1 teaspoon to 1 quart). Best to use cold water as hot water decreases effectiveness
    • Transfer to a spray bottle, spray the item you want to sanitize and leave it on the area for at least one minute
    • Rinse

    Disinfectant

    • Mix ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water
    • Leave on the surface for a longer period, around 2-3 minutes. Make sure to use only on areas that won’t have contact with food or mouths (e.g. changing tables, potty chairs, and floors.)
    • Rinse
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    Another popular cleaning agent is one made with vinegar. But according to experts, there is no scientific evidence that this can be more effective in killing bacteria and viruses than other solutions. The same goes for natural, all-purpose cleaners — they may be efficient and effective in cleaning but might not necessarily be able to kill dangerous bacteria.

    With all the talk about the ‘new normal,’ the way you clean your home can also change after the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing when to sanitize and disinfect, can go a long way in keeping your family safe.

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    The things you touch everyday are dirtier than a toilet seat. Click here for your must-clean items.

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