People are talking about environmentally safe cleaning. As we continue to live with the everyday reality of COVID-19, many of us are cleaning our homes more than ever before. Disinfecting surfaces has become an everyday part of home maintenance. In addition, with businesses reopening safely, daily cleaning and disinfecting is expanding to offices and retail locations.
The dilemma for environmentally-minded households and businesses is finding a balance between keeping surfaces disinfected while using cleaning products that don’t harm the environment nor pose a danger to people, that is environmentally safe cleaning.
Many commercial disinfectants are not environmentally friendly. They can cause side effects in susceptible people, especially those with asthma, allergies and other health issues. However, these disinfecting agents kill the germs to contain the spread of COVID-19, protecting our loved ones and coworkers from infection. What are the best products and techniques out there to disinfect and keep us safe from COVID-19, while still keeping us and the environment safe from chemicals?
Is environmentally safe cleaning possible? Disinfecting and cleaning for businesses that encounter the public and multiple employees may necessitate the use of stronger disinfecting agents. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of EPA authorized disinfectants. These include:
- An alcohol solution that contains at least 70% alcohol
- A bleach solution containing 1/3 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water (4 tsp bleach in 1 quart of water for smaller quantities).
- A commercial disinfectant with EPA approval for killing viruses
Can Disinfecting Also Be Environmentally Safe Cleaning?
These products can also be used at home. However, if there has not been an infected resident or visitor in the home, and you are proactively disinfecting and cleaning, there are some additional options that are more environmentally friendly:
- Soap and water envelopes and inactivates the virus. Plus, the virus is physically removed from the surface
- Solutions containing hydrogen peroxide. Keep in mind that, like bleach, hydrogen peroxide can affect color on some surfaces.
- Solutions containing citric acid.
Disinfecting and Environmentally Safe Cleaning Tips for Business and Home
- Follow the directions on any purchased disinfectant. Some products need to sit on the surface for a certain period of time – for example, 10 minutes to do their job properly.
- After the disinfectant is applied and given enough time to work, rinse the items with water and dry them to reduce the level of chemicals.
- Never mix cleaners, especially bleach and ammonia, to avoid toxic gases.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals. Follow safe practices for glove removal, and don’t forget to wash your hands!
- Only use disinfecting products in a well ventilated area.
- Avoid using bleach on metal surfaces to prevent possible corrosion.
- Spray bottles can disperse harmful chemicals. If you are concerned about breathing in fumes, the rag/bucket method will somewhat reduce how much you breathe in.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them before disinfecting. Disinfection does not necessarily remove dirt.
- Reusable, microfiber cleaning cloths help remove germs and bacteria from surfaces. Wash them in the warmest water possible. This helps keep paper towels and disposable wipes out of the landfills.
- In offices and homes, don’t forget to clean all surfaces that are frequently touched. These include door knobs and handles, counters, tables and desks, keyboards, monitors, light switches, chairs, all restroom surfaces, sinks, phones, remotes, coffee makers, etc.
Right now, the primary goal is to keep employees and family healthy. Proper cleaning and disinfection can help protect all of us from the spread of COVID-19. Even if some cleaning and disinfecting products can’t serve as environmentally safe cleaning as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and households can continue to support environmentally conscious practices by reducing waste, reusing goods, and recycling wherever possible.
Call Texas Recycling in Dallas, TX for Commercial Recycling
Does your company want to remain environmentally sustainable during COVID-19? Let Texas Recycling help your business recycle to benefit both your company’s bottom line and the environment. Contact us today at 214-357-0262 or visit our website to recycle newspaper, paper, cardboard and office papers.
Our Public Buy Back Center, near Fair Park and Downtown Dallas at 1420 S. Barry Ave., Dallas 75223, is open at these business hours during the Coronavirus pandemic. We are closely monitoring our facility and our workers to keep everyone protected. We will update you of any future changes. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.