5 Things to Disinfect Regularly

Stop germs before they spread. Consumer Educator, Teresa Hunsaker, identifies five things to clean regularly to keep your family healthy.

Kids are back to school, germs are spread, and families go the rounds on “sharing the love”. While we could probably make ourselves crazy trying to clean every surface every day, there are some to consider being a little more vigilant about cleaning and disinfecting. Here is a great start on what and how:


Frequent and thorough hand washing is probably the very best way for all of us to prevent the spread of bacteria and microorganisms. As we touch various surfaces throughout the day, and then touch our nose, face, etc., we spread germs. Proper hand washing requires a bit more effort than just running our hands under some water for a couple of seconds. Follow these basic steps:

. Run hands under running water.

. Apply soap and lather well.

. Rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds…rub in between fingers and around and under rings….include the backs of hands, wrists, and under finger nails.

. Rinse well.

. Dry with disposable towels, or clean towels.

. When possible, turn off the water with a towel.


Homemade Disinfecting Wipes:

Cut a roll of heavy duty paper towels in half and remove the center tube. Soak the roll with any one of the following recipes…

Rubbing Alcohol

#2 (Most effective at killing most micro-organisms, but is the most harsh)
1/3 Cup chlorine bleach
1 gallon water

1 cup anti-bacterial cleaner (like Pine Sol or Mr. Clean Anti-Bacterial Cleaner)
5 cups water

1 cup hydrogen peroxide
1 cup distilled water

To use, pull each piece of paper towel out of the center of the roll. Place in a container similar to the commercial wipes…place a cut X in the top of the plastic lid to pull the paper towel through. For re-usable towels cut old tea towels or dish clothes into squares and keep in an airtight container. These towels are good for:

Computer key board and mouse
TV Remote
Faucet Knobs
Phone/Cell Phone
Steering Wheels
Refrigerator door handle

Tooth Brushes

It is important to clean and disinfect your tooth brushes every now and then, most particularly if you have had illnesses in the family. Here are 3 effective ways to do that:

Boil your toothbrushes for 5 minutes.

Place toothbrushes in a cup with a good mouth wash…like Listerine…5-10 minutes.

Place your tooth brush in equal parts solution of water and hydrogen peroxide for 10-15 minutes.

Lunch Box

Wash in warm sudsy water and rinse in a mild bleach solution. ( ¼ cup bleach in a sink of water.) If the lunch box cannot be immersed in water, wipe out well with disinfecting wipes.

Kitchen Sponge

Kitchen sponges and cleaning sponges can become real nesting places for bacteria and micro-organisms, and are one of the “dirtiest” places in all of our homes. About every two or three days a good disinfecting is a good idea.

Place your kitchen sponge in the dishwasher along with a regular load of dishes.

Place sponge in a bleach solution….1/4 cup bleach to 2 cups water, and let soak 5-10 minutes.

Boil for 5 minutes.

Cutting Board

Cutting boards can hold bacteria and microorganisms, and can cross contaminate foods if not disinfected. Here are a couple of disinfecting options:

#1 (For both wooden or acrylic cutting board)
Make a solution of warm water (about a gallon), dish detergent, and 2 TBS bleach. Scrub cutting boards well, rinse and dry.

#2 (Acrylic boards only)
Run through the dishwasher.

To naturally disinfect your cutting board, spray with straight distilled white vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and dry. Vinegar and lemon juice are acidic and there are many microorganisms that do not survive acidic environments…even microorganisms like e.coli and salmonella are killed.


Every now and then, especially with kids, it is a good idea to disinfect their mattresses. Here is how:

. Vacuum off the mattress first.

. Mix 1/3 cup vinegar, 2 TBS. liquid laundry soap, 3 cups water. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and rub onto spots and stains.

. Rinse gently without getting too wet.

. Mist with a solution of ¼ cup rubbing alcohol and 2 cups water.

. Let dry.

If you have any questions, contact Teresa Hunsaker at the Family and Consumer Science Education Department at the Weber County USU Extension office at (801) 399-8203 or online at www.extension.usu.edu/weber

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