WVU Extension Service offers safety tips for disinfecting your home

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Ami Cook
WVU Extension Service

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With many people taking steps to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. many are or will be using household cleaning products to clean and disinfect their homes, offices and other spaces. What many don’t know is that if these products aren’t used properly, they can be harmful to your health.

Ami Cook, West Virginia University Extension Service Families and Health Agent in Clay and Braxton counties, offers the following information, tips and advice for properly cleaning and disinfecting your home to keep your family and pets safe:

  • Products that use the word ‘disinfectant’ must meet government specifications. Look for an EPA Registration Number and specifically follow the manufacturer instructions. According to the American Cleaning Institute there are three types of disinfectants: EPA-Registered Chlorine Bleach, EPA-Registered Disinfectant Cleaners and EPA-Registered Disinfectants.
  • Never mix cleaners unless the label says you can. Mixing bleach with vinegar or ammonia will create toxic fumes, that when inhaled, can cause coughing, shortness of breath and even chest pains. Mixing bleach with rubbing alcohol creates chloroform, which is highly toxic.
  • Store products where children and pets cannot reach them. Keep the products in their original containers. If mixing a chlorine bleach and water solution clearly mark the container.
  • You can’t disinfect dirt. Unless you are using a disinfectant cleaner, you must clean surfaces first. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Labels on EPA-Registered Chlorine Bleach will provide directions for mixing with water. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces often throughout the day.

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