One thing we learned last year is about disinfecting! From how to do laundry in a pandemic to how to effectively eliminate viruses from household surfaces, we all gained a lot of new wisdom about how to take care of our homes and how to take care of ourselves. And yet, chances are you’re probably still making some mistakes. For example, disinfectants cannot work if the surface is not clean. In other words, if you are using a disinfecting wipe to clean surfaces, they are not disinfecting! Viruses and bacteria can hide in organic material and dirt lingering on your home’s surfaces, which makes any disinfectant you try to use less effective. Always use a detergent, like an all-purpose cleaner or soap and water, before using disinfectant. Don’t be so quick to wipe away that disinfectant after you apply it. To do their jobs, disinfecting solutions have to stay in contact (wet) with the surface for a specified length of time, which can range from seconds to minutes depending on the product. We've always known bleach is an effective solution for killing germs. However bleach loses its potency over time when diluted with water. In other words, make only as much bleach solution as you actually need and use it right away. While you'd think the higher alcohol content in hand sanitizer and cleaners is better, but that’s not necessarily the case. Ninety percent (or higher) alcohol solution can actually be too powerful in some scenarios—like when you’re cleaning food surfaces. It has to do with the water content, which allows the solution to permeate the bacteria cell wall, and zap the whole thing. The 70% alcohol content variety is your best bet.