Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure many of us have already done more cleaning and disinfecting in 2020 than we did during the entirety of 2019. Personally, my door knobs, light switches, and countertops, and faucet handles have never been cleaner! :-)
While it’s important to remain vigilant about keeping our homes and possessions clean, pulling out your trusty disinfecting spray isn’t always the best option. (Speaking of which… if you missed my recent post on the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, you can check that out here!)
In today’s blog post, we’ll be exploring 7 things around the house that you shouldn’t disinfect, and why it’s not a good idea. For each item, I’ve also provided a safe alternative you can use to clean these items safely while keeping germs at bay!
7 Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect (& What To Do Instead)
The chemicals in disinfecting cleaners are too harsh to use on delicate jewelry metals and precious gemstones. In fact, even hand sanitizer can damage some types of jewelry, which is one reason why some experts recommend avoiding rings, watches, and bracelets during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you do choose to keep wearing jewelry on your hands and wrists, just make sure to keep them clean. Good old soap and water are all you need! (For more information about how to clean your jewelry safely, check out this post!)
2. Your Car
Ever wonder why there are so many special types of cleaners at auto parts stores? It’s because you can easily damage car interiors and exteriors with other types of cleaning products!
While you can probably get away with using a disinfecting wipe on your door handle or steering wheel every once in a while, but the safest option is to simply clean your car often. Regular car washes will help remove germs from the outside of your car, while a soft microfiber cloth will make short work of your interior. (Dampen the cloth with water first, or use a cleaning spray that’s formulated for automotive interiors.)
3. Natural Stone
It’s tempting to use your go-to disinfecting spray on every surface in your house, but it could end up being a very expensive mistake! Harsh cleaners can damage natural stone surfaces like granite or marble, and even leave behind permanent swirls or etching on your beautiful countertops.
Instead, just wash your natural stone countertops with soap and water, or make my homemade granite cleaner, which is perfectly safe to use on natural stone.
Avoid using disinfectants to clean both treated and untreated wood surfaces. Untreated surfaces will absorb the cleaning liquid, which can leave behind stains that are impossible to remove entirely.
As for treated wood, it can still react poorly with harsh ingredients in cleaners like bleach and alcohol, and they can strip away the protective finish and leave them vulnerable to damage. To keep wood floors and furniture clean, use a wood-safe cleaner.
The main problem with disinfecting leather (whether it’s in your car or in the form of accessories like purses or wallets) is that disinfectants usually contain alcohol. Alcohol can sap leather of its natural moisture, causing it to look dry, chalky, and worn out.
Instead, clean leather items with a soapy solution of 1 quart of water and a few drops of baby soap. Dip a sponge or cloth into the cleaning solution, clean your item, then rinse the sponge and wipe the item again to remove any remaining soap residue.
Most disinfectants warn you to keep them away from your eyes, which means you should keep them away from your glasses too! To clean your glasses and remove germs, just wash them gently with a few drops of dish soap, then dry them with a soft microfiber cloth.
To clean your glasses on the go, learn to make your own eyeglass cleaning spray here.
7. Food Prep Surfaces & Toys
What do food prep surfaces and toys have in common? They both frequently come into contact with either mouths or food. And that’s an important factor to consider when deciding how to keep something clean!
While you can use disinfectants to clean food prep surfaces and toys, it’s very important to rinse them thoroughly with clean water afterwards. Otherwise, harsh cleaning ingredients may linger on those surfaces and eventually end up in someone’s mouth!
What’s the best cleaning tip you’ve used recently?