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7 Things To Skip When You’re Disinfecting Your Home

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

Because of the pandemic, I’m sure many of us have done more disinfecting over the past couple of years than we ever used to. Personally, my door knobs, light switches, countertops, and faucet handles have never been more consistently germ-free!

While it’s important to remain vigilant about keeping our homes and possessions clean, pulling out a disinfecting spray or using a disinfecting wipe isn’t always the right call. (Speaking of which… if you missed my post on the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, you can check that out here!)

Today we’ll be exploring 7 things around the house 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, And What To Do Instead

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

1. Jewelry

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 recommended avoiding rings, watches, and bracelets earlier in the pandemic.

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!)

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

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.)

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

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.

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

4. Wood

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.

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

5. Leather

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.

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

6. Glasses

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.

Things You Shouldn’t Disinfect

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?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • I have found that the best germ fighting product to use on everything is diluted Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner. Kills germs 99.99% and an inexpensive item when it only takes a cap or two of the Cleaner in about a 14 oz spray bottle and then fill with filtered water. Also white vinegar kills germs 99.99% but cannot be used on all surfaces. And thieves leaves a very pleasant smell.

  • Soap and water mostly are all you need. We, humans, need some bacteria to exist and to develop immunity. I agree, that it’s important to keep things clean but we are apt to overclean sometimes. Check the science!

  • Great information here! It’s so important to keep things cleaned and disinfected. Professional cleaning is also still crucial, but now more than ever you need to find somebody you can trust. My wife and I always go with John’s Chem-Dry of Whatcom County to clean our furniture here in Ferndale. They practice safe social distancing and always wear their masks. They also use a really effective sanitizer that doesn’t have any harmful chemicals. Would recommend them to anybody for disinfecting and cleaning upholstery, carpets, and whatever else.

  • Food ad prep surfaces can be cleaned with ‘Thieves vinegar’
    Jewelry an be cleaned with DAWN dish liquid (and if it looks like its tarnishing a bit use a bit of Tarn*x
    (If I only have a bracelet I use a squirt of tarn X and a shot of water with dawn to just give a clean when I get in from being out. I don’t always wear jewelry but if I’m in the mood and isn’t too hot and def. NOT humid I’ll wear it.

  • Could you do an article on E-Cloths? They claim to clean 99.9% of germs from surfaces using JUST WATER. Apparently, it’s a microfiber cloth on steroids, but it seems too good to be true. If it really works, it would be a game changer. I would love to get your take on it.

  • Some toilet seats that I have purchased states to use soap and water only. I usually disinfect and allow to dry and then wipe off with plain water to rinse. A friend used spray disinfectant on her toilet seat periodically and the paint started to peel off. Seems to me that would be one important thing to disinfect.

  • Speaking of cleaning kitchen counters…We have quartz countertops. We also have mineral stains around the faucets. Normally, we use vinegar soaks, but you can’t use vinegar on quartz. What will safely remove mineral deposits, and also rust stains on quartz. Thanks!

  • Wish I had read this before I ruined my car interior using a mixture of thieves and 70% alcohol. I’ve been using this mixture to clean my kitchen, doorknobs, etc. and love it. While cleaning my car, I sprayed the dash, got distracted by one of my kids for a minute, and when I started wiping, the finish began to come off! The dash used to be tan to match the seats, but now black is showing through in spots. Not sure how to fix it. Don’t make this mistake!

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