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You've Probably Been Disinfecting Surfaces Wrong This Entire Time

Don't forget that bacterial biofilm.
PHOTO: Getty Images/EyeEm

We all have different ways of cleaning. Everyone knows, however, that all it takes is a disinfecting product to effectively kill any bacteria and virus. But a biohazard cleaner has something to say about this: A lot of us are doing it wrong.

Cory Chalmer tells Business Insider that cleaning isn't that fast. "A lot of people spray a surface and then wipe it around right away," Chalmers says. "But you're not letting the disinfectant do its job."

He adds that using the same rag can prove to be counterproductive. "People sometimes will walk around the house with the same rag, cleaning all the surfaces. That doesn't do anything because now they're just spreading the germs around," Chalmers said. "Once that towel or rag that you're using is full of germs, it's not going to absorb anymore."

It echoes the report of microbiologist Dr. Adam Caulfied who said: "The manufacturer includes a contact timethe amount of time a surface must remain saturated with the disinfectant to reliably kill all bacteria and viruses present. This time is typically mentioned on a product's label, and it's often longer than many people realize."

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Instead, you should be putting soap on an applicator (towel or brush) and then wiping the surface thoroughlymaking sure to use different sides of the applicator. What this does is effectively lift the bacterial biofilm from the surface. Then, a disinfectant product can be used to further kill more germs and viruses.

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Don't forget to check your disinfectant product's instructions, too. While you're looking at the back label, look for the dwell time to make sure you're letting the product sit for its intended time.