Tips for Cleaning at Home

View the easy-reading graphic, "Tips for Cleaning at Home".

Routine cleaning is important because it helps keep pests away, reduces in-home allergens like dust and dander, and helps stop the spread of germs, including viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Cleaning removes dirt, impurities and germs from surfaces or objects. Use a disinfectant to kill germs after cleaning on the highest risk areas, such as bathroom surfaces, especially if someone in the home is ill, and on food preparation surfaces. In food preparation areas, follow directions to sanitize especially after preparing raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs.

Products used to clean or disinfect may contain chemicals that are harmful if inhaled, touched, or swallowed. Carefully read and follow product label instructions for safe use. Wearing gloves and using in well ventilated areas reduces risks of health effects from product use such as nose, irritation, nausea, dizziness, and headache.

How to Clean and Disinfect

  • Cleaning: Clean surfaces thoroughly using soap or detergent and water before using disinfectants. Dirt and other materials on surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of disinfectants.
  • Disinfecting: If using a disinfectant to kill viruses, bacteria, and germs, apply after surfaces are cleaned. Look for the product label registration number to make sure this product is approved for use by the EPA. Carefully follow the instructions on the label.
  • Pay attention to the contact time: the amount of time the disinfectant must remain on the surface to be effective. This can vary based on the product and it applies to disinfecting wipes, too.
  • If a disinfectant is unavailable, you can use a fresh household bleach solution by following the label instructions.

Hard to Clean Soft Surfaces and Laundry

  • Soft Surfaces (Fabric, Carpets): Vacuum to remove visible dirt; then clean or spot clean as indicated on fabric label or instructions.
  • Laundry: Wash and dry at the temperature recommended for the fabric using detergent as recommended on the product label.

Bring in Fresh Air

  • Improve ventilation with outside air when using products:
    • Open the windows, or doors to the outside, if possible.
    • Open the outdoor air intake or vent of your window air conditioner when in operation.
    • Operate fans if they are vented to the outdoors.

Use and Store Products Safely

  • Do not mix products. Mixing these can produce toxic fumes that are harmful to health.
  • Carefully follow all label instructions to ensure effective use, including using the right amount of water with concentrated products. Applying more product than required does not yield better results and can be harmful.
  • Wear gloves and any protection identified on the product label.
  • Dispose of unused and unwanted products properly.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Keep products in their original containers and close securely after use.
  • Never ingest products.

In Case of Poisoning

  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-2222 immediately. Keep this number clearly posted in your home.
  • Call 911 for emergency medical help immediately if someone stops breathing, collapses, or has a seizure.

Keep Kids Safe

  • Put locks on cabinets and store products out of children's reach.
  • Keep children and pets away when using products.
  • Always supervise your children when using hand sanitizers.

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