No matter what your cleaning style is, chances are that you are making this crucial cleaning mistake. It doesn’t matter if you clean a little each day, have a reserved cleaning day or do a deep clean every few weeks, you’re still most likely making this major cleaning mistake. What is it? Grab your magnifying glass as we’re about to look at some very small print.
The Fine Print
Some of the most important details can be in the smallest print. Grab the bottle or container of your favorite disinfectant cleaner. Yes, really. We’ll wait.
When you use this cleaner, do you usually spray and start wiping right away? Think about the way you usually use this cleaner. If you’re like most people, you spray it on and wipe it right off and move onto the next surface you need to clean. And that is where the mistake happens.
Let’s dig into the fine print. We warned you that you might need a magnifying glass for this as it is often in the fine print on the back of many disinfectant cleaners. What you’re looking for is a statement that says something like “To disinfect, spray onto surface and let sit for at least ________ seconds/minutes.” The amount of time you let a cleaner stand on a surface before you wipe or clean it off is called the cleaner’s contact time. Contact time is the amount of time a cleaner needs to sit on a surface to kill germs, bacteria, viruses, mold and other nasties that can make you sick.
Why is contact time important? Because if you don’t wait the required contact time stated on the bottle, you might be cleaning dirt and dust off the surface but you aren’t disinfecting it. Isn’t disinfection the point of choosing a disinfecting cleaner? When you just wipe and go without giving the cleaner the proper contact time to work as intended, you end up leaving behind the very germs you intended to kill–or worse, just spreading them around when you wipe the cleaner away too soon.
Remembering Contact Time
Life gets busy and when you’re cleaning, you just want to get it over with and move on to the next task. We get it. To help you remember to give a cleaner the proper contact time, we have a little trick for you. First, verify the contact time required for disinfecting on the label. Let’s say the contact time for a particular cleaner you prefer is 60 seconds. Take a black permanent marker and write on the front and/or the neck of the sprayer “60 SECS”. This will save you time as you won’t have to scour the label looking for the contact time with your handy magnifying glass each time you clean while also reminding you to give the cleaner time to sit and do its best work. It’s a simple way to make sure you’re getting the maximum disinfection and avoiding this all too common cleaning mistake.