Disinfection: A Guide

The world has changed and so must our daily hygiene practices. One important change is the need to disinfect common items throughout our home and routine. While cleaning helps reduce germs, it does not completely eliminate them. Disinfection is the process of killing any remaining microbes on surfaces. This article is designed to teach you all you need to know to confidently complete this essential task.

What Is Disinfection?

Disinfection is the process of killing or inactivating germs on objects and surfaces. This helps to reduce the risk of infection and the spread of diseases. The goal is to create and maintain a sanitary environment that is free from harmful microbes.

What Should You Disinfect?

The CDC recommends you disinfect items at least daily, or even more frequently in areas where multiple people come into contact, such as bathrooms, door knobs, light switches, counter tops, and other high-touch areas.

It is especially important to disinfect items frequently touched by multiple people, such as toys, remotes, gaming systems, computer keyboards and mice, phones, and tablets.

What Disinfectants Should You Use?

When choosing a disinfectant, look for products that are EPA approved and that label the specific microorganisms it kills. Disinfectants come in a variety of forms, including wipes, sprays, and liquids. Whenever possible, use a disinfectant that is designed for the item you are disinfecting. For example:

  • For electronics, use an alcohol-free disinfectant or sanitizing wipe specially designed for use on that item.
  • For surfaces, use a disinfectant spray or concentrate and follow the instructions on the label for dilution, application method, and contact time.

Disinfecting Best Practices

To get the most out of your disinfection efforts, follow these best practices:

  • Clean the area before you disinfect. Disinfection does not replace cleaning. Removing dirt, dust, and other contaminants from surfaces ensures that the disinfectant can reach and effectively kill microbes.
  • Read product labels for instructions on dilution and contact time. When used incorrectly, many disinfectants are far less effective.
  • Follow any instructions for using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, a mask, and eye protection. This is especially important if the label warns of potential risks.
  • Let the surface air dry to increase the effectiveness of the disinfectant.
  • Practice good hand hygiene. Regular hand washing with soap and water or use of a hand sanitizer is essential to reduce the spread of germs.

Safely Disposing of Disinfectants

When you are done disinfecting, make sure to properly dispose of any remaining liquid or wipes. Cleaning and disinfecting products can contain hazardous ingredients, so they should not just be thrown away. check your local regulations to find out how to dispose of cleaning and disinfecting products near you.


Disinfection is an essential part of daily hygiene. With the proper cleaning procedure and the correct disinfectant, you can help ensure your home and spaces are free from harmful germs. Be sure to read product labels and practice good hand hygiene to keep yourself and others around you safe.