Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

In the face of coronavirus, cleaning and disinfecting your home is top of mind. But, there’s clean, and then there’s COVID-19 clean.

The best solution to keeping your home sanitized is a bleach solution or rubbing alcohol, according to reporting by

Here are more details reported by HouseLogic:

The best disinfectants
For surfaces touched often, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, or a 70 percent alcohol solution.

For bleach, follow this recipe: 5 tablespoons or 1/3 cup per gallon of water; or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

Make sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach. Also check the expiration date. After nine months to a year, and if the bleach smell has lessened, the disinfecting power has diminished and you should buy a new jug.

Never mix bleach with anything other than water. It can create a dangerous chemical reaction. For example, bleach and alcohol are a deadly combination.

Be aware that alcohol and bleach can be tough on skin, so wear rubber gloves to protect your hands when cleaning.

Alternative to bleach
If you don’t have bleach, at least 70 percent rubbing alcohol works (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol), according to the CDC.

Can you use too much disinfectant?
Studies have found that some disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant. Be aware that many disinfecting wipes use an ammonium compound as an active ingredient, which could become resistant to viruses over time. The EPA issued a list of disinfectants it believes effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against the list in the link below.

Surfaces that need fastidious cleaning
High-touch surfaces need cleaning daily or multiple times a day, especially if someone in your home is sick. These surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets.

Contact time is key
A key to sanitizing surfaces is leaving the disinfectant on the surface an adequate length of time.
Bleach solutions need to remain on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off.

Research from National Institutes of Health and other agencies shows some coronavirus lives up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Beware of surfaces you bleach
Nonporous floors, like tile and those often used in the bathroom can be mopped with a bleach solution, says the CDC. But on hardwood and other porous floors, bleach can stain. On these floors use a disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.

Killing microbes on clothes
To eradicate viruses, especially if someone in your home is sick, use hot water to wash clothes and high heat dry for about 30 to 45 minutes until clothes are thoroughly dry.

Remember to wipe down the laundry hamper like you would other surfaces. You can also use a reusable liner bag, which you can launder with the clothes.

What if my home is for sale?
If your home is for sale, talk to your real estate agent to establish a hygienic showing protocol. This may include requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs. Your prospective buyers will appreciate the precautions as well.

Some agents are managing open houses to avoid group situations.

After showings, wipe down the surfaces in your home.

For more information, see:

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit