The coronavirus pandemic has dominated many aspects of life in the US. For many, work, school, and social activities have been turned upside down or vanished entirely. While the Bed Bug Supply team is still hard at work to ensure that bed bug infestations don’t continue to add to your stress, many customers have asked what they can use to clean and disinfect their homes for coronavirus.
How Coronavirus Survives in Your Home
The most common advice related to the coronavirus pandemic is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and practice social isolation to reduce the virus’s spread. What is less common is advice related to ensuring the virus does not spread in your own home.
This is especially important if there are children, seniors, or immunocompromised members of your household. But even without those vulnerable demographics present, killing the virus before it spreads to more people is key to saving lives during this pandemic.
Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 is quite stable on various household surfaces. The virus can remain viable for up to 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel, and can even survive on cardboard and various metals (though not for as long). Even if no one in your home has coronavirus symptoms, coming in contact with these infected surfaces increases the risk that you might spread it to others.
What Kills Coronavirus?
While we still don’t know everything that we want to about the new COVID-19 viral strain, doctors and other experts have confirmed certain tools and methods that are effective at killing the coronavirus on various household surfaces.
The most common tools recommended for disinfecting surfaces for the coronavirus are household cleaning products that use hydrogen peroxide or quaternary ammonium. These cleaners are able to kill a large majority of virus specimens on various household surfaces, but they are often sold out at local grocery and department stores.
A more reliable and cost-effective means of disinfecting is the use of high-pressure steam. Like most viral strains, COVID-19 has adapted to live in temperatures similar to a human body’s. Exposure to significantly hotter temperatures will instantly kill coronavirus and other germs, offering quick sanitization for many key household surfaces.
Steam Cleaning Household Surfaces
A high-pressure, dry vapor steamer can be used to sanitize and disinfect a wide variety of surfaces in your home. This is a non-toxic, waste-free cleaning method that is effective at killing coronavirus specimens wherever they may be, along with other viruses, bacteria, mold spores and allergens.
Dry-vapor steam is hot enough to kill nearly any virus instantly on contact, and can penetrate materials like carpeting, tile grout, and other porous spaces to reach contaminants that have settled beyond surfaces. Steam from a dry-vapor steamer contains minimal amounts of water, and is generally safe for use on countertops, stainless steel handles and fixtures, carpeting, tile and sealed wood floors.
A high-quality dry-vapor steamer, such as the Vapamore MR-100 Primo, will include interchangeable attachments for different steam applications. Ideally, the steamer will come with a floor head for carpet and tile floors, a grout brush for tile grout, and brush heads of varying sizes and materials for other surfaces.
When using a steam cleaner to combat the spread of coronavirus, clean and disinfect high-contact surfaces daily in household common areas. This includes tables, chairs, doorknobs, handles, toilets, and sinks. Be sure to wipe down dirty surfaces before steaming, then wipe the surfaces down again afterwards to remove the dirt and contaminants that have been lifted up by the hot vapors.
To ensure reliable disinfection, ensure that the steam nozzle is as close as possible to the surface being treated, and that you move the nozzle slowly — roughly one inch per second. When possible, cover the nozzle or attachment with a microfiber cloth to break up excess pressure and moisture, allowing the heat to concentrate near the steam tip. Above all else, ensure that you are following the included instructions for safe and effective usage; high-pressure steam is hot enough to cause serious burns, and can damage certain surfaces and household items.
Not every high-contact surface in a household can be safely or effectively treated by a steamer. To disinfect more sensitive materials, such as unsealed wood and certain fabrics, a non-steam alternative is important to have on hand.
A top choice disinfectant is STERI-FAB, an alcohol-based sanitizer that has been proven effective against a wide range of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and more. STERI-FAB combines isopropyl alcohol with phenothrin and ammonium chloride to kill contaminants on contact. It then dries in less than 15 minutes with no residue left behind.
STERI-FAB’s non-irritating, non-staining formula is safe for use on carpet, wood, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and nearly any other surface that can safely get wet. Since it is an insecticide that’s regulated by the EPA, make sure that you read and follow the included product label and MSDS for safe and effective usage.
Due to the financial concerns surrounding the pandemic, many are tempted to clean and disinfect their homes for coronavirus using unproven do-it-yourself methods. The World Health Organization even launched a campaign of myth-busting graphics, explaining that things like cold weather, snow, and hot baths won’t prevent the spread of the virus.
Alcohol and chlorine are commonly recommended as cheap solutions to sanitize around the house. However, both of these substances release dangerous vapors in the air, and can be harmful to clothes and your skin, eyes, and mouth if contact is made during their use.
While the heat from a dry-vapor steamer is proven effective at killing a wide range of viruses and other contaminants, heat from other sources won’t always have such clear-cut results. Steam from humidifiers are not nearly hot enough to kill viruses in the air and can’t be directed on surfaces in a way that will be effective for treatment, while other heating appliances like clothing irons will offer more risk of damage to household materials than they’ll provide effective sanitization.
We at Bed Bug Supply have always taken the health and safety of our customers seriously. We wish you and your family the best during these uncertain times, and urge you to follow guidance issued by the CDC and your local authorities to minimize your chances of contracting or spreading this virus. For more information about our steamers and alcohol-based disinfectants, please reach out to our support specialists 7 days a week at 866-238-9868.
Dry-vapor steamers can kill bed bugs and most viruses on contact with just water. Our steamers produce 200+ degree steam, which is needed to kill bed bugs and their eggs on contact.