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This is the wrong way to disinfect your home if you want to stay safe from coronavirus

Published Jun 2nd, 2020 4:34PM EDT
Coronavirus US
Image: Laura Thompson/Shutterstock

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  • The coronavirus’ US toll is continuing to get worse, both here and abroad, while we’re also learning more about the virus and how to keep ourselves safe from it. 
  • For example, the news about whether you can contract the virus from packages delivered to your home is good, but also a little inconclusive.
  • Speaking of your home, here’s one thing you absolutely shouldn’t do when you’re disinfecting everything.

The county that encompasses my city of Memphis, Tennessee, just reported its highest one-day total of new coronavirus cases (190) on Tuesday since April 24, one of the many reminders out there, both big and small, that we remain in the throes of a deadly pandemic. As of the time of this writing, in fact, the number of coronavirus infections in the US has topped 1.82 million, while the number of reported deaths here has surpassed 105,000 (according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University).

All of which is to say, it sounds like people still need a few reminders of best practices right now, including things like the wearing of a face mask when you’re outside your home. Anecdotally, I saw pretty widespread adherence to this in public for a while, until things seemed to drop off in this regard over the last several days (in situations completely separate from protests taking place). Among the other things we’re continuing to learn about the virus, meanwhile, like places to avoid and all the ways the virus can affect you — here’s a recommendation on how to disinfect the spaces and things around you to remain safe from the virus.

This might seem like a little thing, but there are some ideal cleaning behaviors that aren’t necessarily intuitive right now, one of which is that experts warn against using a spray bottle to disinfect things around you. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking — wait, I’m spraying a cleaning solution, how is this a bad idea?

“Disinfectants that are sprayed—whether from a squirt bottle or pressurized can—become aerosolized,” dermatologist Brooke Jackson, told one news outlet. “This means that anything which is spritzed or sprayed creates droplets that can be inhaled and cause irritation of the lungs and nasal passages.” Making matters even worse is when this kind of thing is done somewhere in your house that is not necessarily well-ventilated, like a small bathroom, where it’s easy to accidentally inhale the disinfectant.

Instead, Jackson suggests the following: Open the spray bottle and just go ahead and pour a little disinfectant on a sponge or cloth. That way, the application of this cleaning product is a bit more controlled. If you absolutely must use something like a spray bottle, of course, at a minimum make sure you’re at least wearing a face covering or mask of some kind.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.