Pediatrics | Published May 28, 2020

Household disinfectant safety

Germs are a constant concern for parents, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thorough and frequent hand washing with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds remains a best practice to reduce the spread of germs, including COVID-19. However, families have also stocked up on hand sanitizer as an additional means to prevent the spread of germs if hand washing is not a viable option. Don’t forget that hand sanitizers contain highly concentrated alcohol which can be dangerous for children. Please be sure to keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of children.

In addition to paying attention to hand hygiene, take a sensible approach to disinfecting and sanitizing your home. Pay particular attention to high touch surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, toilets and the floor. Sanitize these frequently used surfaces with household cleaners known to kill COVID-19. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a list of these products, many of which are safe to use in the home. This list contains only products which meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. 

While it is necessary to use these products, it is essential to be careful to keep your family safe around them. Be sure to read and follow the safety instructions on the household cleaner labels. Never mix chemicals, as doing so can be dangerous to anyone close enough to inhale them.

Here are additional household cleaner safety tips:

  • Keep cleaning materials out of reach of children and pets. Add child-proof latches to ensure safe storage.
  • Do not leave cleaning supplies open and unattended. Always close and put away cleaning supplies if you are interrupted. Be sure to properly dispose of paper towels and rags that touched the cleaning products. 
  • Open a window and turn on a fan to increase airflow when using cleaning products. 
  • Protect your skin by wearing gloves. 

As families spend more time at home, it is important to be mindful about cleaning products. Be sure to talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions about keeping your family safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.