Here’s why most of us aren’t disinfecting sufficiently for COVID-19

I’m a self-admitted “clean freak.” I have a regular house cleaning schedule that I stick to come rain or shine, migraine, illness, or injury. I simply hate having a dirty house.

Yet, even that hasn’t been enough for me with the coronavirus pandemic raging in our country.

Like many people, worrying about the dangers of the virus has meant added protocols for disinfecting in my house, including wiping down doorknobs, television remotes, and more on a regular basis and even cleaning the groceries we bring through our doors.

Still, I’ve wondered…

Am I doing enough to kill the virus and what am I missing?

Those questions were exactly what was on my mind when I saw a new study that raised the question of just how diligent we have to be in order to keep surfaces germ-free.

 What’s most likely to be missed?

The study, performed by researchers at Ohio State University followed the disinfection procedures and their success at a small veterinary clinic.

Why a vet hospital?

Well, according to the team, they chose it because not only was it easy to track but it was a great test for and translates well to the “real world” areas, like grocery stores since there are many surfaces people touch regularly and cleaning needs to be done well and often.

Unfortunately, the results of the study were not encouraging…

That’s because of the 5,000 surfaces the team tested on a regular basis, only 50 percent were cleaned well enough to be considered germ-free.

Related: Why your car could be a petri dish for coronavirus and how to clean it

That means the remaining 50 percent were left riddled with germs (germs that in this day and age could transmit COVID-19).

To top it off, the surfaces that weren’t well cleaned were the ones people touch the most, like computer keyboards and mice, handles, etc.

Pretty scary stuff!

Senior study author Jason Stull, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University, says that the take-home message is this:

“Despite our best efforts, 100 percent cleaning and disinfection is unlikely to occur. This is important to remember, as regardless of where you visit, it’s also best to assume surfaces may be contaminated – and before you come back into your home, you should follow the recommendations to clean your hands and clean items you’ve handled.”

Disinfecting your home

Above all else, especially after learning that it is impossible to clean every surface you may come in contact with that could expose you to the coronavirus, wash your hands frequently.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be vigilant about cleaning those often-touched surfaces in your home.

You should concentrate on cleaning common-touch surfaces like doorknobs and countertops.

Other high-touch areas include:

  • Light switches
  • Railings
  • Faucets
  • Cabinet pulls and handles
  • Tabletops
  • Remote controls
  • Keys
  • Cellphone
  • Wallet
  • Purse handle

Recommended cleaning products are bleach, rubbing alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, and hydrogen peroxide. Of course, you should check the bottle to ensure the one you choose is safe for use on each particular surface you plan to use it on.

Related: How to keep from spreading COVID-19 while doing laundry

And, The American Cleaning Institute ® (ACI), the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry™, offers a few tips to ensure proper disinfection:

  1. Be sure to pre-clean to rid surfaces of dirt and grime.
  2. Use the cleaning product only as directed.
  3. After cleaning, allow the surface to air dry to give it time to do its work and kill the viruses and bacteria it comes in contact with.
  4. For toys or areas that come in contact with food, rinse with water after the cleaning product air dries.

You should also remember to leave your shoes at the door and immediately drop your clothes in the washing machine whenever you come home to avoid tracking the virus through your house.

And, learn the doctor-recommended, step-by-step process to making sure the groceries and take-out food you bring home is virus-free.


  1. Study shows how diligent we have to be to keep surfaces germ-free — American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  2. Cleaning and COVID-19: Survey Shows 42% Not Disinfecting Properly — American Cleaning Institute
  3. House Hygiene: How to keep coronavirus from coming home — The Mercury News
  4. Crucial Coronavirus Cleaning Tips: How To Keep Your Home Germ-Free During the Pandemic —
Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.