With the continued presence of the Coronavirus, many of us have become aware of the need for more frequent and effective cleaning. There is no better place to start than in the kitchen with your countertops.
According to Dr. Charles Gerba, microbiologist, and professor at the University of Arizona, the kitchen may be dirtier than your bathroom[*].
Though a soapy sponge or dish rag may seem like a good tool for cleaning your kitchen, Dr. Gerba says it is probably the dirtiest item in your kitchen[*].
Cleaners We Wouldn't Suggest You Use to Clean Countertops
Bleach is acidic and can do a considerable amount of damage to countertop surfaces, especially stone surfaces. From a health perspective, bleach should be avoided because its potent fumes can disturb and irritate your respiratory system. Mixing bleach with other cleaners can be toxic.
Lysol can be a strong disinfectant, but it's important to point out that it's a harsh chemical that can cause toxic reactions. And if your children happen to ingest Lysol by accident, it's far more likely to poison them than it is to poison or kill bacteria and viruses. If you must use Lysol, it's best to follow the directions when disinfecting your countertop so nobody gets hurt.
Other Chemical Cleaners
The problem with using chemical disinfectants and cleaners is most often they are not used correctly and therefore become more of a health risk than a way of reducing health risks. Labels are not followed or even read, important dwell times are not followed, proper venting is not used, and finally, the harmful residues are left behind.
Vinegar is also acidic and can damage countertop surfaces. While vinegar can clean some hard water stains, it is not a good cleaner of regular soils. There is a common myth that vinegar is a good disinfectant, this is not necessarily true. If a surface is cleaned first and the vinegar is left on the surface long enough, it will kill some pathogens, but there are far better choices for real disinfection[*].
What We Do Recommend for Cleaning and Disinfecting Countertops
Steam vapor with TANCS® will disinfect hard surfaces within 7 seconds or less[*]. Steam vapor uses only water, H20, so there is no chemical residue left behind. Shorter dwell times, and the effectiveness of moist heat, relates to greater efficacy of cleaning and bacterial removal, than chemical cleaners and chemical disinfectants.
It is areas with high bacterial counts that are a real health risk, and kitchen countertops can definitely be very high in bacteria counts. Once those numbers are significantly reduced, as with a steam vapor system, simply scrubbing with soap and water can be very effective.
Using steam vapor even once a week can keep bacteria in the kitchen at a minimum. If you have cut up chicken or fish and need to hit those areas with steam vapor, that will help as well. Then just keep up the area with good old soap and water.
How to Clean With Steam Vapor
- Step 1: Remove particulates with a washcloth or a brush.
- Step 2: Fill your steam vapor system with regular tap water. If you do not have TANCS® installed, the manufacturer may recommend distilled water. The original purpose for installing TANCS® was to prevent scale in the boiler.
- Step 3: Heat until a ready light comes on, approximately 5 minutes from a cold start with a continuous fill system, up to 15 minutes for systems where you are adding water directly to the boiler.
- Step 4: Choose the appropriate accessory tool. For the countertop, the triangle brush with a filler pad and terry towel or a terry, or microfiber bonnet. Working around the faucet or in the sink, the nozzle, and small nylon brush would work best.
- Step 5: On the countertop work the tool in a 3 foot X 3 foot area, using the triangle brush and moving it forward and back a little slower than vacuuming.
- Step 6: Using the nozzle and small brush, simply scrub lightly the area and wipe with a towel, or rinse if inside the sink. If the countertop is tile and grout, use the small nylon brush and the nozzle, working down the grout line and again, covering about a 3 foot X 3 foot area.
- Step 7: Return to the starting area with a towel laid down on the surface, with the tool placed on top of the towel, turn the steam back on and go over the area just worked, picking up the remaining moisture and soil.
You are finished. Feel your countertops, feel how clean they are. No chemical residue, just extremely clean and free of pathogens. That is steam vapor clean.
Additional Safe Cleaning Methods
If you choose to clean without steam vapor and wish to clean with chemical cleaners, or home developed cleaning solutions, then be sure to:
- Follow product labels completely.
- Remember that all countertop surfaces are porous.
- Follow dwell times and all precautionary procedures.
- Rinse the area thoroughly after using the product.
Additional safe cleaning options include:
Borax may be a possible choice, although many sites suggest mixtures such as lemon juice, or vinegar, which are both acidic.
Microfiber cloths are also a good choice, just remember, unlike a towel used in conjunction with a steam vapor system, a microfiber cloth, if not cleaned often, could cross-contaminate. You must use a different cloth when the present cloth becomes soiled.
Be Careful Using "Natural" Cleaning Products
The word "natural" is overused. Please do some extensive research before choosing these methods. Remember, gasoline, which also has cleaning capabilities, is made from natural ingredients, yet I don't think you would use it for cleaning your home.
As mentioned earlier, many sites recommend vinegar and other mixed natural products to clean your home with. Vinegar actually has an SDS (Safety Data Sheet)[*].
Also, it is good to remember that home recipes for cleaners have no Section 4 first-aid recommendations and it is very possible they'll be needed.
Clean Countertops and More With Ladybug®
The Ladybug steam vapor system with TANCS® is a total home cleaning system. The Ladybug® is safe for nearly all of your home's surfaces. It is not consumable and it is great for the environment.
We offer three Ladybug® models of home use steam vapor systems. They all include the revolutionary, disinfecting, scale preventing, TANCS® technology that is scientifically proven to kill more germs in 3 minutes than even strong disinfectants like bleach can in 20 minutes, and start as low as $92 per month. Get yours today.