"Time spent cleaning is not as important as the quality of the cleaning carried out," says Dr. Narendra Saini of the Global Hygiene Council. "Targeted cleaning of germ hotspots such as kitchen work surfaces, chopping boards and fridges, bath tubs, shower heads and toilets, together with taps, door handles and other frequently touched surfaces, toys and gadgets with an appropriate antibacterial, antimicrobial or disinfectant products can remove potentially harmful micro-organisms thereby reducing the risk. It is important to keep surfaces dry, and damp rooms such as bathrooms well ventilated as fungi in particular proliferates in warm, damp conditions."
Saini adds, "There is no point in drying kitchen utensils with a dirty kitchen towel or using dirty cloths to clean. Cleaning cloths, towels of all kinds, flannels and bed sheets should really be washed at 140 degrees F or above in order to effectively kill germs. If you prefer to wash at a lower temperature, then you should consider addition a suitable laundry disinfectant to your wash as well, especially if someone in the household is already down with an illness such as a gastrointestinal infection."
Simple, targeted cleaning with the right materials is a regime that works in the hospital environment according to another Hygiene Council member, Philip Tierno, PhD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center, who along with colleagues was first to confront an outbreak of the antibiotic-resistant hospital superbug Klebsiella pneumonia. Tierno and his team managed to contain and then eradicate the bacterial infection by asking hospital cleaning staff to change their cleaning routine.
"Simple hygiene measures using the right products in problem areas were what eradicated the outbreak of superbug Klebsiella in a hospital setting. This principal can also be used in the home to protect families from infection from health-threatening germs found in the home," Tierno says.
When choosing disinfectants and antibacterial products, read the label and look for a name you can trust, says John Oxford, an authority on influenza and chairman of the Global Hygiene Council. "It's important to choose a quality disinfectant that is proven to a wide range of germs."