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How to properly disinfect your home's surfaces and groceries during this pandemic

A new survey by the American Cleaning Institute finds that 42% of people aren't cleaning their surfaces at home properly.

AUSTIN, Texas — A new survey by The American Cleaning Institute found 42% of people are not disinfecting surfaces properly.

The same survey showed 26% of people surveyed said they spray disinfectant and then wipe the surface immediately, but Austin-Travis County infection preventionist Bill Coll said that is wrong. 

He said you first thoroughly clean the surface with a cleaner and then disinfect the surface with a disinfectant but let the product air dry.

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He said the best way to know if you are using the product correctly is to just read the instructions. 

Let's use a bottle of 409 multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant. The instructions on the back show two separate instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. To clean, the instructions say to spray the cleaner and wipe down the surface, but to disinfect, the instructions say spray until wet and let the product sit for at least 10 minutes or air dry for maximum effectiveness. 

Coll said doing both steps during this pandemic is critical to killing viruses on surfaces. 

"Organisms, viruses and pathogens live underneath that organic material," said Coll. "If you don't remove that organic material, the organisms, the virus and other pathogens are still going to live underneath that material." 

Coll said there's also a correct way to wipe down packaging for your groceries. He said to save money, pour a cup of bleach into a gallon of water. After that, use a rag, dip it into the solution, wipe off the item and let it air dry.

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Coll said while cleaning and disinfecting, make sure you are using the products for their intended purpose.

"Don't be mixing cleaning agents because some contain chlorine and ammonia and that can create a very serious problem if people start mixing things that are incompatible," he said. 

Lastly, he said make sure you wash your hands after using a disinfectant.

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