Cleaning & Disinfecting

Routine Cleaning and Disinfecting

Below are some tips on cleaning and killing germs in your home safely. These cleaning and disinfecting tips are not intended for COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. Please refer to the coronavirus resource page at


A. Routine Cleaning

Routine cleaning can reduce dust, allergens, and chemicals in your home. Cleaners do not kill germs. See the disinfectant section below for ways to disinfect your home.

1.    When cleaning, use safer products, which are better for your health and the environment.

2.    Choose safer cleaning products with one of these labels:

This product meets EPA safety standardsGreenSeal

3.    Make your own cleaners with household ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda (see recipes below).

4.    While cleaning, open windows and turn on a fan to increase airflow. Consider wearing gloves to protect your skin.

5.    Keep all cleaning products away from children and pets.

6.    Do not use chemical air fresheners. Instead, keep your home well-ventilated (open windows). Use a box of baking soda to absorb odors.


All-Purpose Household Cleaner

1 cup warm water

3 drops unscented liquid soap

1⁄2 cup white vinegar

Optional: add fresh lemon juice



  • Mix ingredients in an empty spray bottle.
  • Use to clean various surfaces in your home.
  • Label your bottle to prevent injury due to accidentally misuse.


Sink, Tub, & Tile Cleaner

  • Add water to baking soda to make a paste.
  • Use paste to scrub surfaces.
  • Rinse well.


B. Disinfecting (killing germs)

Disinfectants are used to kills germs that can cause illness, but they must be used safely to avoid harming health and making asthma worse.  

If you need to kill germs on household surfaces: use a disinfectant such as hydrogen peroxide (3%) or diluted household bleach. 


Disinfecting with hydrogen peroxide

  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%) can be applied to surfaces.
  • If using a spray bottle, use the “stream” setting (avoid using the “mist” setting).
  • Allow surfaces to completely dry (or wipe down with a paper towel after letting it sit for 6 minutes).


Disinfecting with bleach

Bleach can kill germs but must be used in safe manner to prevent irritation and health problems.

Bleach Dilution Recipe

Small Batch  Large Batch

1 tsp household bleach 1/3 cup household bleach

1 cup cool water 1 gallon cool water



  • Apply the diluted bleach safely: Disinfect by carefully applying bleach solution to the surface until glistening wet. If using a spray bottle, use the “stream” setting (avoid using the “mist” setting).
  • Disinfecting time: Allow surfaces to completely dry (or wipe down with a paper towel after letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes).




In case of accidental ingestion or other bleach-related injury, contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222  


  1. Keep out of reach of children. Store in a closed bottle in a locked cabinet away from children.
  2. NEVER drink bleach or anything containing bleach. In case of accidental drinking of bleach, call Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 immediately.
  3. Do NOT use industrial strength bleach.
  4. NEVER mix bleach and ammonia or any other cleanser - this can create TOXIC fumes, which are dangerous and harmful to your health.
  5. BE SAFE: Open windows for fresh air. Wear gloves. Keep children out of the area. Using too much bleach can be harmful, especially for people with asthma.
  6. Dilute the bleach carefully: Use a funnel to carefully dilute the bleach with cool water. Make a fresh batch daily as it can lose strength over time.



C. References and Additional Resources


American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Housing Reference Manual:

Childrens Hospital COVID-19 and Coronavirus Information:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) Healthy Homes Factsheets:

Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention:

Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) Environmental Health Factsheets: