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Originally Published by Reader’s Digest

There are a lot of things to know about household disinfectant sprays—such as, what’s the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting? It’s easy to think that spraying a surface means you’re instantly killing germs. However, there are more factors that go into disinfecting than simply spraying a surface. Read on to learn the mistakes you might be making—and how to correct them.

Not thoroughly reading the labels on disinfectant sprays

You might want to start immediately cleaning and disinfecting your home, but sometimes it’s important to start slow. “The biggest mistake is not reading and following the directions on the label,” Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President, Communications, Outreach & Membership, American Cleaning Institute tells Reader’s Digest. “With disinfecting products in high demand, you may bring home a product you’re not as familiar with. Don’t assume it works the same way. Read the directions carefully and follow them in order to have the desired effect. This may seem like basic advice, but according to a recent American Cleaning Institute survey, 42 percent of Americans aren’t using disinfectants properly.”

Not letting the sprays sit long enough

If you think spraying a surface and then immediately wiping it is the solution, you might be in for a surprise. “The most common mistake in using a disinfectant spray is not letting it sit long enough!” Jacqueline Janus, cleaning expert and owner of cleaning company Two Chicks and a Broom, tells Reader’s Digest. “Disinfecting isn’t instant, so if you spray and wipe, you may be getting a surface clean, but you’re really not doing much in the way of disinfecting. Every product is different, so check the label of whatever disinfectant you’re using for the recommended time the product should sit on a surface in order to be most effective. It can be up to 10-15 minutes for some products!” If you’re ready to improve your cleaning at home, learn the 13 secrets of people who always have a clean home.

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infection prevention