Cleaning and COVID-19: Survey Shows 42% Not Disinfecting Properly

A new poll conducted for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) finds that four in ten Americans are not properly allowing disinfectant sprays and wipes to kill the viruses and germs that can make us sick.

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It is important to read product label instructions to ensure disinfectants properly kill germs and viruses, according to the American Cleaning Institute. (Photo: Business Wire)

It is important to read product label instructions to ensure disinfectants properly kill germs and viruses, according to the American Cleaning Institute. (Photo: Business Wire)

The survey, conducted by Ipsos for ACI (cleaninginstitute.org), asked respondents to indicate how they are primarily using disinfectants on surfaces in their homes, in an effort to understand and help educate consumers to use products as directed in the midst of COVID-19.

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed say they spray and then wipe the surface immediately after, while another 16 percent make a quick pass with a disinfectant wipe. The poll shows that other consumers are getting it right: 26 percent keep the surface wet with disinfectant wipes for as long as recommended on the label, while another 16 percent spray and leave until air dried.

Here are ACI’s key tips to proper disinfection:

  • Pre-clean any surfaces prior to disinfecting to remove any excess dirt or grime.
  • Use the disinfecting spray or wipe as directed.
  • After disinfecting, let the surface air dry making sure it stays wet for as long as recommended on the product label. This is critical in ensuring that the proper germ or virus kill takes place as intended.
  • If disinfecting food contact surfaces or toys, rinse with water after they air dry.
  • If using a disinfectant wipe, throw out after using. Do not flush any non-flushable products.

“Prudent and proper use of disinfectants will continue to provide crucial health and wellness benefits in multiple surroundings, including homes, healthcare settings and essential workplaces around the country,” said Melissa Hockstad, ACI President & CEO. “Reading the label is so important to achieving maximum effectiveness for any cleaning product or disinfectant.”

The survey did indicate that 82 percent of respondents were either very or somewhat confident that the cleaning products they use will protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

“The manufacturers of cleaning products, disinfectants, soaps and sanitizers and their ingredients are working around the clock to meet the unprecedented demand for these vital products,” said Hockstad.

“These companies are rising to the challenge and doing everything possible to get these essential products into the hands of those who need them the most, even with the immense challenges affecting our supply chains. We are working hard so that consumers have access to these trusted products and want to ensure they are being used correctly to fight the spread of COVID-19 in homes and communities.”

The American Cleaning Institute provides updated information on cleaning for the coronavirus on its website, at cleaninginstitute.org/coronavirus.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 18-19, 2020. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, both waves of the poll have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – www.cleaninginstitute.org) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors. ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.