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Cleaning supplies to help sanitize a home

How to Sanitize a Home Before and After a Real Estate Transaction

If you are putting your property on the market, you need to know how to sanitize a home. This article discusses the recommendations from major organizations like the CDC.

The coronavirus has changed numerous industries. The restaurant, manufacturing, hospitality, and medical sectors, among countless others, have been changed in ways that will certainly last for decades. In many cases, these changes will be permanent.

The real estate industry is no different. In fact, due to the in-person nature of real estate sales, you could make the argument that, outside of restaurants, hotels, and a few others, no industry has experienced more rapid-fire changes than real estate.

One of the major changes is an increased need to sanitize a home before and after a real estate showing. In the past, you certainly needed to clean a home to make it more attractive to buyers.

But now, you don’t just need to declutter a house to make it look great, you need to thoroughly sanitize a residence to ensure a safe environment. Safe, both for yourself, and for visitors.

While nothing can guarantee the virus will never come to your home (or be spread from your home), with these simple tips you can create a cleaner environment and reduce the chance of spreading the disease.

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home? How to Clean and Sanitize, Before, During, and After a Showing

Note: Use CDC, WHO Guidelines for Proper Cleaning

Try as we might, we are not experts in the medical field. To make sure you have the best potential results from your sanitizing efforts, always seek the advice of medical professionals and trusted organizations. This article is for general information and entertainment only and should not be considered healthcare or medical advice in any way.

Let the Fresh Air Help Sanitize a Home

Allowing fresh air in the home is believed to help someone who is dealing with a sickness. By allowing fresh air, bacteria and viruses are allowed to dissipate out open windows, leading to potentially healthier outcomes. The CDC recommends opening windows to help people dealing with the flu, and they also recommend open air for homes, workplaces, schools, and other settings.

Weather may not allow for open windows all the time, but whenever possible you should allow fresh air into the home.

Declutter First

You can’t properly clean and sanitize if the house is completely cluttered and disheveled. Take the time to properly pick up the house; put away clothing, move kid’s toys off the floor, place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and simply pickup your home so you can move to proper cleaning and disinfecting which, as it turns out, are two different things.

First Clean…

The CDC has a large webpage dedicated to properly cleaning a home. In this page, they actually separate the act of cleaning and the act of sanitizing. Cleaning, they say, is simple actions that result in a tidy, germ-reduced home, but may not kill the virus that causes COVID-19.

While wearing gloves (washable or disposable), you should clean all surfaces with soap and water, then use a disinfectant to clean the areas. Cleaning with soap will reduce the amount of germs, as well as dirt, dust, and other particles in the home. You should routinely clean high-touch surfaces, including doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, and keyboards.

…Then Disinfect

Once you have cleaned the area thoroughly, you can move to proper sanitization, which are practices that aggressively reduce and eliminate germs throughout the home. Once again, we’ll turn to the CDC for advice.

The CDC says that EPA-registered household disinfectants should be used to disinfect an area. While the specific use of a product will vary depending on the product itself, most products will recommend keeping the surface wet for a certain period (we’re guessing the additional time allows for more virus killing, but this is only a guess), as well as precautions such as gloves and safety goggles, especially if the product is particularly strong.

Use Bleach Safely

Bleach is a product that can be used effectively to disinfect a home and create a cleaner, healthier environment. However, this product needs to be used carefully, as it can be severely harsh by itself and extremely dangerous when combined with the wrong chemicals. In general, a diluted household bleach solution may be used on the appropriate surfaces, but you need to be careful, as bleach can stain (or “bleach”!) an area. Different bleach products can be used for various purposes, so always check the label to to make sure your bleach is intended for disinfection.

For most products, about 5 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water is plenty. (Like we said, it’s a strong chemical!)

Disinfect the Soft Surfaces

The soft surfaces in your home can also act as a place for the virus to hide. Clean the surfaces using soap and water if at all possible, and run anything that you can through the laundry. This can include pillow covers, drapes, and other materials.

If at all possible, use high heat settings during the wash and dry cycles.

Disinfect Touch Areas Before, After Visitors Come

Door open part way into bedroom
When you sanitize a home before or after a real estate showing, remember to disinfect high-touch surfaces.

While there are techniques that can be used to for reducing the amount of surface touching (leaving doors and closets open and lights on, for example), you should also disinfect all high-touch areas, which are the locations where it’s most likely for the coronavirus to spread. Whatever disinfecting solution you choose, take a cloth and wipe down doorknobs, sink handles, light switches, and other areas.

This will create a cleaner environment and allow people to test switches and handles without the worry.

Maintain Your Health

One of the most important aspects of keeping a home free of viruses is simply keeping yourself healthy. Use sanitizer, wear masks, and take all the additional steps that experts recommend. By keeping yourself protected (which is great by itself), you also reduce the chance of spreading the virus through your personal home.

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