Sanitizing Tips to Stay Safe in Quarantine

April 22, 2020

From DIY sanitizing recipes to tips on using your household appliances to their full potential, here are some sanitizing tips that’ll help you stay safe while in quarantine.

Let’s face it- finding your favorite cleaning products in the era of coronavirus and self-quarantining is tougher than finding a 12-pack of toilet paper. The good news is though that, unlike toilet paper, you may already have the tools you need to kill off viruses right in your own home.

From DIY sanitizing recipes to tips on using your household appliances to their full potential, here are some sanitizing tips that’ll help you stay safe while in quarantine.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing: What’s the Difference?

First things first, it’s important to differentiate between cleaning and sanitization. In simple terms, cleaning is the act of removing dirt, while sanitizing takes things a step further and actually kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If you want to reduce your risk of getting sick, sanitizing is the best option.

To be effective, cleaning and sanitizing must be a four-step process that includes cleaning, rinsing, sanitizing, and allowing the surface to air dry.

If you can’t get your hands on Clorox wipes or a bottle of bleach, here is a DIY disinfectant solution that you can make with items you probably already have at home:

  • Vodka
  • Distilled vinegar or alcohol
  • Essential oils (optional)

Find the full recipe at Live Simply.

The Germiest Household Items

Most people incorrectly assume the bathroom is the dirtiest room in the house, but six of the ten grimiest household items are found in the kitchen. In one study, coliform bacteria – which indicates possible fecal contamination—was found on more than 75% of dish sponges, 45% of kitchen sinks, and 32% of countertops.

Here’s the full list of the grimiest household items, in order of contamination severity:

  • Dish sponges/rags
  • Kitchen sink
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Pet bowl
  • Coffee reservoir
  • Bathroom faucet handle
  • Pet toy
  • Countertop
  • Stove knobs
  • Cutting board

According to ServSafe, surfaces that come into contact with food should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized as often as possible, but at least every four hours if items are in constant use. With most household kitchens experiencing a sharp increase in use during self-quarantine, we recommend sanitizing your kitchen a few times a day, at minimum.

The Best Household Appliances for Sanitizing

Rags and cutting boards are one thing, but what about your clothing and dishes? When it comes to sanitizing the things you wear and eat off of, paying attention to your appliances is of utmost importance.

NSF International tests appliances for their ability to sanitize. To earn the NSF certification clothes washers must show a 99.99% reduction of microorganisms, and the water in dishwashers must reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit during the final rinse. Since both laundry and dishes can be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, consumers should look to see if their washing machines and dishwashers have NSF-P172 and NSF/ANSI 184 certification, respectively.

Here are some top-of-the-line appliances that can help keep your home clean and sanitary:

Steam Washers

Most steam washers utilize a combo of water and steam to do good things for your laundry. Since steam boosts the temperature inside the washer drum, detergent dissolves quickly. Plus, detergent tends to work better in higher temperatures, killing more bacteria. This Samsung washer releases steam from the bottom, saturating every item in the load.

Don’t forget the dryer! By purchasing a washer/dryer combo or standalone dryers with steam options, you can ensure your clothes are completely cleaned and sanitized by the time you’re done with laundry.


When it comes to dishwashers, energy efficiency is the first thing most people pay attention to, but in the day and age of COVID-19 and heightened precautions, it’s helpful to keep an eye out for the NSF certification mentioned above. In order for residential dishwashers to achieve NSF certification, here are the requirements:

  • Must achieve a minimum of 99.99% or 5-log reduction of bacteria.
  • Must reach a final rinse temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sanitization performance is verified only when the unit is operated on the sanitizing cycle.

Not only is this Frigidaire dishwasher NSF certified, but with a mid-range price point and a variety of convenient features, it’s one of the best choices currently available on the market. (Psst - it’s Energy Star Certified, too!) Looking for something with all the bells and whistles? This top-of-the-line Monogram dishwasher has over 90 powerful water jets and WiFi connectivity.

Air Purifier

Although the CDC believes the virus is primarily transmitted via person-to-person contact, there is growing evidence that it can also be transmitted through the air. If that’s confirmed to be the case, HEPA filters and air purifiers will certainly be able to capture airborne coronaviruses.

The LG line of PuriCare 360º Air Purifiers contains true HEPA filters that remove over 90% of airborne allergens. So, even if coronavirus isn’t confirmed to be able to travel through the air, you’ll still be able to avoid common household allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander.

Find What You Need at Howard’s

Fear and anxiety about germs and contamination are running high right now. While there’s no guarantee you won’t get sick, reducing harmful microorganisms in your home can reduce your chances. From NSF-certified dishwashers and washing machines to high-quality air purifiers with HEPA filters, Howard’s has you covered with everything you need to stay safe (and comfortable) while self-quarantining.


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