Cleaning vs Disinfecting

Our shop might be in the middle of the mountains of BC, but we’re still affected by the world-wide conversation about CoVid19. Being a tourist destination, we’re not as isolated as one might think, so good hygiene habits are critical. We’re disinfecting common touch points in the store more thoroughly these days; nothing like a little virus to highlight the habits we should pay more attention to!

The most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.


We joke, but seriously. Shouldn’t regular cleaning be part of our days anyway? This is why we have this time of “Spring Cleaning”; it’s the end of the flu season, germs are abundant around us, and a clean house can feel SOOO good after being cooped up with the dust bunnies – especially when your trip to the beach has been cancelled (sorry, Yvette and Kathy!)

I know my house will be busy with the start of the Deep Clean of Spring. We clean the house on a semi-regular basis, but I’ll admit we could do more. If nothing else, this coronavirus is wake up call to all of us who think we’re “too busy”! Self care (including cleaning our homes) is not negotiable.

When is it time to disinfect?

I grabbed this great explanation from a Shape article:

For starters, there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting, says Natasha Bhuyan, M.D., regional medical director at One Medical. “Cleaning is the removal of germs or dirt from the surface,” says Dr. Bhuyan. “This doesn’t kill pathogens, it often just wipes them away—but it still lowers the spread of infection.”

Disinfection, on the other hand, is the act of using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces, says Dr. Bhuyan. Here’s a look at what qualifies for each:

Cleaning: Vacuuming carpets, mopping floors, wiping countertops, dusting, etc.

Disinfecting: “Use CDC-approved disinfectants to target surfaces that have an increased amount of contact such as doorknobs, handles, light switches, remotes, toilets, desks, chairs, sinks, and countertops,” says Dr. Bhuyan.

In the past, we’ve held a Green Cleaning Workshop here in the store, sharing home recipes and great safe cleaners for your home. We didn’t focus too much on disinfecting, and it’s important to clarify that not all cleaners will kill viruses, including one of our favourites, Barkeepers Friend. While it is great at cleaning build up from grease or hard water, it is not a disinfectant. If you have someone in your family who’s sick with a virus (even the common cold), it’s important to pull out the big guns.

Reducing Waste during a Pandemic

We’re big on reducing our waste, but I have to be honest with you, single-use items are so common in our world due to the health department. We should be washing our towels every three uses (every time if you’re sick), changing our sheets at least once a week, changing dish cloths every day. This cleaning process has it’s own environmental impact, but if we want to stay healthy, it can be a necessary reality.

If you’re looking to disinfect during a viral sickness in the house, a single use paper towel is likely the best choice. If no one is sick and cleaning is enough, Jude’s Miracle Cloth or a Swedish Dishcloth can still be your paper towel replacement.

When it comes to cutlery, straws, dishes and glassware, sanitation is key, and the Health Department watches food businesses closely. Giving your reusable coffee cup a quick rinse before the next fill up is not enough; that’s why many coffee shops are not accepting refillable cups during the Coronavirus outbreak. With compostable cups under fire recently – they typically end up in the landfill and most won’t break down in backyard composters – it’s challenging to stay green this spring. Don’t judge your coffee shops if they insist on giving you a disposable cup; they’re doing their best. To reduce waste, make your coffee and home for traveling, or stop to spend time in your local coffee shop to support small business and use their in house cups.

The Pezza Sale

Ironically, we’d already planned the Pezza Sale for this spring; radio ads were voiced long before Italy had to shut down travel. We’re splitting our regular cleaning event into 2 this spring; cleaning now, bathroom products in April.

Take a good look at your cleaning tools; old rags and brushes tend to hold bacteria and should be disposed of. You should have enough dish cloths to change them every day between laundry runs, and the right tools and scrapers will get into all the corners.

For the next 2 weeks, you’ll save 10% on all of our cleaning supplies, and purchases over $50 will get to spin our prize wheel full of of our great linens and cleaners!

So get your whole family into the cleaning frenzy, grab the Pezza (Italian for cleaning rag), and let’s get our homes cleaned up for spring!

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