By Jessica Petrino, Educator & Appliance Expert at AJ Madison
Spring cleaning is taking on a whole new meaning in 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads worldwide businesses and communities are urging residents to stay home, avoid close contact with others, and take necessary precautions to avoid spreading germs. Staying healthy does not require a degree in microbiology; it just takes a bit of common sense and knowing where to disinfect.
In addition to the obvious places like floors, toilets, showers, sinks and countertops, focus on surfaces that are germ hotspots. We use home appliances every day. It is important to sanitize high-touch spots like appliance handles, cabinet pulls, control buttons, touch electronic control panels, faucet handles, sink drains, and light switches. Before cleaning your appliances, make sure to reference the use and care guide for the best cleaning practices. This is especially true when using cleaning products on control buttons and electronic control panels.
In addition to home cleaning practices, there are many appliances that can help you sanitize and purify your home. Home appliances are here to make cleaning easier. Before the COVID19 pandemic, most appliance experts talked about sanitizing appliances as a necessity for allergy sufferers. However, it is evident that sanitizing appliances benefit all consumers. According to the World Health Organization, the COVID19 virus is extremely contagious and can live on surfaces for up to several days. This means it is critical for all consumers to take extra precautions to sanitize dishware and clothing.
Sanitizing appliances have a sanitize cycle. The best sanitation cycles meet the standards set by the National Sanitation Foundation for NSF Certification. NSF Certified appliances (clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers) undergo rigorous testing to ensure that the appliances eliminate potentially harmful allergens, microorganisms, and bacteria. For washers, the wash water must reach 131º F and for dishwashers the rinse temperature must reach 150º F.
Fortunately, you can find sanitizing appliances in any price range. Well-known brands like GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, Bosch, Samsung, Electrolux, and LG have NSF Certified appliances. Since all NSF Certified appliances are held to the same high standards, there are many styles and brands to choose from.
Sanitizing Washer/Dryer Tips:
- If your washing machine is high-efficiency, make sure to use high-efficiency (HE) detergent for best results.
- If your washing machine has a sanitize or allergen cycle, consider using it on heavily soiled items. This hot cycle is typically about 170 degrees F and is designed to eliminate harmful germs and allergens. Hot water is better for killing bacteria. If you don’t want to run a hot water cycle, warm soapy water should also do the trick.
- If your washing machine has a self-cleaning cycle, run it at least once per month. A self-cleaning washer cycle is a high temp cycle around 150 degrees F. Self-cleaning will reduce the bacteria and residue living in your machine.
- You can also purchase cleaning tablets designed to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria and mildew from your washer.
Sanitizing Dishwasher Tips:
- Your dishwasher is responsible for keeping your plates, glasses, pots, and pans clean and bacteria-free. It is critical to take care of your dishwasher since the items that go into it will also touch your food and your mouth.
- Like with your washing machine, it is important to occasionally clean your dishwasher. If your dishwasher has a filter at the bottom, make sure to check it for any food particles. You should also check the spray arms to make sure they do not have any debris, as this can affect the cleaning performance of your dishwasher.
- Some models have a dishwasher cleaning cycle. If yours does not, occasionally run a hot water or sanitize cycle to eliminate any odor or bacteria to clean the interior.
In addition to sanitizing washers, dryers, and dishwashers, there are many new appliances that have tremendous health benefits. Air purifiers, HEPA vacuum cleaners, steam convection ovens, and the new LG styler are all designed to eliminate bacteria and sanitize hard-to-clean items.
Luckily, they are available in a wide variety of prices. If you do not have a sanitize cycle, hot water cycles are better for eliminating germs and bacteria. Make sure to clean your appliances regularly and pay close attention to sanitizing door handles, knobs, and buttons.
Pictured at top: WM9000HVA TWIN Wash Pair