Oakland County, Michigan/Health/Information/Cleaning and Disinfecting Hard Surfaces

Cleaning and Disinfecting Hard Surfaces

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What should be used to clean and disinfect hard surfaces?

When a surface is visibly dirty, wash with a general household cleaner (soap or detergent). Rinse with water and follow with a disinfectant. When a surface is not visibly dirty, clean with a commercial product that is both a detergent (cleans) and a disinfectant (kills germs). Wear disposable gloves. Make sure the disinfectant product you choose is registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and includes an EPA registration number on it. For a list of EPA-registered disinfectants visit: www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/selected-epa-registered-disinfectants.


  • Minimum disinfectant concentrations are needed for different bacteria/viruses and surfaces. In general, a bleach concentration of 200 parts per million (1 tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water) is effective against many bacteria and viruses. Bleach solution of 1,000 – 5,000 parts per million (1/3 cup to 1 2/3 cups of bleach in 1 gallon of water) may be needed to be effective against Norovirus.  For more detailed information visit the EPA disinfectant web page at: www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/selected-epa-registered-disinfectants.
  • When using chlorine bleach to disinfect surfaces, use an unopened bottle. Chlorine bleach loses its effectiveness 30 days after opening. A fresh bleach/water solution should be made daily. Spray or use a cloth to apply to surfaces and let stand for 10 minutes if possible. Rinse with clear water. 
  • Always follow label instructions carefully when using cleaners and disinfectants.  Pay attention to hazard warnings and label instructions for using personal protective items such as household gloves.
  • DO NOT MIX DISINFECTANTS AND CLEANERS                                                                                                                                                                                                   

What surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected?

Hard surfaces that are touched often or by more than one person need to be cleaned and disinfected as explained above.  Examples of hard surfaces include:

  • Countertops                                                                         
  • Toys                                                                                           
  • Bathroom surfaces
  • Tabletops
  • Desktops
  • Drinking Fountains
  • Doorknobs/door handles
  • Chairs                         

Use sanitizer cloths on electronic items that are touched often. These items include computers, keyboards, computer mice, telephones, remote controls, light switches, door knobs and hand-held video games. Also use sanitizer cloths on car door handles, steering wheels, and gear shifts in vehicles. 

For additional information about cleanliness and to avoid spreading illness, visit the Oakland County Health Division - Hand Washing web page.

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