Healthcare experts reveal the common mistake households make when cleaning surfaces

Keep your home safe from germs this Christmas

A third of households are cleaning surfaces in their home the wrong way, and actually making homes dirtier according to research by GAMA Healthcare.

Related: This clever hand sanitiser hack will make cleaning up pine needles a breeze

It might make sense to focus on the dirtiest areas first. However, this method used by a third of households in the UK actually just spreads more dirt and germs across kitchen worktops and tables.

When it comes to how to clean surfaces you should always wipe from the clean area to the dirty area. However, according to GAMA Healthcare (opens in new tab), Britain’s leading supplier of disinfectant wipes and infection control training to the NHS, only four in ten households are cleaning their homes this way.

kitchen area with wooden counter with books and stove and chimney

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

But this isn't the only mistake we're making when cleaning our homes. Only 60 per cent of households are using a methodical approach to wiping down a surface, which can make all the difference to the spread of germs at home.

'Cleaning surfaces haphazardly, staring in the middle or bottom, and wiping up or down acts to spread germs,' explains Dr Braverman and Dr Hanouka, former NHS doctors and infection control experts. 'Working from the top to bottom is the most effective way to wipe, but currently, only 60 per cent of people are using that method.'

cleaning liquid with white cleaning cloth and brush

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

To effectively wiping down and disinfect any surfaces we should we wiping in an S-shape, not side to side. According to Dr Braverman and Dr Hanouka this is key to making sure you're not re-contaminating the areas you've already cleaned.

After cleaning and disinfecting a surface it is important to wait for surfaces to dry before putting everything back. This is especially important when using a disinfecting product like Zoflora that you leave the surface to dry for the recommended contact time. For example, if it says it kills germs in '30 seconds,' you need to wait 30 seconds for it to do its job.

Related: Everything you need to know about how to use Zoflora to kill the COVID-19 virus

This Christmas we not just cleaning to impress the in-laws, but keep our homes safe. Make sure you're not making any easy cleaning mistakes.

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.