The One Thing In Your House You Shouldn't Be Disinfecting

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a mass effort to disinfect all surfaces to prevent the virus spread. Shortages of disinfectant sprays and wipes and a chaotic attempt to get disinfectants was the result, but experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have since said the vigorous disinfecting isn't as necessary as we all once thought.

In fact, there are certain household items you shouldn't be disinfecting in the first place. Many people were wiping down food packages returning from grocery stores or takeout containers at the height of COVID-19. But according to food and COVID-19 safety guidelines from the CDC, you should not use disinfecting products on food or food packaging.

This is due to a low risk of getting sick with COVID-19 from eating or handling food and food packages. Although it is possible for a person to get COVID-19 from touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, it is not thought to be a big virus-spreader (via the CDC). This means you don't have to wipe down every food package upon getting home from the grocery store, or from picking up a takeout box. The CDC says there are no COVID-19 cases identified where infection was caused by touching food, food packages or shopping bags.

Staying safe while grocery shopping

It is recommended to still wear a mask, wipe down your cart, and practice social distancing while shopping to protect yourself and those around you (via Best Life). The CDC also states you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use 60 percent hand sanitizer after shopping, handling or preparing food. 

As for food items themselves, do not wash produce with alcohol, bleach, disinfectant, sanitizer, soap or other chemicals that are harmful to ingest. While this may seem like common sense, the CDC reported 19% of people surveyed admitted to using bleach to wash produce or food items, according to Best Life. An additional 18% of people said they used household cleaner directly on their skin — also a big no-no.

If you have concerns about COVID-19 and food safety, it is best to consult the CDC website. You should also be sure to follow instructions on any disinfecting products or chemicals to prevent any harmful exposure cases.