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How to Clean and Disinfect Light Switches
Bacteria | Cleaning Tips | How-To

How to Clean and Disinfect Light Switches

October 12, 2020 | By Lauren Lethbridge
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We take the time to clean and disinfect our phones and our hands, but there are still so many different things we never think about cleaning—like light switches. The germs on your hands are spreading to whatever you touch and it’s important to sanitize and clean all the things we are touching often.

How often should you clean your light switches?

Bacteria or viruses can linger on hard surfaces for weeks. That’s why it’s important to clean your light switches as often as twice a week.

Light switch

How to clean and disinfect your light switches

There are some easy things to use to clean and disinfect your light switches. It doesn’t have to be a major chore and is a quick and effective way to stop the spread of germs.

Before using any of these methods, remember to clean off any visible gunk or dirt from the light switch. You can do so with a damp paper towel or cloth. This will make the disinfecting and deeper cleaning more effective. Also, remeber to switch off the electricity if you are doing a deep clean to help prevent electrocution or shocks.

  1. Microfiber cloth (It can be dry. Make sure to use a fresh surface of the cloth for each light switch.)
  2. Clorox wipes
  3. Lysol disinfecting spray
  4. Cloth that’s damp with Mr. Clean or 409

It’s also good to clean the wall plates. These are usually easy to remove (typically with a screwdriver), and then you can wash them in warm soapy water or deep clean them with any of the methods above.

For quick disinfection, reach for the SurfaceSopa UV sanitizing wand. A quick swipe over the surface of your light switch, and you'll kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses.*

How to clean yellowed light switches

If you have plastic light switches and plates, it’s possible that they've yellowed over time. But don’t worry. We’ve got the steps to get your light switches back to their original color and shine.

  1. Fill a bucket or large bowl with half water and half bleach. You should have enough liquid that your light switch plates are completely submerged.
    1. For light switches that cannot be submerged, soak paper towels or a cloth in this same solution and keep the cloth or paper towel pressed against the surface of the light switch until the plastic has whitened. Make sure the light switch stays moist.
    2. You can also use a spray bottle, but you'll want to avoid spraying things that are not the light switch or plate, as it may ruin other surfaces.
  2. Wash with dish soap and water and air dry.

Comet is another cleaner you can use. Sprinkle it on a sponge and scrub until the yellow is removed. Then wash it with dish soap and allow to air dry. 

Pro tip: Cover your light switch and plate with a clear acrylic varnish to avoid future yellowing.

How to clean brass light switches and plates

Newer homes typically will not have brass light switches or plates, but in case your home does, here's how to clean them.

  1. Remove plates, sprinkle with salt, and rub with a lemon to remove stains without damaging the brass.
  2. Wipe away the salt.
  3. Polish with a fresh cloth.

You can also try mixing baking soda and water into a paste and rubbing it gently onto the surface. Steps 2 and 3 would remain the same.

Don’t let the things you touch every day spread harmful germs throughout your house. Take the time to clean and disinfect. 

*SurfaceSoap UV was tested by BIOSCIENCE LABORATORIES, LLC against Salmonella enterica (ATCC # 10708), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC # 6538), and HCoV-OC43 (Zeptometrix #0810024CF). SurfaceSoap UV was tested by scanning glass slides containing these microbes and shown to kill up to 99.99% of the previously specified bacteria, and 99.9% of the specified virus strain. Tests were performed with the SurfaceSoap UV moving at 3 inches per second and held 1 inch from the exposed surface.

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