Here’s a reality check on cleaning and disinfecting your home: A new study from the National Institutes of Health says the coronavirus stays on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

When things get scary, the trick is to control what you can control. Like getting rid of germs in our house.

What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning Surfaces:

“With cleaning, you are just using regular soap and water and a detergent; if you are disinfecting, you are actually using a chemical agent such as bleach to help kill the germs,” said Connie Steed, President of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

But experts warn you have to clean before you can disinfect.

Sanitizing Surfaces:

“Sanitizing and disinfecting won’t be effective if the surface is dirty, so you really do need to clean first before you disinfect or sanitize,” said Caroline Forte, Director of Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab, Good Housekeeping.

Other Surfaces That Should Be Cleaned and Sanitized:

So, what do experts say are the hotspots? Doorknobs, countertops, light switches, remotes and bathrooms.

Another place you might not think of? Towels!

“Don’t share towels. Wash your hand towels and your dishcloths daily. Keep those clean and rotated. Put fresh ones out,” Forte said.

SuperPaint®: The Smart Way to Clean Wall Surfaces & Prime Your Paint:

With all this in mind the construction industry seems to be on the verge of becoming part of this new battle against infection. Paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams is introducing a microbe-killing paint that could soon decorate the walls of your kitchen, living room and bathroom in an effort to reduce contagious infections.

This new product will keep your walls sanitized 24/7 with the bacteria-fighting power of SuperPaint® with Sanitizing Technology*. This durable paint goes on fast and provides ongoing antibacterial action day and night to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria on painted surfaces. Available in 540 inspiring hues from the Living Well™ collection. SuperPaint® with Sanitizing Technology is a super simple choice for the well-being of your home.*EPA registered paint that kills 99.9% of Staph (Staphylococcus aureus), E. coli (Escherichia coli), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis) and Enterobacter aerogenes on painted surfaces within two hours of exposure, and continues to kill 90% of bacteria for up to four years when the integrity of the surface is maintained.

Gorilla Glass:

This isn’t the only advance in the battle against bacteria. Corning came out with an antimicrobial version of Gorilla glass earlier this year with the new product destined to take up residence on ATM machines, the sort of shared surface that can become quite the petri dish during flu season. And a couple of teens  invented a germ-killing door handle to reduce the ick factor of getting in and out of the bathroom.