How To Clean and Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces: Tips & Recommendations

Disinfectant spray for high touch areas.

Understanding the right techniques and products for cleaning highly touched surfaces is essential for maintaining a healthy environment.

What Are High-Touch Surfaces?

High-touch surfaces are the ones that multiple people put their hands on throughout the day. In professional settings, especially in healthcare and food service industries, high-touch surfaces also include equipment handles, countertops, and payment terminals. The frequent handling of these surfaces makes them hotspots for the accumulation of pathogens and grime, so rigorous cleaning is necessary. Regular disinfection of these areas is more than a simple cleaning task; it's a great way to limit the spread of germs.

Most Common High-Touch Surfaces to Disinfect Daily

It's important to know which surfaces need daily disinfection. This practice is often called touch point cleaning. This approach focuses on keeping areas sanitized that are touched a lot throughout the day.


Person disinfecting steering wheel in a car.

As drivers, we’re constantly touching the steering wheel, gear shift knob, radio controls, and turn signals. Regular disinfection of these surfaces helps mitigate the risk of spreading germs and viruses, creating a safer driving environment for drivers and passengers alike.


Person disinfecting touchscreen device.

Touchscreens are everywhere. Whether on tablets, ATMs, or self-service kiosks, these screens are touched constantly. Smartphones in particular are like an extension of our hands. Studies have shown that cell phones can be dirtier than toilet seats! Cleaning touchscreens with a soft cloth dampened with a disinfectant solution should be a part of your daily routine.


Disinfecting wipe on a computer mouse.

Whether it’s a personal laptop, work computer, or a computer in a public space, a keyboard and mouse are germ hotspots. Wiping down your keyboard and mouse with a disinfectant wipe every day can make a big difference in keeping germs at bay.


Person using disinfecting spray on toilet.

These are perhaps the most obvious when we think about cleaning. Every part of a toilet, from the seat to the flush handle, is a high-touch area. Germs, including bacteria and viruses, can easily spread from the toilet to our hands and then to other surfaces. It's essential to use a good disinfectant cleaner daily, making sure to cover all the parts people touch.


Person using sanitizing wipe on a doorknob.

Everyone touches doorknobs, whether at home, work, or public places. This makes them a key player in spreading germs. A quick daily wipe with a disinfectant can significantly reduce the risk of transferring germs from person to person.

Stair Railings:

Cleaner disinfecting a stair railing.

Grabbing a stair railing for safety as you climb or descend stairs is second nature. Given all the hands that touch stair railings throughout the day, they can harbor germs and bacteria. Regular disinfection of these surfaces can prevent the spread of illness and help maintain a hygienic environment in shared spaces.

Wallets and Purses:

Person using sanitization wipe on wallet.

We take our wallets, clutches, and handbags with us just about everywhere, but how often do we really disinfect these items? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably rarely. The reality is that wallets and purses can pick up germs from various surfaces they come into contact with – which is why it’s so important to clean them regularly.

Remote Controls:

Cleaner disinfecting a TV remote.

Whether for the television, air conditioner, or other electronic devices, remote controls are handled frequently and can harbor bacteria. Given the frequency with which remotes tend to be touched, it’s a good idea to add wiping them to your daily chore list.

Light Switches:

Person disinfecting light switch.

Just like doorknobs, light switches are often overlooked but are touched multiple times a day. They can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Include them in your daily cleaning routine to keep these common touch points sanitized.

Remember, when doing touch point cleaning, using the right products is important. Choose a disinfectant that’s effective against a wide range of germs. Also, pay attention to the instructions on the cleaning products. Some disinfectants need to stay on the surface for a certain amount of time to be effective.

High-Touch Surfaces Disinfection FAQ

Why Is it Important to Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces Regularly?

High-touch surfaces are more likely to harbor germs, including bacteria and viruses, due to frequent contact. Regular disinfection helps reduce the risk of spreading illnesses.

How Often Should High-Touch Surfaces Be Disinfected?

It's best to disinfect high-touch surfaces at least once a day. In areas with high traffic or during flu season, more frequent disinfection may be necessary.

What Kind of Disinfectant Should I Use for High-Touch Cleaning?

Use a disinfectant that is EPA-approved and effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.

Can I Use Homemade Disinfectants for High-Touch Cleaning?

While commercial disinfectants are recommended, a solution of bleach and water or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol can also be effective. Ensure they are suitable for the surface to avoid damage.

How Long Should the Disinfectant Stay on a High-Touch Surface?

This depends on the disinfectant used. Check the product label for the recommended contact time, which is how long the surface should remain wet with the disinfectant to be effective.

Is Disinfecting High-Touch Surfaces Enough to Prevent the Spread of Germs?

Disinfecting these high-touched surfaces is important, but it should be part of a broader hygiene strategy that includes regular hand washing and minimizing face touching.

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