It is human nature to want to help others. We often find ourselves helping other people in different ways within our capacities. Donations form a big part of human efforts to help others. Donations is our way of sharing what we have with those lacking. Some of the items that we may be using less frequently may be essential to others. Sometimes the items we wish to dispose off after acquiring new ones can go a long way to making life comfortable for the less fortunate.

Bad outcomes can result from good deeds and good intentions. Sometimes, our good intentions may result in harming those we wish to help. An act of charity may sometimes hurt the recipients of the act. For example, you may donate some items that may turn out to be carrying some disease-causing germs or pests. Unintentionally, you may end up exposing the recipients of your donation to infections that can be deadly. Thus, although the act was in good faith, the outcomes are not as would be expected.

How often do you think about the safety of the donations of household items you make? Do you ever think how your donations would impact the recipients? What if you donated items help spread some infections to those that come into contact with them?  What if they have pests that would be a nuisance to the recipients? I am sure you would not wish to be the source of pain for the people you are trying to help.

Naturally, we rarely put much thought into the safety of our donations. Thus, we may end up putting the health of those handling the donations as well as those receiving them at risk due to the possibility of infections that may even be fatal. May be it is time we paid more attention to ensuring our donations are safe for use. Cleaning and sanitizing items before giving them out goes a long way towards ensuring safety.

Hygiene is important in the prevention of infections. Most people take their personal hygiene seriously and would do anything to avoid getting sick. We often make efforts to make our homes clean and sanitized to minimize the risk of infection from bacteria and viruses. However, we unintentionally forget precautions when handling items for donation. Depending on the virus or bacteria present on those items, our lack of caution can cause an outburst of illnesses. The need for sanitizing and making donations safe is therefore very important.

Different bacteria and viruses have different characteristics. They behave differently on different surfaces. Therefore, the methods we use to sanitize donation items would differ based on the item and the nature of their surfaces. For example, metallic surfaces would not require the same type of sanitizing as clothing. The qualities of the different surfaces call for different approaches as germs and pests would behave differently on each one of them.

Sanitizing donation items involves the use of chemicals to clean a surface or item. The objective of sanitizing is to kill germs that may be on the surface. For some items, cleaning alone can be enough to sanitize them. However, for some cases, you may need to disinfect.

Sanitizing clothing is perhaps one of the easier tasks in sanitizing donations. Fabrics are absorbent. Viruses do not last long on such surfaces. Therefore, normal washing of clothes would be sufficient to sanitize them. Proper washing also gets rid of any pests that may be on the clothes. Using hot water further makes the sanitization more efficient. Similarly, drapes can be washed to sanitize. However, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean them.

To sanitize carpets and rugs, you may need to vacuum them. However, you may also need to launder them if you are to sanitize them effectively. Vacuuming gets rid of all particles within the fabric, including pests.

Toys come in different shapes and sizes. They are made of different materials. Thus, the method for sanitizing would depend on the material of the toy. Toys with absorbent material such as teddy bears may need to be washed or vacuumed. Those made of plastic, wood or metal may need wiping and cleaning with detergents or disinfectants.

Furniture involves different kinds of items made of different surfaces. Some furniture is made entirely of wood, while other pieces of furniture include upholstery. Couches, sofas and any other furniture that has upholstery need to be vacuumed to remove dirt, crumbs, fur and even pests. As you vacuum, ensure you pay attention to all crevices. You need to wipe non-upholstery surfaces with appropriate material. For furniture with stains and spots, the use of stain removers would be effective. A mix of vinegar and soap can help in removing the spots. Where there is evidence of bugs, a bug spray may be required. However, this may not be necessary if the cleaning is thorough. Spraying a disinfectant would also help eliminate germs that may be on or in the upholstery of the furniture.

For other furniture that does not have upholstery such as tables, rubbing with a rug and disinfectant would be sufficient to sanitize them. However, there is need to allow the disinfectant stay on the surfaces for a few minutes before wiping. That ensures that it kills all the germs. Steam may also help in disinfecting furniture. Heat kills most germs as well as pests. Given that steam does not contain any chemicals, it may be a good option for people that may be allergic to some of the disinfecting chemicals.

Kitchenware is very sensitive when it comes to sanitizing. It is important to take caution when handling kitchenware donations. Since most of the items would handle food, they need to be properly sanitized and with the right chemicals to avoid health complications. You can use homemade disinfectants that may include vinegar or buy ready disinfectants.

Sanitizing donation items is as important as the donations. It helps keep the donations safe to be useful to the  recipients.