You should disinfect your bank cards once a week to kill germs - here’s how to do it effectively

Virus germs can survive up to 72 hours on plastic or stainless steel (Photo: Shutterstock)

Regularly washing your hands and keeping surfaces clean has never been more important, as the UK battles with the ongoing health pandemic.

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As the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus is such a new illness, experts are still not certain how it is passed on, but similar viruses are spread in droplets produced from coughs or sneezes.

The NHS is urging people to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water to help prevent the spread, but germs could be lurking on commonly touched items - including your bank card.

Disinfecting surfaces

Shoppers should be disinfecting their bank card at least once a week to help stop the spread of coronavirus, a GP has warned.

Dr Chike Emeagi, medical director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic, has said that germs from the virus could survive on the surface of card readers long enough to be transferred to your bank card when you make a payment.

While the risk of such a spread is low, Dr Emeagi warned that germs can linger on a number of everyday items, highlighting the importance of thorough cleaning.

Research has already suggested that the virus can remain in the air for up to three hours, while it can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard, and 72 hours on plastic or stainless steel.

Dr Emeagi told the Mail Online, “I can certainly envisage a scenario where your card could be contaminated with microbes from those whom have used the exact same card reader previously.

“Germs can hide in nooks and crannies in objects including watches, rings, credit cards, coins and bank notes - things we ordinarily would not worry about. It is important to note that the possibility of catching coronavirus through your card is low, but theoretical.

“The issue is that from an infection point of view, handling a credit card is similar to touching any other surface - doorknobs, stair rails, etc. Any surface has potential to harbour germs bacteria and viruses.”

How to kill germs in your home

Dr Emeagi recommended that people clean their bank card at least once a week, particularly if it is used regularly, with a disinfectant wipe to prevent the spread of germs.

He also advised using warm soapy water, or chloride-base cleaners, on items in your home in an effort to minimise the spread and kill any germs that may be lurking.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement, “With proper hand cleaning, the risk of being infected with the new coronavirus by touching objects, including coins, bank notes, or indeed credit cards, is very low.”

If you are concerned about germs harbouring on surfaces in your home, there are a number of household items you can use to keep things clean.

If you don’t have any antibacterial cleaners in your home, these are some alternatives you can try that will have the same effect.

Distilled white vinegar

This item can be used as a nontoxic disinfecting agent, if you don’t have another disinfectant product to hand.

Mix around 100ml of white distilled vinegar with two litres of warm water, and spread it liberally over surfaces.

Liquid dish soap

Liquid works well as a floor cleaner, and to clean worktops and hard surfaces.

Dish soap is also one of the best stain removers for oil-based stains on fabrics, and when diluted it can be used on dirty glass.

Hot water and soap kills coronavirus, but be sure to scrub thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

Baking soda

Baking soda acts as a cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali and can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily.

It is also effective for absorbing strong food odours, and as it’s non-toxic, can be used to clean stains off of fridges, ovens, and microwaves.

Vodka or rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a germicide, so it is particularly good for hygiene purposes, and can be used to refresh sponges, clean jewellery, and deodorise shoes.

Lemon

The acidity and grease-cutting oil from a lemon combine to create a great cleaning product, with cut lemons being perfect for removing stains and smells, and polishing copper and knives that have developed rust.