The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

How to Battle the “Triple Threat”: Pandemic Fatigue, Cold & Flu Season and Holiday Crowds

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  • American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and “The Germ Guy” Jason Tetro Offer Tips on Keeping Clean, Healthy and Safe
  • Washing with soap and water and regular cleaning, disinfecting and laundering routines should be “front and center,” says ACI

Common sense cleaning, disinfecting and laundering practices should be front and center as the nation faces a “Triple Threat” of pandemic fatigue, cold and flu season and holiday crowds, according to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI). This comes on the heels of warnings from public health officials that this winter has the potential to be one of the deadliest in more than a century.

Many are suffering from pandemic fatigue after months of quarantining, making people less concerned about social distancing, wearing masks and keeping up with proper cleaning and hygiene practices. In fact, a recent survey conducted on behalf of ACI by Ipsos in September 2020 showed a 14% decline in handwashing practices for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect against COVID-19, as well as colds and the flu.

“Good hygiene, including proper handwashing, is the most important factor in preventing spread of outbreak-related pathogens and curbing disease transmission throughout communities,” said Jason Tetro, The Germ Guy and author of two bestsellers, “The Germ Code” and “The Germ Files”. “Time and time again, the science community points consumers back to this simple but effective way to maintain good health. Now is the time to change your mindset and get in the habit of good handwashing.”

“Regular cleaning, disinfecting and laundering can help keep us healthy and safe every single day,” said Melissa Hockstad, ACI President and CEO. “While we’ve been dealing with the pandemic for many months, we cannot afford to let our guard down when it comes to common sense hygiene and cleaning routines.”

As families gear up to celebrate the holiday season, gatherings of any size provide an increased opportunity for COVID-19 spread. In addition to the holidays, the onset of cold and flu season paired with a steady rise in COVID-19 cases also has the potential to put the U.S. economy and healthcare system at its greatest risk since March.

ACI has created concise, easy-to-understand guidance backed by public health recommendations to help encourage proper cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene protocols including:

  • Healthy Returns: Created for business owners across the country, this resource provides tools to help businesses both safely reopen but also reinforce confidence among their teams and customers through effective cleaning best practices.
  • Healthy Schools, Healthy People: Created to help the entire school community (teachers, faculty, staff, parents and students), these materials work to help ensure a safe and healthy return to in-person learning.
  • Safe and Clean at Home: Launched across social media, ACI provides cleaning challenges, tips and ideas to help Americans clean smart while spending more time around the house.

ACI is reminding people to:

  • Stay Vigilant. Handwashing and disinfecting are some of the most effective and simple ways to help prevent against the spread of COVID-19.
  • Use Properly. Disinfecting can only work if done properly. According to the ACI survey, 48% of Americans are still using disinfectants incorrectly. Depending on the product used, the surface needs to air dry anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes in order to let the germ or virus kill take effect. Be sure to read your products label for the best instructions.
  • Know the cleaning and hygiene practices that will keep you safe. For more information about ways to prevent against the spread of COVID-19, visit

The survey findings are from an Ipsos poll conducted September 10-11, 2020 on behalf of the American Cleaning Institute. For the survey, a sample of 1,005 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, both waves of the poll have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors.  ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.

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