How To Prep Your Home As We Head Into The Season Of Sickness
While the flu shot and vigilant handwashing are your frontline defense in smiting seasonal sickness, maintaining healthy home hygiene is just as important in the fight against the flu, cold and other viruses. Fortunately flu-proofing your home doesn’t take much more than consistency on your part and a well-armed antiviral cleaning arsenal! Here are some combative cleaning techniques and tips to prep your home as we head into the season of sickness.
Choose Your Weapons Wisely
Combat cleaning starts with selecting the right products. You’ll need a detergent that’s strong enough to stop viruses from spreading, so be sure to check your labels to be sure. Any cleaning product that claims it can eliminate the flu virus has to first be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and carry a registration number somewhere on the bottle, according to the American Cleaning Institute. These products boast enough cleaning power to effectively kill over 99 percent of the flu virus found on household objects and surfaces. Although ordinarily many of us might look to avoid harsh chemicals and cleaning agents, during flu season that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Seek out detergents containing chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, antiseptics and alcohols for maximum virus-vanquishing power.
Sweep The Surfaces
You’ll want to be sure to thoroughly disinfect the top touch points of the home frequently as flu viruses can live for two to eight hours on hard surfaces (some experts actually say longer). And remember, germs don’t relegate themselves to the usual icky areas like the bathroom. In fact, some health experts report that a home desk can contain up to 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat! Sanitizing antiviral wipes make it easy to disinfect these areas. You can also make your own simple disinfectant by spritzing germy surfaces with white vinegar and wiping with paper towels. Kitchen and bathroom surfaces should be wiped down daily. Your cutting boards and sponges can also be run through a sanitizing cycle on the dishwasher to decontaminate.For a quick clean, one minute in the microwave will also debug a kitchen sponge, however you should replace kitchen towels and dishcloths with clean ones daily.
*Dishrags , towels and hand towels should be washed in very hot water, separate from other laundry.
Other Hot Spots You’ll Want To Get A Handle On
- Light switches
- Fridge handle
- Cell phones/house phones (Make it a routine to wipe off the phone every time you answer or end a call.)
- Dishes that can be run through the dishwasher should be to completely disinfect and sanitize.
- Tables, desks and other “touchable” surfaces
Computers, Keyboards And Screens
Computer keyboards, mice, tablets and smartphones can store more than data during cold and flu season. It’s important to power down and unplug your devices and never spray cleaners directly onto electronic items or allow any liquid into openings. Experts also advise staying away from alcohol-based cleaners, abrasive cloths and paper towels on touch screens and computer monitors. Instead opt for a microfiber for your phone and tablet screens. Microfiber is antibacterial and only requires a light dampening to get the job done. Keyboards should be disinfected daily during flu season, especially if used by more than one person. Simply swipe with a disinfecting wipe while you’re wiping down your desk.
Drop Shoes And Germs At The Door
Set up a shoe drop/wiping station in your entranceway to keep flu viruses and bugs at bay. You want to avoid the dirt and debris shoes carry in as it is, but viruses and bacteria can also get trapped in the mud and muck on the bottoms of your feet. Having a doormat outside or upon entry can also mitigate the mess but it’s best practice to let shoes lie. You can take your Tieks and topsiders to the next level by scrubbing the soles of your shoes regularly with hot, soapy water.
Clean Your Kit
Wash cleaning tools in hot, soapy water after use. You can add a drop or two of bleach will add sanitizing power. It might behoove you to swap out your regular cleaning cloths for disposables for the flu season. (For more on cleaning your cleaning kit check out our blog all about cleaning the cleaners.)
Show Your Linens Some Extra Love
Wash sheets, blankets, towels and rugs with hot water frequently to disinfect. Being vigilant about your laundry is a must during cold and flu season. And again, bleach may be your best buddy this time of year so feel free to be a little more liberal with it whenever laundering instructions allow.
Tissues and Toothbrushes
Did you know a sneeze can travel up to six feet? Put a stopper on that sneeze and trap germs in a facial tissue. Make sure you immediately toss them in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue close by, the crook of your elbow will do if necessary. But it’s always a good idea to be proactive by stocking up on tissues so you always have box on hand. And finally – should you find yourself fighting the flu, cold or another virus -be sure to trade in your toothbrush for a flu-free model after you’ve fully recuperated.