Keeping a clean home is always important—but when cold and flu season rolls around, it’s perhaps more vital than ever to the surfaces of your home disinfected. By doing so, you can reduce your chances of spreading germs, including the flu virus. And if you’ve ever had the flu (or even just a nasty cold), then you know just how miserable it can be. You want to avoid it at all costs.
Of course, there is no way to guarantee you won’t catch a virus. Even getting a flu vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from catching the flu in 100% of cases. The good news is that by taking some special precautions and being diligent about keeping a clean home, you can drastically reduce your likelihood of falling ill this cold and flu season.
But…where should you begin? More than likely, you already have a basic home-cleaning routine in place. What changes do you need to make to protect yourself against the cold and flu? We’ve got a few tips to help you clean and disinfect your home with greater confidence.
Start With the Right Supplies
Having the right supplies to fully disinfect and sanitize the surfaces throughout your home is a must. There’s a good chance you already have everything you need to rid your home of germs and bacteria, but there are a few more things you should know.
Cleaners vs. Disinfectants
For starters, understand the difference between household cleaners and disinfectants. Many household cleaning sprays and wipes will kill off germs when used properly—but for the best results, you want to be using a true disinfectant. A disinfecting spray or wipe will be the most effective at killing bacteria that carry major viruses (think Coronavirus / COVID-19) and illnesses. Check the labeling on your cleaning products to make sure your sprays, wipes, and other cleaners are truly disinfectants.
Sponges vs. Paper Towels
Many people use sponges, microfiber cloths, and other reusable materials when they clean their homes. This is perfectly fine for most household cleaning projects—but it’s important to understand that these products should still be cleaned and/or swapped out from time to time because otherwise, they will begin to harbor bacteria themselves.
If you’re doing a deep-clean of your home during cold and flu season, you may want to consider using disposable products, like paper towels. This is obviously a personal decision, but with disposable products, you won’t have the possibility of contaminating your sponges or cleaning towels with bacteria.
Using Disinfectants in the Home
When using a disinfectant to kill bacteria on the surfaces of your home, always follow the directions on the label to ensure effectiveness. Otherwise, you may not be giving the product a chance to really do its job.
One of the most common mistakes people make when disinfecting their homes is not understanding that a household cleaner should typically be used on a surface before it is disinfected. From there, you also need to make sure that your disinfectant is being left on the surface for the recommended amount of time. After disinfecting, you may also need to wipe the area with a wet cloth to get rid of any chemical residue; this is especially important when you’re disinfecting surfaces that you serve food from, such as tables and high-chair trays.
Focus on Hot Spots For Germs
In a perfect world, you’d have time to individually disinfect every surface in your home. If you’re like most people, though, the time you have to dedicate to cleaning is probably quite limited. If this is the case, then you’ll at least want to focus on disinfecting the most common “hot spots” for germs throughout the home. This includes…
- remote controls
- computer keyboards and touchpads
- sheets, towels, blankets, and pillowcases
- all bathroom surfaces (floors, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc.)
And while you’re at it, don’t forget about your phone. Believe it or not, most phone screens are about 10 times dirtier than your average toilet seat. And because you come into contact with your phone so frequently, it’s important to clean it regularly.
Clean Your Cleaning Supplies (Seriously!)
If you are using any reusable cleaning supplies, such as mops, microfiber towels, or sponges—it is imperative that you disinfect those when you’re done with them as well. With microfiber towels, you can typically throw them in the laundry with the rest of your clothes. However, sponges and mops may need to be soaked in hot, soapy water for several minutes. Taking the time to clean these supplies is a must if you want to avoid spreading bacteria the next time you use them.
If Someone is Already Sick…
What if somebody in your household does fall ill with the flu or another contagious virus such as COVID-19 or Coronavirus? First of all, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to keep your home clean and reduce the risk of transmission.
Keep Them Quarantined
As much as possible, keep the sick person confined to one area of the home. Keeping them in a bedroom with access to an adjacent bathroom is ideal, as this will limit the spread of bacteria.
Switch to Disposables
When people are sick in your home, you can further reduce the spread of germs by making a temporary switch to disposable cups, utensils, and similar products. This may seem like overkill, but it can make a huge difference and give you added peace of mind. You should also make a note to replace the toothbrush of the person who is sick, as it is actually possible to catch the same virus again if any of the bacteria lingers on a toothbrush.
Use a Laundry Sanitizer
It’s not enough to just wash bedding, towels, and linens when somebody in your home is sick. To truly kill off bacteria, you’ll want to use a laundry sanitizer, such as bleach. And be careful when you’re carrying dirty laundry to the washer; keep them in a hamper and avoid contact with soiled linens as much as possible. You’ll also want to be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you load the washer.
Need a Little Help?
Feeling overwhelmed? Too busy to tackle all this cleaning? Let a professional house cleaner handle it for you. Our team at Maid Sailors has years of experience disinfecting the various surfaces of homes, and we’d be happy to take this burden off your shoulders. Contact us today to find out more about our house cleaning services or to schedule your first appointment with us! Together, we can get through any major biological outbreak such as Coronavirus, COVID-19, Ebola and cold and flu season with confidence!