Getting sick is never fun, but it’s even worse when you have to worry about spreading germs to your loved ones. Whether you’ve had a cold, flu viruses, or COVID-19, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of illness. Germs can live on surfaces for hours, sometimes even days, so it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to disinfect your home.
By following a few simple steps, you can help prevent the spread of germs and keep your family healthy. From washing your bedding to wiping down hard surfaces, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your home germ-free.
So, roll up your sleeves, grab some more cleaning products and supplies, and let’s get started!
Disease Defense: Prevent the spread of illness by sanitizing high-touch surfaces.
Beyond Basic Cleaning: Deep cleaning isn’t just about visible dirt; it’s about eliminating germs.
Laundry Logic: Heat and detergent are your allies in disinfecting clothing and beddings.
Tech Protection: Don’t forget to disinfect gadgets; they’re germ magnets!
Air Care: Regularly change air filters and consider air purifiers to reduce airborne pathogens.
Natural Options: Explore eco-friendly cleaning and natural disinfectants for a green clean.
Safety First: Always use cleaning products as directed, ensuring spaces are well-ventilated.
Build Resilience: Post-sickness cleaning is vital, but so is bolstering your home’s defenses against future illnesses.
Disinfecting High-Touch Surfaces
When someone in your household has been sick, it is essential to disinfect high-touch surfaces to prevent the spread of germs.
What are High-Touch Surfaces?
High-touch surfaces are those that are frequently touched by multiple people, such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, cabinet knobs and remote controls. Other high-touch surfaces include countertops, tables, chairs computer keyboards, and electronics. It’s essential to disinfect these surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of germs, especially flu germs.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes dirt and grime from surfaces, but it doesn’t necessarily kill germs. Disinfecting, on the other hand, involves using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. For effective disinfection, it’s essential to clean the surface first, then apply the disinfectant.
Choosing the Right Disinfectant
When choosing a disinfectant, it’s essential to read the label carefully to ensure it is effective against the specific germs you’re trying to kill. Look for disinfectants that are EPA-approved and have been shown to be effective against viruses and bacteria. Common disinfectants include a bleach solution, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol-based solutions.
How to Properly Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces
To properly disinfect high-touch surfaces, follow these steps:
Wear gloves to protect your hands.
Clean the surface with soap and water.
Apply the disinfectant according to the instructions on the label.
Allow the disinfectant to sit on the surface for the recommended amount of time.
Rinse the surface with water and allow it to air dry (don’t use paper towels to wipe the disinfecting surfaces dry).
Remember to put disinfecting wipes to high-touch surfaces frequently, especially during cold and flu season or if someone in your household is sick.
Cleaning Soft Surfaces
Soft surfaces in your home, such as carpets, rugs, stuffed animals, and upholstery, can harbor germs and bacteria for an extended period. For specific items, like cleaning a pack and play seek manufacturers guidance.
What are Soft Surfaces?
Soft surfaces are materials that are not hard or non-porous. They include carpets, rugs, upholstery, curtains, and bedding. These surfaces can be made of various materials, such as wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers. Soft surfaces can trap and hold onto germs, bacteria, and viruses, making them a potential source of infection.
How to Clean Soft Surfaces
The first step in cleaning soft surfaces is to remove any visible dirt or debris. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove dust, dirt, and other particles from carpets, rugs, and upholstery. Be sure to vacuum both sides of the cushions and pillows. If the soft surface is machine washable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying.
For non-machine washable soft surfaces, spot clean using a mild detergent and warm water. Use a clean cloth or sponge to apply the solution to the affected area, then blot with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture. Avoid using too much water, as it can damage the material or cause mold growth. Allow the surface to dry completely before using it again.
How to Disinfect Soft Surfaces
Cleaning alone may not be enough to remove all germs and bacteria from soft surfaces. Disinfecting clean surfaces is necessary to kill any remaining pathogens. Before disinfecting, clean the surface using the methods described above.
Disinfect soft surfaces using a disinfectant spray or wipes. Look for products that are EPA-approved for use against the specific virus or bacteria you are trying to kill. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, including the recommended contact time.
Steam cleaning uses high temperatures to kill germs and bacteria without the use of chemicals and avoids the lingering cleaning product smell. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, including the recommended temperature and contact time. A good steam cleaner is essential when it comes to killin goff infectious diseases.
When someone in the house is sick, it’s important to take extra precautions when handling laundry. Here are some steps to follow:
Sort laundry according to color and fabric type as usual. However, separate any laundry that has been in contact with the sick person, including bedding, towels, and clothing. These items should be washed separately from other laundry.
Washing and Drying
Wash contaminated laundry on the hottest setting possible, using a heavy-duty detergent with hot water. Use the appropriate amount of detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid overloading the washing machine to ensure that the laundry is thoroughly cleaned. You can also use a sanitizing laundry soap which will help ensure germs are killed.
After washing, dry the laundry on the highest heat setting possible. If possible, use a dryer with a sanitizing cycle. Alternatively, hang the laundry outside to dry in direct sunlight, which can help kill germs after someone cleaning. Read out guide to cleaning stuffed animals and toys.
Handling Contaminated Laundry
When handling contaminated laundry, wear gloves and a mask to avoid direct contact with the items. Avoid using dirty clothes or shaking the laundry to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling contaminated laundry.
After washing and drying contaminated laundry, take disinfectant wipes on any surfaces that may have come into contact with the laundry, including the washing machine, dryer, and laundry basket. Use a disinfectant spray or wipe to clean these surfaces thoroughly.
Hand hygiene is critical for preventing the spread of germs and viruses. After being sick, it is important to wash hands properly and frequently to keep yourself and others safe. Use soap and warm water and lather your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Scrub your hands thoroughly, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Rinse your hands well under running water and dry them with a clean towel or air-dry them. Remember to wash your infants hands as well, as when a household falls ill it effects everyone.
You should also use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands. Choose a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and apply it to the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands and fingers, until they feel dry.
Don’t Forget Fresh Air
The importance of fresh air in a house after an illness is multifaceted and offers several benefits:
Dispersion of Airborne Pathogens: Fresh air helps dilute and disperse any airborne pathogens that might linger indoors. Regular ventilation ensures that contaminated air is replaced with clean, fresh air, reducing the concentration of disease-causing microorganisms.
Reduced Contaminant Levels: Along with pathogens, indoor air can accumulate various contaminants, allergens, and pollutants. Bringing in fresh air helps in reducing the levels of these potential irritants.
Improved Respiratory Health: Breathing in fresh air promotes better lung function and oxygenation, aiding in faster recovery after an illness.
Mental Well-being: Fresh air can also boost mood and mental well-being. Exposure to natural light and fresh air has been shown to decrease feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety, potentially aiding in the recovery process.
Mitigation of Odors: Sickness can sometimes result in unpleasant odors. Fresh air helps in dissipating these odors, creating a more pleasant living environment.
Balanced Humidity Levels: Proper ventilation can help in maintaining balanced indoor humidity levels, preventing the growth of mold and bacteria that thrive in damp conditions.
Enhanced Immune Function: Exposure to a diverse range of environmental factors in fresh air can stimulate the immune system and make it more resilient in the long run.
Toys can harbor germs, especially if they’ve been frequently handled or mouthed during an illness. Here’s how to properly disinfect them and keep your little ones safe:
Sort the Toys: Before cleaning, separate toys based on their materials. For instance, group together plastic toys, stuffed animals, wooden toys, and any electronic toys.
For Hard, Non-Porous Toys (e.g., Plastic):
Fill a basin with a solution made from one gallon of water and a few tablespoons of bleach.
Submerge the toys in the solution for about 5 minutes.
Remove and rinse thoroughly with water.
Let them air dry on a clean towel.
Place them in the washing machine.
Use hot water and regular detergent. Adding a cup of white vinegar can further help in disinfection.
Dry on the hottest setting or air dry in direct sunlight.
For Wooden Toys:
Wipe down with a cloth dampened with a mixture of water and white vinegar (equal parts).
Avoid soaking wooden toys as they can warp or become rough.
For Battery-Operated or Electronic Toys:ong>
Do not submerge in water.
Wipe down thoroughly with disinfecting wipes, ensuring no moisture enters the battery compartments.
Let them air dry completely before use.
Natural Disinfecting Option: You can also use a mixture of equal parts distilled water and white vinegar as a disinfectant for toys. This solution works best for toys that shouldn’t be submerged in water.
Air Dry: Once cleaned and disinfected, spread toys on a clean towel and allow them to air dry. Ensure they’re completely dry to prevent mold growth, especially in squeeze toys with holes.
Safe Storage: Once all toys are disinfected and dry, store them in a clean container or toy box.
Regular Cleaning: Even if no one is sick, it’s a good practice to clean and disinfect toys regularly, especially those that are frequently mouthed.
FAQS on How to Disinfect House
When can I clean my house after being sick?
You can start cleaning your house as soon as you feel well enough to do so, but it’s essential to begin the cleaning process after the symptoms have significantly subsided to prevent recontamination. Ideally, a deep cleaning should be done once you’re fully recovered to ensure that all germs are effectively removed.
How do I get rid of cold germs in my house?
To get rid of cold germs in your house:
Regularly Disinfect: Wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and countertops with a disinfectant solution or wipe.
Wash Fabrics: Clean curtains, bedsheets, towels, and other fabrics in hot water, followed by a hot dryer cycle to kill germs.
Ventilate: Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate, which can help disperse airborne germs.
Vacuum: Regularly vacuum floors, especially carpets, using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Wash Hands: Ensure that all family members practice good hand hygiene, washing hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
How do you disinfect a bed after being sick?
To disinfect a bed after being sick:
Strip the Bed: Remove all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and comforters.
Wash Bedding: Launder the bedding in hot water, preferably with a detergent that contains bleach or another disinfectant. Follow up with a hot dryer cycle.
Mattress Cleaning: Vacuum the mattress using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. You can also lightly spray the mattress with a disinfectant spray, allowing it to dry completely before making the bed.
Pillows: If your pillows are machine-washable, launder them using hot water. Otherwise, consider using pillow protectors that can be easily washed.
Air Out: If possible, let the mattress air out by placing it in direct sunlight or ventilating the room. Sunlight can act as a natural disinfectant.