Cooler weather often means a variety of illnesses, from the common cold to the flu to the coronavirus, so you must know how to minimize the spread of germs. Over the last couple of years, we have all become more aware of the dangers that arise from viruses and other germs. During flu season, we must be even more diligent and know how to disinfect a house after the flu or a cold.
If you’ve had the flu, you know how awful it can be. The muscle aches, fever, chills, and fatigue accompanying the virus affect roughly 35 million people every year. Don’t let the flu and other cold viruses take over your home. Learn how to disinfect your house after the flu or a cold and keep germs at bay for fewer illnesses all year long.
How Do You Disinfect Your House After a Cold?
Think of all the common areas where people gather in your home and all the things they touch. When you disinfect your house after the flu, these are the areas you should disinfect first, including the bathrooms and kitchen. Because the kitchen and bathroom are the most used rooms in the home, they can also be the most contaminated and should be your priority when cleaning after the flu. For a quick rundown on disinfecting vs. sanitizing, check out our handy guide.
Clean and Disinfect Common Areas and Frequently Touched Items
Things like cabinet pulls, doorknobs, and light switches can be a breeding ground for harmful viruses and should be disinfected after an illness. The family computer, laptops, remote controls, gaming consoles, and especially cell phones should be cleaned and sanitized. To disinfect these items, a slightly dampened cloth with soapy water, sanitizing wipes, or a disinfectant spray will usually do the trick. Whatever you use, clean the entire surface and in between buttons or underneath the switches.
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Wash Towels and Bedding in Hot Water
Use color-safe bleach if it is safe for the fabric. If you don’t use bleach, you can still sanitize your laundry. Don’t share your towels or blankets with others, especially if someone has already been sick in the home. It may take a few extra loads of laundry, but keeping these items clean and sanitized will help prevent the flu from spreading. Use the hottest water that the item’s laundry instructions allow. If you need to use cold water, consider adding 5-10 drops of tea tree oil to naturally disinfect your laundry.
Clear the Air of Germs and Pollutants
Knowing how to disinfect the air after sickness can be as important as knowing how to sanitize surfaces. Pop a window open for a few minutes, even if it’s cold, and let the fresh air rejuvenate you and your living space. Vacuuming with a HEPA-equipped vacuum like The Maids can help minimize dust and other airborne contaminants contributing to illness and respiratory issues. To give your home a fresh, clean scent after clearing the air, use a diffuser to fill your home with purifying essential oil blends like tea tree or lavender.
Replace Toothbrushes and Disinfect Pacifiers and Teethers
As careful as we try to sanitize after illness, many people often overlook toothbrushes. Keep a stash of spare toothbrushes on hand for the whole family, so anyone recovering from illness isn’t exposed to more germs. Pacifiers, teethers, and some small toys can be cleaned and disinfected using your dishwasher. In most dishwashers, you can put these items on the top rack and use the hottest setting or a sanitizing setting if you have one.
Disinfect Sponges and Scrubbers
Your bathroom sponge and kitchen scrubber are ideal environments for germs to grow. Keeping them clean and as germ-free as possible is always a smart idea, especially after an illness. Many scrubbers or sponges can be cleaned and disinfected by running them through the dishwasher. You can also wash them in the washing machine with hot water or even microwave them in a pinch.
So, how long do cold viruses live on surfaces? While you’re more likely to catch a cold from someone else, cold viruses on indoor surfaces can be infectious for as long as 24 hours. How long does the flu virus live on surfaces? Depending on the surface, the flu virus can be contagious for multiple days, so getting the flu from surface viruses is more likely than catching a cold from them. When you know how to disinfect the house after the flu or a cold, those cold and flu viruses won’t be a threat.
How to Minimize the Spread of Germs in Your Home
Once you know how to sanitize your home after the flu, preventive measures can help keep your family and home healthy. The best way to minimize illness from cold and flu viruses is to follow proven tips for keeping your family and home as germ-free as possible. Here are some things you can do regularly to keep bacteria and viruses in check:
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water and follow recommended handwashing practices. For quick clean-ups and disinfecting, use antibacterial hand sanitizer. Make an effort not to touch your mouth or nose without first washing your hands.
Clean Your Vacuum
When you clean with a vacuum, you pick up germs and contaminants from carpets and hard-surface floors. Regularly cleaned vacuums are less likely to spread those contaminants throughout your home. Some vacuums have bags you can change when they’re full. Others have containers you can empty after each use. When you change bags or empty canisters, pay attention to hoses and filters, and make sure nothing is clogged.
Practice Healthy Cleaning
Germs can spread pretty easily on their own, so they don’t need help from us. One of the best things you can do to minimize bacteria and viruses is to avoid spreading them around with improper cleaning. Whether you need to disinfect your house after the flu or you’re practicing prevention, always use different cleaning cloths for kitchens and bathrooms. Use a clean mop to clean bathroom and kitchen floors at least weekly, and try to wash cleaning cloths as soon as possible after use.
Use this guide to disinfect your home after the flu or a cold and keep germs away with healthy cleaning habits. Simple, quick cleaning and disinfecting tasks added to your cleaning routine can keep your home healthy. Or, you could get a one-time healthy cleaning and maintain a healthy home week after week to make your home as clean and healthy as possible more often.
At The Maids, we provide a full range of residential cleaning services and are experts at getting rid of germs and disinfecting after the flu. If you’re still worried about the flu virus showing up uninvited, give us a call or request an estimate today.