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It’s officially sniffles season! Viruses are everywhere, and that means only one thing – it’s time to bump up the disinfecting in our homes. Here are 15 ways to keep your home germ-free this flu season.
- Wash your hands.
- Be a shoe free household.
- Do a weekly Lysol spray down.
- Ditch the soap and water for more powerful cleaners.
- Use disinfectant correctly.
- Disinfect purse handles and backpacks.
- Strategically place the hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect your tech.
- Disinfect your bedding.
- Replace these things after being sick.
- Use your dishwasher to sanitize.
- Make your own disinfectant cleaner.
- Sanitize using your washing machine.
- Sanitize your bathroom.
- Sanitize your kitchen.
Good cleaning habits keep the germs at bay.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away (I wish the saying was “a peppermint mocha from Starbucks keeping the doctor away”, but sadly, it’s not.) but good cleaning habits will help keep the germs that make us sick out of our homes.
Nothing is worse than having to cancel fun holiday plans because we’ve come down with something that makes us feel icky. Along with eating as many fruits and veggies as I can, I’m going to be employing these germ-fighting tactics to keep my home healthy this fall and winter.
Germ-Free Home Tip #1: Wash your hands!
Yes, this tip is super basic, and you’ve heard it a million times. There is a reason for that – it works! Hand washing is a good idea all year round, but during the fall and winter, I make a point to do it more often.
I think it’s especially important to wash your hands immediately after entering your home.
Whether you’ve just come home from work, school, the grocery store, or the bank, chances are that you’ve been touching a lot of surfaces where germs can be present. Washing your hands the minute you get home will prevent those germs from getting onto your surfaces and making you sick.
Germ-Free Tip #2: Be A Shoe-Free Household.
The bottoms of our shoes carry a lot of dirt and germs. One super easy way to avoid spreading that around the floors of our homes is to become a shoe-free household.
Have a special area in your home where you are going to store your shoes when you walk in the door. A shoe rack or boot tray make for great ways to organize your shoes and remind you to take them off when you get home.
Germ-Free Tip #3: Do A Weekly Lysol Spray Down.
There are so many areas of our homes where germs can be lurking and waiting to get us sick! High-touch areas are the worst when it comes to germs, and here is a simple solution. Once a week, I walk around the house with a can of Lysol disinfectant spray. I go from room to room spraying the high-touch surfaces as I go. It only takes me about ten minutes to do the whole house, and it gets things germ-free!
Here is a list of common high-touch zones:
- Light switches
- Sink Faucets
- Cabinet knobs and pulls
- Refrigerator door handle
- Dishwasher door handle
- Laundry machine button panel
- Lamp switches
- Car steering wheel
- Car dashboard
- Garbage Can Lid
Germ-Free Tip #4: Up Your Cleaning Power!
Normally, soap and hot water are my go-to cleaners, but during flu season, I think it’s a good idea to up the cleaning power and go for cleaning products with lots of disinfectant power. I love Lysol’s All-Purpose cleaner. Fabuloso makes a great disinfectant cleaner too. Whatever you choose, make sure the word “disinfectant” is on the label.
Germ-Free Tip #5: Use Disinfectant Correctly.
Are you using your disinfectant correctly? I didn’t realize that I wasn’t! I was spraying my disinfectant spray onto a dirty kitchen counter and wiping it off with a kitchen towel almost immediately after I had sprayed the surface. That wasn’t the right way to disinfect my countertops which means I wasn’t actually getting rid of the germs in my home.
It’s best to read the directions on the bottle’s label before using a new product, but here are some general rules to follow when using a disinfectant cleaner.
Disinfecting Rules To Follow
1. Always clean before you disinfect.
If you want to disinfect your kitchen counters, but your countertops are covered in crumbs, peanut butter smears, or spilled apple juice, you are going to need to clean them before you use your disinfectant.
2. Give the product time.
Most disinfectant cleaning products need to be applied to the surface and then left to sit for at least several minutes. Wiping the cleaner off too fast will limit the effectiveness of its germ-killing power.
3. Match the product to the surface.
Be careful which product you use on which surface. For example, if the product you are using to disinfect your kitchen counters isn’t food surface safe, I would rinse the surface thoroughly with water afterwards. I love to use bleach on my bathroom tile, but I would avoid using it on any wood surfaces in my home like floors or furniture.
Germ-Free Tip #6: Disinfect Purse Handles And Backpacks.
Purses and backpacks are items we touch a million times a day and carry with us everywhere. It can be really easy to forget that they are germ magnets! For my purse, I like to wipe the whole bag down with a Lysol sanitizing wipe, giving special attention to the bottom of the bag and the handles. For my kids’ backpacks, I like to wash them in the washing machine on the hot water cycle.
Germ-Free Tip#7: Strategically Place Hand Sanitizer.
Washing our hands is the best way to get rid of the germs from things we touch, but hand sanitizer is such a life saver to have around the house. Having a bottle or two strategically placed around the house and the car is great for when we need to clean our hands fast in a pinch. I like to keep a small pump bottle of hand sanitizer on my entryway table. The car is a great place for hand sanitizer. I like to sanitize my hands after pumping gas or touching the ATM machine buttons at the bank drive through. Your purse or work bag is a good place to store a mini bottle of sanitizer.
Germ-Free Tip #8: Disinfect Your Tech.
Like purses and backpacks, our technology devices get touched every day and are probably forgotten when it comes to preventing the spread of germs in our homes. My phone, laptop keyboard, and tv remote are all prime places for germs to hide.
What’s the best way to sanitize tech devices? I find it’s best to never spray the device directly so as not to cause any damage. Liquid and computers don’t mix. What I like to do is spray the disinfectant on a cleaning cloth, and then I use the cloth to wipe down my phone, laptop, or tv remote. A Clorox wipe works well too.
Germ-Free Tip #9: Disinfect Your Bedding.
Nobody wants to go to bed with germs every night, and fortunately, disinfecting bedding is easy peasy. Once a week, I wash my bed’s quilt and bed sheets on a hot water cycle with a little color-safe bleach plus my regular laundry detergent to get them clean and sanitized.
Every couple of months, I like to wash my bed’s pillows in my washing machine the same way – hot water cycle with bleach and detergent. Not only will this help get rid of germs, but washing your bedding regularly will help get rid of dust mite allergens as well.
Germ-Free Tip #10: Replace These Things After Being Sick.
If you have recently been ill, virus germs can keep living on your stuff long after you start feeling better. It’s best to toss any toiletry item that comes in contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth after being sick. Your toothbrush, eye makeup, and lipsticks are all good things to replace after you feel well again.
Germ-Free Tip #11: Use Your Dishwasher To Sanitize.
Let your home appliances do double duty! Sure, our dishwashers are great for getting our dishes sparkling clean, but that same machine is also great for sanitizing items in your home! Most newer models have a “sanitize” cycle, but even if yours doesn’t have that feature, the dishwasher’s main function is to blast hot water onto whatever is inside it. Bye-bye germs!
What can you sanitize in the dishwasher? Any hard surfaced item that won’t be damaged by water. The dishwasher is great for sanitizing kids’ toys. I like to sanitize the iron grates of my gas stove top in the dishwasher. There are so many possibilities, and it’s so easy to use.
Germ-Free Tip #12: Make Your Own Disinfectant Cleaner.
Fall and Winter can be long, and that means we’re going to go through a lot of disinfectant cleaner! Instead of running to the store to buy yet another bottle of cleaner, try making your own. I love this cleaner from the cleaning company, Go Clean Co.
Mix together one teaspoon of Tide powdered detergent, a ½ cup of bleach, and six cups of hot water. It cleans. It disinfects, and it makes a lot of cleaner for a small amount of money.
Germ-Free Tip #13: Sanitize Using Your Washing Machine.
Like your dishwasher, your washing machine can do the disinfecting work for you. Soft surfaces are tougher to get germ-free because we can’t spray them with cleaner and wipe them down. So instead, wash soft items on the hot water cycle of your washing machine with a little bleach to kill germs.
What soft surfaces can be sanitized in the washing machine? Soft toys, stuffed animals, pillows, upholstery covers, drapes, the heads of mops, curtains, and even small carpets can all be sanitized in the washing machine.
Germ-Free Tip #14: Sanitize Your Bathroom.
The bathroom is a place with a lot of germs. Once a week, a full bathroom scrubbing session is in order. Use your favorite disinfectant to kill germs on every bathroom surface – your tub, shower, toilet, sink, and floor. For little jobs in between the big weekly clean, I like to keep a tub of sanitizing wipes for a quick cleaning swipe of my sink or toilet seat.
Germ-Free Tip #15: Sanitize Your Kitchen.
The kitchen is one of the most important areas of our homes to keep germ-free. Germs and bacteria like salmonella can make us really sick. With all of the food prep that goes on day after day, we want to make sure our kitchen counters, cooking tools, and appliances are clean.
I use the homemade disinfectant cleaner from tip #12 on everything in my kitchen – countertops, floors, cabinet doors, kitchen sink, refrigerator, and even the walls.
If you like using a sponge to clean, make sure to sanitize that sponge by microwaving it in a vinegar and water mixture to kill any lingering mold and bacteria.
We all want homes that are happy, healthy, and germ-free this cold and flu season, and when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, a little prevention can go a long way. Follow our 15 tips to ensure your home is guarded against germs.
Have a germ-fighting tip? Share it in the comments!