This year’s cold and flu season has been a tough one and it is never too late to keep your home clean and healthy when you or one of your family members is sick. There are lots of places where germs can hide in your home and keeping those areas clean and disinfected to prevent the spread of illness among family members.
Cleaning versus Sanitizing versus Disinfecting
Knowing the difference can make all the difference in preventing illnesses. Surface cleaning and avoiding physical contact with those who are sick can help but won’t keep cold and flu viruses from spreading. Because these viruses are often airborne, the best defense is keeping hands washed (soap and water or hand sanitizers).
Sanitizers and disinfectants may promise to kill germs on contact, but in truth it takes from 30 seconds to 10 minutes of contact kill germs. This means that spraying and quickly wiping these products is no more effective than regular soaps. Keep these facts in mind:
- Sanitizers kill 99.9 percent of bacteria.
- Disinfectants kill 99.999 percent of viruses, bacteria, and fungi which means they reduce your exposure to germs by 100 times.
- If the package on your sanitizer or disinfectant doesn’t list the germs you are after – like cold and flu viruses – it probably isn’t effective against that particular germ, bacteria, or virus.
Killing Germs Effectively in Your Home
To kill germs effectively, you need to clean and rinse away dirt, dust, and germs, then apply a disinfectant to the cleaned surface. If you skip the cleaning and rinsing and only apply the disinfectant, germs get left behind to multiply and become stronger. Here are some tips for keeping each room in your house clean, healthy, and protected from germs.
- The Bathroom – Clean and disinfect each cabinet, the sink, the drawers, the toilet, the door knobs, light switches, shower handles, and bathroom appliances like hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, etc. Scrub the trashcans. Give everyone new toothbrushes. Keep towels clean and make sure those who are sick have towels separate from everyone else! In the bathroom use a disinfecting cleanser at least once a week on the floor, in the shower and tub, more when a bathroom is shared with someone who is ill.
- The Kitchen: Like in the bathroom, you need to clean and disinfect each cabinet, the sink, the drawers, table surfaces, countertops, chair backs and sides, the door knobs, light switches, and large and small appliances. Scrub the trashcans. Replace sponges regularly or sanitize them in the dishwasher. Utilize reusable washcloths and towels which can be laundered effectively. For most effective cleaning of the sink, use bleach at least once weekly. In the kitchen use a disinfecting cleanser at least once a week on the floor and other surfaces, more often when someone in the house is sick.
- The Living Areas: In all the living areas of your house you want to focus on cleaning and disinfecting light switches and door knobs as well as staircase banisters. Dining tables, end tables, play tables, coffee tables are all spots that cold and flu germs find their way to throughout the day and night. In addition, you need to pay close attention to cleaning and disinfecting cell phones and other tech devices like your game controllers, computer keyboards and mice, track pads, and tablets, chargers, phone cords, and toys which are all carriers of bacteria and viruses including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
- The Bedrooms: When colds and flu are prevalent, you want to clean and disinfect light switches, door knobs, nightstands, tables, and drawer and dresser pulls and handles. Be sure to launder bedding as well as stuffed animals in laundry detergent and the hottest water appropriate for the fabrics.
If you or a family member is under the weather, the team at Signature Maids is ready to help you keep your house clean and healthy as you and your family recover.