How To Clean Your Home After Being Sick

If someone in your home becomes ill, cold and flu germs can linger on surfaces for days. The cycle of illness in your home becomes never-ending as these germs infect everything. That is, unless you completely eliminate the bacteria.

It is very common for families to fall ill, all at once, especially if kids are in school or daycare daily. That’s why you should have a great routine of things to clean after being sick.

Having all of those germs in your home can make it very difficult for the illness to leave your family. There is a good chance that everyone can get sick all over again if the home is not cared for properly during and after the illness takes place.

I have a pretty strict routine for my family when it comes to illness, and I have to keep on top of it daily, sometimes it is for weeks at a time if the illness is spread out between family members and everyone gets ill one by one.

But since getting sick is inevitable, and if you live in a winter wonderland like me, you’re going to want to adopt some of these cleaning habits during the season of the flu, even though it is certainly unpleasant to spend time cleaning house while sick.

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Germs At Work

Bacteria and viruses, in general, persist on surfaces and are passed from one family member to the next through skin contact. As a result, anything you come into contact with on a regular basis could pose a threat. In reality, the influenza virus can live for up to 48 hours.

While the regularity with which you should disinfect any room or surface in your house is primarily determined by its size and how often you or your family come into touch with it, cleaning routinely and efficiently is essential.

You might be tempted to start saturating your entire home in bleach. While this isn’t strictly essential, being persistent and cleaning crucial objects in your house can help you prevent the transmission of germs and break the cycle of disease.

Cleaning The House During or After Being Sick

Normally people clean their homes AFTER they’ve been sick, but did you know it’s a good idea to clean while you’re sick also?

Yeah I know, cleaning is the last thing on your mind, so if you have the help you can recruit, now is a great time.

I’m a mom, so I’m not allowed to lay around on the couch when I’m sick…there’s just too much to do! So I take my Tylenol cold and flu and get on with my day, even if it’s a little bit slower than usual. I try to do a quick five minute tidy of the area’s that I sit on. You know, put the trash in the trash, dishes into the sink and a quick Lysol wipe to the surfaces I touched.

It’s not a full-on clean. It’s just enough to try to keep the sick in my region to TRY to keep it from spreading.

The Right Cleaners

Before you can find the desire to clean your house while you’re unwell, be sure you’re utilising cleaning chemicals that aren’t hazardous to you or your family. Certain cleaning chemicals may be extremely hazardous, not just to your home’s surfaces but also to the air you breathe.

The last thing you want to do is start cleaning with a chemical that will only make your illness worse and send you to the hospital. To help prevent yourself and your family from consuming harmful chemicals, consider switching to all-natural cleaning products.

Disinfect the Most Important Things

While cleaning your house is vital, you can successfully reduce the transmission of disease while you or a loved one is still unwell by concentrating on a few critical items. If someone in your house has a cold or the flu, make sure to clean these objects on a regular basis:

  • Your phone: The virus is found on around 80% of phones in homes where an infected person lives.
  • The remote: The remote is usually one of the most handled objects in your home, and it’s also one of the least cleaned, so disinfect it while you’re sick.
  • The bathroom: It’s not uncommon for cold and flu viruses to be found on nearly half of bathroom faucets. Make sure the faucets, sink, and toilet are all disinfected, and that the ill person uses his or her own hand towel.
  • Tables: Because tables are frequently handled without being cleaned off, take special care to these places while you are unwell.
  • After an illness, bed sheets and any stuffed animals should be cleaned.

Disinfecting Air After Being Sick

I love my essential oils and when I’m sick, my diffuser is a great friend. Running the diffuser with a great oil such as tea tree or eucalyptus helps clean the air around me. Tea tree like this one is my favourite oil known well for antibacterial and antiviral properties.

However, tea tree and eucalyptus are not your only options. All of these oils listed here can be blended or used alone to help fight viruses, colds, and influenza. Use them alone, or any combination of these oils.

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemongrass
  • Geranium

What You Absolutely Must Clean After The Illness Leaves Your Home

Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes tend to hold onto germs for a long time, and since they are an item that is used multiple times a day, they tend to get extra yucky when we are sick.

During the illness, soak the toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes after each use and wash with water thoroughly so you don’t taste the peroxide when you brush your teeth next.

Once the illness is over, grab new toothbrushes for everyone, even those family members who aren’t sick! I’m convinced germs can jump from toothbrush to toothbrush if they are stored close together without a lid, so it’s best to be safe than sorry and just get all new brushes for everyone.

I like to shop toothbrushes in bulk like these so I always have lots on hand for my children (these are my favourite kid’s toothbrushes, they are awesome) and my husband and myself so the swap is super easy and no extra trip to the store is required. If you have an electric toothbrush, I’m sure it has some extra heads that it came with, so be sure to replace the head.

Bathrooms

Wipe down (with Lysol, vinegar or rubbing alcohol) the sink handles, toilet, toilet handles, light switches, doorknobs, and electrical outlets daily during the illness. Don’t forget to do a big bathroom clean when everyone is feeling a lot better.


Need more bathroom cleaning tips? I’m full of them!
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Electronics

If your family is like my family, when we are sick we spend a lot of time on electronics, and they get germy germy germy. So gross!

Be sure to wipe down your remote controls, controls for gaming devices like the box or the switch, the actual game cards or disks and consoles with Lysol wipes or rubbing alcohol at the end of each day they are used.

Toys

Be sure to wash plastic toys, and whatever plush toys that you can.

Most baby toys can be put into the dishwasher. If you do not have a dishwasher, fill a sink with hot water and dawn dish soap and wash the toys in there. Be sure to soak for a few minutes, then scrub each toy with a cloth or a scrub brush.

Be sure to dry them fully to prevent any bacteria growth as a result of moisture, you don’t want moldy toys.

For stuffed animals, you can spray them down with a water and tea tree oil solution or put them into the delicate cycle of the washing machine. If you’ve dried stuffed animals before in your dryer then go ahead and dry it that way, otherwise, hang stuffed animals to dry.

Common Areas

All those areas in your home that multiple people touch on a daily basis…yes they get really gross on a regular basis, but even worse when you’ve been sick.

Be sure to give a good wipe to all light switches, door handles, fridge handles and coffee tables with your favourite disinfectant.

Bathroom And Kitchen Towels

All towels that are out while your family has been ill need to be washed.

Hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom are used daily by multiple people in the house. Be sure to change all the hand towels daily to try to prevent the spread of those nasty germs.

Couch

The couch is tough to disinfect, however, you can spray it down with a water and tea tree oil solution or give it a wipe with Lysol wipes or rubbing alcohol, making sure not to soak the couch.

You can even do a deep steam clean of the couch if you feel like it needs it.

Air

It seems silly, but the air in your home gets pretty yucky when anyone has been sick.

I do recommend disinfecting the air continuously while the family is ill. Purify your air by using essential oils in your favourite diffuser. You can also use a cool-mist humidifier for helping clear the air. Don’t forget that opening windows can do a world of wonder in clearing the air in a room as well.

Bedding

I like to leave the bedding alone until I see signs of illness fading away, however, I do focus on changing the pillowcases daily throughout the sickness.

Once the illness has gone away, don’t forget to wash the sheets, comforters, pillows, pillowcases and any throw blankets that were used.

Floors

You should wash your floors after you’ve been sick and wiped down all your counters and common surfaces, just to make sure you got all the germs!

Important Guidelines to Follow

Whatever you’re cleaning, there are a few guidelines to follow to keep you and your family healthy.

  1. Make sure that everyone in your household washes their hands with soap and water on a regular basis, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Every day, use disinfectant wipes or a household disinfectant to clean down all of the surfaces in your home.
  3. Make sure to use detergent to clean the ill person’s utensils, mattress, clothing, and other things.
  4. Germs may survive cold and even warm wash cycles, so wash sheets, towels, and other textiles on hot.
  5. When cleaning, avoid using sponges and rags since they might transmit germs. Instead, disinfectant wipes should be used.

Finding The Motivation To Clean

When you don’t feel like getting out of bed, it might be difficult to get up and tidy. However, just as money motivates you to wake up and go to work, you may find an incentive to clean the house. Now, I’m not suggesting that you scrub the entire house on your hands and knees, but keeping it orderly and free of germs is critical at this time. You’ll not only stop germs in their tracks, but you’ll also feel better emotionally having a clean house. And the better psychologically you are, the better physically you will be.

Perhaps music is your source of inspiration. Perhaps it’s the bacteria. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that you’ll feel better once you’ve completed it. Every household cleaning regimen (sick or not) has a reason, and it’s time for you to figure out what yours is. I have put up a list of suggestions to assist you.

  1. Soak the dishes: Dishes are one of those home chores that might feel daunting at times. You might just want to stare at them and hope that they begin to wash. When you’re ill, the last thing you want to do is wash your hands. So, at the end of the day, fill your sink with hot water and dish soap, then soak your dishes overnight. You’ll be able to tidy them up in the morning.
  2. Have a cleaning basket on hand: Having a cleaning basket around the house adds a whole new level of incentive to the mix. There’s something about having a beautiful small basket with all of your cleaning tools in one place that makes you want to get up and clean the whole home. And it’s especially useful when you don’t want to waste time hunting for that bottle of Windex you swear you have.
  3. Make sure you have disinfectant wipes ready: While it comes to cleaning the house when you’re sick, making sure you have disinfectant wipes in every area is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. This way, if you touch something or start sneezing all over the remote, all you have to do is grab a wipe to stop the germs from spreading.
  4. Run a diffuser with essential oils: There are several advantages to having a diffuser in your house. One of them is that you may use it to clean the air around you while also strengthening your immune system by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. So you’re not only cleaning the air, but you’re also assisting in the treatment of your illness.

While you can’t completely avoid disease, you can usually minimize the spread of illness in your household by following these guidelines.

When you or someone in your family becomes unwell, the first concern is to get better. However, once the symptoms have subsided, you’ll want to make sure you clean the house thoroughly. Even if the sick person is able to isolate themselves in one location, germs, viruses, or bacteria may still be present on the objects they have touched.

Related Cleaning Routine Articles

The BEST thing you can do is trying to avoid the illness altogether, and that is done by frequent hand washing and sanitizing for all family members. A good tip for handwashing is to wash hands for 30 seconds and remember to wash past the wrist area.

Cleaning House While Sick

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22 thoughts on “How To Clean Your Home After Being Sick

  1. These are good tips, thank you for writing about these common cleaning mistakes people make when cleaning their homes. I definitely never really clean from top-down, I’ll try that.

  2. Excellent Post! We’re still recovering from the illness around us, so this post couldn’t have arrived at a better time! Thank you very much

  3. Although we haven’t experienced the flu this year (thanks to essential oils! ), we have had visitors who have. I’d use the steam cleaner to clean the couch without a doubt! It’s difficult to get the germs out of.

  4. We adore essential oils and swear by their ability to keep nasty flu viruses at bay. I have a large duty floor steam mop, but I’ve never considered a smaller or hand-held one. Good info!

  5. I got the illness six days ago and am finally starting to feel better! This is a fantastic list of all the key locations to disinfect – one more day and I’ll be giving my house a thorough scrub!

  6. I’ve never used hydrogen peroxide to disinfect before and think it’s fantastic! I’d love to have a portable steamer gadget because it appears to be highly efficient and quick! I have two boys/men that destroy bathrooms and would love to use this in there! Thank you for all of your suggestions.

  7. This was a very informative post. So far, we’ve been fortunate in that we’ve just had head colds and other minor illnesses. But I try to deep clean our house once a week to make it as clean and germ-free as possible. 

  8. I’d love to have this to clean with. I used to use a floor steamer, but replacement cloths became unavailable. I’d want to use the smaller steamer attachment to clean around stove components, water faucet knobs, and where the toilet meets the floor to make cleaning some of the dirtiest areas simpler!
    I like how simple it appears to be and that no chemicals are required. Essential oil drops would smell wonderful.
    Thank you very much for your helpful advice!

  9. I’d love to use the steam cleaner to scrub my countertops and get into all of the little nooks and corners!

  10. Oh my goodness, we’ve been sick nonstop for the past six months. I’m on the verge of paying someone to come in and properly clean our house because we simply can’t seem to get this thing out of our system. Thank you for your fantastic post!

  11. My kid is currently suffering from the illness and has been at his new apartment for two weeks. I’ll absolutely forward this to him!!!! Thanks!

  12. Thanks for the great suggestions, I have not used a steamer for cleaning, sounds like a great addition to cleaning supplies!

  13. Thankfully, we haven’t had the flu hit our home this season. I’m sure steam cleaning would be an easy, almost delightful way to banish the germs. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

  14. Oh my goodness! Your boys were really ill! I’m glad everyone is doing better and your household has returned to normalcy. When the flu virus invades our home, I, too, get preoccupied with cleaning – bathrooms and bedrooms (laundry is a necessary!). Your essay provided some interesting suggestions that I had not considered (for example, technology, opening the window (I reside in Ontario, where it is frigid, but the cool air might be beneficial!).

  15. When the entire family is ill, it’s not pleasant! The bathrooms, towels, and laundry are my top priority. Thank you for sharing your routine after having a sick child in the house; you have some wonderful suggestions! I’d love to have a steam cleaner to assist with the cleaning!

  16. Excellent post, we often forget where we touch things…. We are not huge supporters of commercial disinfectants. Prefer the old-fashioned soap technique; it works just as well and does not lead to these bacteria becoming more resistant to various medicines and other critical weapons when we are very ill. Soap water and a little elbow grease will suffice. I’m not claiming that this is everyone’s approach; just my two cents.

  17. So basically what this is saying is you should clean the whole house… haha. That’s what I do already! I don’t trust anything to be germ-free after a bout of the flu, so everything’s gotta get cleaned.

  18. I’m glad to hear that everyone has recovered, and I appreciate all of your advice! From the garage to the home, I’m always cleaning door knobs and handrails… I’m hoping to catch those germs before they spread… Thank you for joining us on Throwback Thursday!!

  19. Excellent advice! I’d like to emphasize the importance of carefully reading cleaning solution directions. All disinfectants will specify how long they must be kept on a surface to combat certain infections. When flu season arrives, I start cleaning off doorknobs, switches, remotes, phones, and other such items with Clorox or Lysol wipes. Lysol is also sprayed all over the doors, as well as around the toilets and sinks. As a preventative measure. I run a home daycare and have only experienced the flu once in 10 years, and that was when I first started. Unfortunately, this was due to a mother’s failure to notify me that her child had recently recovered from the illness.

  20. Excellent advice! Many individuals have never learned how to clean completely, therefore this is an excellent how-to guide. I hope your family is no longer afflicted!

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