When someone in your household gets sick, it can feel like your entire home is a danger zone. Cold and flu germs can linger on hard surfaces for days and could result in a cycle of illness in your home that can seem never-ending. The germs can infect other persons living in the house or reinfect the original patient.
I’ve been there more than once, one child comes home with a runny nose from school, and pretty soon, everyone is getting sick. This is why it’s so important that you take the time to do a deep clean after someone in your household is sick!
If it feels overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! I’m going to walk you through exactly what you need to do to kill germs in your home after someone gets ill!
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Do Germs Remain In The Home After Someone is Sick?
When someone in your house becomes ill, it’s important to take steps to clean and disinfect the home to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like flu viruses and stomach bugs. Once someone has recovered from an illness, there will still be plenty of germs present in your home.
It’s important to remember that just because someone is no longer sick does not mean that they cannot spread illness to others. Try to clean surfaces on a daily basis with some kind of disinfectant solution.
Cleaning The House During or After Being Sick
Cleaning the home after or while someone in your household is sick can be a tough task, but it’s very important to do so.
We’ve broken down all the important things to take into account when cleaning the house, like cleaning solutions, household areas to clean, and some important guidelines and tips that you can follow to combat the spread of germs through the house.
Important Guidelines to Follow
Normally people clean their homes AFTER they’ve been sick, but it can also be a good idea to clean WHILE someone is sick. Whatever you’re cleaning, there are a few guidelines to follow to keep you and your family healthy.
- Make sure to wash your hands frequently with soapy water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer works well too.
- I would recommend that you wear disposable gloves if you are the person caring for a sick family member.
- Every day, use disinfecting wipes or a household disinfectant to clean down all of the surfaces in your home.
- Make sure to use detergent to clean the ill person’s utensils, mattress, clothing, and other things.
- Wash sheets, wash towels, and other textiles in hot water.
- Try to isolate the sick person as much as possible to prevent germs from spreading and to help you identify where most germs can be found. This includes using their own bathroom and staying in one room as much as they can. Avoid ‘public’ household areas in the home, like the kitchen and living room, to minimize the spread of germs.
- Before you clean, make sure that there is a lot of fresh air coming in with proper ventilation.
Which Cleaning Products to Use
There are a lot of cleaning products on the market that work well for disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Some of the products that you can use include:
- Vinegar as a cleaning solution
- A disinfectant wipe
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Disinfectant sprays like Lysol
- Disinfectant laundry detergent
While a good disinfectant is necessary to kill viruses and other germs, you can also leave items like carpets, rugs, pillows, bedding, and clothes in the sun for a few minutes. The sun will kill all the leftover bacteria that otherwise would have lived for days or even weeks.
If you don’t want to lay your items in the sun, you can always use a steam cleaner to eliminate the germs that are responsible for spreading sickness.
Note: Some cleaning products might irritate your skin, so wear gloves when cleaning the house to avoid this from happening.
Where to Clean After Being Sick?
When someone in your household is sick, it’s important to take extra care to clean and disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of illness.
Here are some tips on cleaning up your home after you have had a sick person in the house!
If possible, have the infected person use a different bathroom from the rest of the family. Use some disinfectant spray to wipe down the bathroom sink, countertop, sink handles, toilet, toilet handles, light switches, door knobs or handles, and electrical outlets. Products like Lysol, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol can be used.
During an illness, the kitchen can be filled with contaminated cups, dishes, and utensils. To clean them properly, u wash the dishes in extremely hot water using the hottest setting on your dishwasher.
Also, sanitize the counters and sinks, and wipe down the handles of your refrigerator and all of the electrical appliances.
To further minimize the chance of germs spreading, you can use disposable dishes instead until everyone in the household has recovered.
Over-Looked High-Traffic Surfaces
There are a few hot spots that are often overlooked, such as doorknobs or door handles, light switches, remote controls, and fridge handles. These are all high-touch areas that can harbor germs long after the sick person has recovered. These are the areas to disinfect both during and after someone is sick. Disinfectant wipes are brilliant for this.
Switch out hand towels more regularly than you normally would. Wash them in warm water; if you don’t have time for this, maybe switch to using paper towels instead of hand towels.
Bedding and Clothes
Basically, every single thing on the bed or that the sick person came in contact with needs to be cleaned. That means all bed linens, dirty clothes, pillows – everything needs to be cleaned! When you dry the clothes, you can leave them in the sun for a little longer than usual. The sun helps to kill any leftover germs after the bedding and clothes have been washed.
Clean all high-touch hard surfaces like tables, bedside tables, cabinets, etc. You can either use a disinfectant spray and wipe to clean the surfaces or other disinfectant products like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar to clean these surfaces.
I love using essential oils, and when someone is ill, a diffuser can come in very handy. Running the diffuser with oils such as tea tree or eucalyptus can help clean the air around you. Tea tree, especially, is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
However, tea tree oils and eucalyptus oils are not your only options. All of these oils listed here can be blended or used alone to help fight viruses, colds, and influenza. You can use them alone or use any combination of the oils listed below.
- Tea Tree
Phones, Remote Controls, and Other Electronics
It’s important to wipe down electronic devices like cell phones and tv remotes on a regular basis to combat the spread of germs. This can be done with disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray.
Toys and Stuffed Animals
Be sure to wash any plastic toys in the dishwasher using the high heat setting. Alternatively, you can also use a diluted chlorine bleach solution to soak the toys for a few minutes to clean all the germs and bacteria. After soaking, scrub each toy with a cloth or a scrub brush.
Also, most soft baby toys can be put into the laundry. For stuffed toys, 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 them that way; otherwise, hang stuffed animals to dry.
Be sure to dry them fully to prevent any bacteria growth as a result of moisture, and you don’t want moldy toys.
Toothbrushes tend to hold onto germs for a long time, and since they are an item that is used multiple times a day, get rid of them as soon as that person is back on their feet.
While the person is ill, you can disinfect the toothbrush daily by laying the bristles in boiling water for 15 minutes. This should kill most of the germs. Also, don’t forget to wipe down the toothbrush holder on a daily basis.
I would also recommend emptying trash cans every day, so you’re getting rid of dirty Kleenexes from the area.
You don’t want your carpets to harbor bacteria, so it’s important to clean them too. To do this, vacuum carpets and then use a steam cleaner to kill the germs.
While you can’t completely avoid disease, you can minimize the spread of illness in your household by following these guidelines on how to clean after being sick.
When you or someone in your family becomes unwell will, 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.
The BEST thing you can do is try to avoid the illness altogether, and that is done by frequent hand washing and sanitizing for all family members.
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