Despite your best efforts to prevent it, colder temperatures mark the season for nasty colds and the flu. No matter how well you quarantine sick family members, germs and viruses can spread through a household like a wildfire. That’s why it’s important to give your home a thorough cleaning after illness strikes. However, you don’t have to resort to chemically based sanitizing sprays, harsh disinfectants and cleaners. There are many green cleaning options that are just as effective at ridding your home of contagions. Here are the spots to focus your cleaning efforts on and the green cleaning options that can get the job done.
Antimicrobial cleaners are used to eliminate or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses on inanimate objects and surfaces. For a safe a healthy cleaning option, sanitize surfaces throughout your home with a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar. If the scent of vinegar isn’t appealing, add several drops of tea tree oil, which is well recognized for it’s antiseptic and disinfecting properties. Lavender, peppermint and lemon essential oils are also known to have antimicrobial properties and are effective at killing germs. Hydrogen peroxide is also a safe, all natural and effective sanitize, especially for use in kitchen and bathrooms.
While the patient is sick, wash and replace linens and towels as frequently as possible. Once symptom free, one of the first steps should be to wash all bedding, blankets and pillowcases that the sick individuals came into contact with. This includes any throws on the living room couch or stuffed animals that gave little ones comfort. Wash these items in the hottest water recommended by their tags and place them in the dryer, if permissible, to allow the heat to kill any remaining germs.
Some surfaces in the home spread germs more easily than others because people touch them more often. Items such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls and drawer handles can harbor germs. To help prevent the spread of germs, wipe these areas down using eco-friendly cleaners and a microfiber cloth. Similarly, sanitize your children’s toys with a vinegar-water solution, especially that they had contact with while ill. Don’t forget other commonly touched locations, like table lamp switches, cell phones, computer keyboards, refrigerator handles and buttons on microwave.
Lastly, since germs can get everywhere when you have a sick patient, wash hands frequently. No matter which type of soap is used, experts recommend washing hands for at least twenty seconds or comparable to singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
Bathrooms are often germ infested. Accordingly, it is that much more important to clean bathroom surfaces daily when someone in the house is sick. Wipe down all counters and sinks with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar and water solution. Once a week, to thoroughly clean tubs and showers, add a little baking soda to the hydrogen peroxide to create a mildly abrasive scrub. Towels can also harbor bacteria. In addition to laundering frequently, family members should have their own dedicated towel and washcloth.
It is crucial to line garbage cans with a plastic bag in order to contain the mess and make for easy disposal. Make it a point to frequently take out the trash while family members are sick. Before inserting a new trash bag, disinfect the inside and outside of the can by wiping it down with your choice of non-toxic cleaner, such as a vinegar and water solution or hydrogen peroxide.