Disinfecting Your Home After an Illness
No matter how hard we try, it is just inevitable that someone in the house gets sick. Whether it’s the common cold or the flu, it is a very unpleasant experience for everyone. A trip to the doctor, meds and a bit of rest is sometimes all that is needed to get back to normal. However, there’s much more to treating an illness. You need to prevent its spread to the rest of your family by properly disinfecting your home. If you are looking for high level disinfection for your home call us today at 803-732-3200.
How Germs Are Spread
Before tackling how to get rid of germs, it is crucial to understand how germs are spread. Many illnesses are transmitted through the air. When a sick person coughs or sneezes without covering their face, those nearby are at risk of being infected. Shared surfaces can also be the culprit in spreading germs. Light switches, faucets, tables and any other shared surface can transmit germs if they’ve been touched by someone who is sick.
As you can see, with so many ways to transmit germs, it is essential to treat not just the person who is sick, but every surface in the house. Disinfecting your home after an illness is a necessary step in preventing reinfection and spreading the illness to others.
What You Need to Disinfect Your Home After an Illness
It doesn’t take a lot in the way of supplies to disinfect your home. In fact, you may already have many of these supplies in your cabinets. Here’s how to get started.
How to Make a DIY Disinfectant
You can make a disinfectant by combining the below ingredients:
- 1 ¼ cups of distilled water
- ¼ cup of white vinegar
- A few drops of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antiviral and antifungal properties. Adding a few drops to the mixture helps ensure you are killing the germs (rather than just cleaning surfaces).
You can use regular water for this mixture; however, distilled water is recommended. Distilled water has been boiled to get rid of contaminants and natural minerals. With distilled water, you won’t end up with a thin layer of residue on your surfaces.
Mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle. To use, simply spray on the affected surface and wipe with a clean towel.
Choosing a Store-Bought Disinfectant
Just about any disinfectant will do, though there are tons of specialized options available.
Make sure you read the label to ensure the product kills all relevant germs such as the flu virus, Norovirus, Strep and MRSA. Many of these cleaners you’ll see are sprays or wipes. However, there are laundry additives to sanitize clothes, bedding and towels. There are also special antibacterial cleaners designed specifically for the toilet bowl.
You don’t necessarily need to buy all of these, of course. The key is to choose the most effective product for your needs
How to Disinfect Your Home
You may not be aware of just how thorough you’ll need to be when disinfecting your house after an illness. Being thorough, however, is the best way to ensure you tackle all those germs and prevent spreading illness to the rest of the family.
Let in the Fresh Air
Begin your cleaning by opening the windows. Doing so helps circulate fresh air throughout the home. It also helps rid the house of any lingering airborne germs.
Clean Bedding from Sick Beds
As soon as the person is better, toss all their bedding in the laundry. Wash on the sanitize cycle or use a sanitizing laundry additive.
Don’t forget the mattress! Spray the mattress with a disinfecting spray of your choice.
Don’t Forget Towels and Laundry
Throw any towels the sick person has used into the laundry as well. Again, wash on the sanitize cycle or use a sanitizing laundry additive.
Wash all clothes the infected person may have worn. Germs can live on clothes for 8 to 12 hours. Don’t take any chances. Toss the clothes in the laundry on the sanitize cycle to make sure you kill everything. Also, wash the infected garments separate from the rest of the laundry.
Disinfect the Toothbrush
You can disinfect toothbrushes by soaking the bristles in a solution of baking soda and water. You can also soak the brush in Hydrogen Peroxide. The easiest thing to do, however, may be to simply toss the brush and start fresh with a new one.
Deep Clean Your Bathrooms
Shared bathrooms are notorious for spreading germs among members of the household. That is why you need to address every surface in the bathroom, including countertops, faucets, the shower, the tub and light fixtures.
Clear Kitchen Surfaces and Hardware
Use a disinfecting spray or wipe on every surface in the kitchen. Much like the bathroom, you’ll want to clean every surface, including countertops, faucets, the refrigerator, cabinet handles and drawer pulls and light switches.
Cleaning the Car
With such tight quarters, passing germs is almost inevitable. Open all the car windows to let things air out. Then, spray all surfaces with a disinfectant spray.
Disinfect Floors and Tile
Even the floors should be cleaned after an illness. Take steps to disinfect and remove any remaining bacteria from floors and tile. Floor cleaning is something you can tackle on your own. However, a professional floor cleaning service will have the equipment and the proper cleaning solution to do a thorough cleaning.
Tips to Protect Your Family from Common Illnesses
Although you must be thorough in cleaning your house after an illness, there are some things you can do to minimize illness in the first place. The following suggestions are sure to help:
Wash Hands Regularly
According to the CDC, handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent illness. Teach children how and when to wash their hands. The most common times to wash your hands include before eating food, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing and after caring for someone who is ill. The CDC recommends a five-step process for proper handwashing:
- Wet – Wet your hands with water and apply soap.
- Lather – Rub your hands together to lather the soap.
- Scrub – Scrub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse – Rinse your hands under running water.
- Dry – Dry your hands with a clean towel.
Washing your hands with soap is always best. However, if you don’t have soap available, you can use hand sanitizer as a substitute. Keep in mind that sanitizers are only mildly effective. Sanitizer does work against some germs, but not all.
Baby wipes are another product that gives the illusion of “clean.” They may rid your hands of visible dirt. However, they do not get rid of germs.
Cover Nose and Mouth When Sneezing
Encourage everyone in the house to cover their mouth when sneezing or coughing. As mentioned earlier, many germs are spread through the air. Covering your nose and mouth keeps airborne germs from spreading to others.
Try to Minimize Touching Your Face
This one is especially important for young kids who are prone to wiping their eyes and nose when playing. They may inadvertently spread germs to their face if they’ve touched an infected surface.
Avoid Contact with Sick Individuals
Of course, you should minimize your contact with sick individuals. When you are in the same household, though, this may not be possible. Consider quarantining the affected individual to one room of the home. That way, they are less likely to spread germs throughout the house.
If You Need Help Disinfecting Your Home
Recovering from illness doesn’t mean you’re immediately back at 100% and ready to take all this on. If you need professional floor cleaning for your home, give us a call. We specialize in carpet, hardwood, tile and grout cleaning, and can help keep your home germ-free.