Tips for Preparing the Home for Flu Season
Clean High Contact Areas
High contact areas such as door knobs and cabinets can be places where germs can live. Take some time to use a quality cleaner to wipe down these areas. You will want to clean these areas multiple times a day. Use a multipurpose cleaner and a towel to clean these areas. By taking some time to clean high contact areas you can decrease the potential spread of the flu.
High contact areas that should be cleaned consistently:
- Door Knobs - All door knobs need to be cleaned as they are touched most frequently by people entering and exiting the home.
- Faucets and Faucet Handles - Another high contact area where germs can live is on the faucet and the faucet handles. Make sure to wipe these down regularly.
- Touch Screens - Whether it is a phone, tablet, or other touch screen device, it could be home to a variety of germs. Clean touch screen devices regularly with a safe, cleaning product and a rag.
- Toys - Plastic toys can be a breeding ground for germs. Rinse toys daily in a solution of 1 part all-purpose cleaner and 5 parts water to slow the spread of germs.
- Restrooms - When cleaning it is also important to focus on cleaning tubs, toilet handles, and sinks in the restroom. These areas are often frequently used and not always the top of the cleaning list.
- Light Switches - Areas such as light switches are often ignored when cleaning. Take some time to wipe down light switches as part of your cleaning routine.
Clean Cloth Items Regularly
While it is important to wash down high contact areas, it is also important to wash cloth items regularly. Cloth items such as throw blankets, stuffed animals, and bedding can be home to dust and germs you will want to remove. While many items are washed regularly as part of normal cleaning, it may be wise to increase the frequency of washing some of these. Wash them with a safe laundry soap that is sure to clean them while killing germs.
Cloth items that should be getting cleaned regularly:
- Throw Blankets - During the winter months it can be helpful to have throw blankets on couches for cooler weather. These throw blankets can easily become a source of germs in your home. Make sure these are getting washed and dried regularly during flu season.
- Stuffed Animals - Stuffed animals can be so treasured by children but they can also be a great hiding place for dirt and germs. Wash stuffed animals regularly to slow the spread of the flu virus.
- Backpacks/Bags - Backpacks and bags are surfaces where the flu virus can easily live and be brought into your home. Make sure you are washing these bags regularly. When cleaning backpacks, it can help to clean plastic binders and pencil cases.
- Bedding - Bedding should be getting changed regularly throughout the flu season. This will help to keep germs and dust at bay.
- Jackets/Sweaters/Masks - Jackets, sweaters, and masks can hold dirt and germs. Washing these regularly can help to control the amount of flu germs that enter your home.
Have a Plan for Shoes
One of the biggest ways germs are brought into homes is on the bottoms of shoes. Shoes can be a great tool for helping the virus to move into your home. While some will suggest taking off shoes at the door, others will handle shoes in another way. There are some simple ways to control the germs shoes bring in. Here are a few ways to plan for keeping shoes clean.
Tips for keeping shoes clean and germ free:
- Remove shoes when entering the home - One of the easiest ways to keep the home clean is to remove shoes when entering the home. This stops the germs at the door and prevents the germs being tracked throughout the house.
- Spray shoes with an all-purpose cleaner - Using an all purpose cleaner on shoes can help to remove some of the dirt and germs that are often transported on them.
- Have a storage solution for shoes - Because shoes tend to track germs into the house, it can help to have a Rubbermaid® tub to store them in or an option for storing shoes away from the common areas of the house such as a sealable bag or bin.
- Put shoes away immediately - When loading groceries and such into the house shoes can easily be kicked off and left out. By picking up shoes immediately, you will avoid the germs being tracked throughout the home.
Personal Hygiene Can Help
When trying to avoid the flu there are some simple personal hygiene approaches that can change everything. While cleaning the house can be a game changer, so can personal hygiene. The great thing about personal hygiene related prevention is that many of these options are fairly simple. Here are a few ways personal hygiene can help keep your home healthy during flu season.
Personal hygiene tips to keep your home healthy:
- Wash hands regularly - One of the best ways to help control the spread of flu germs is to wash hands regularly. Washing your hands for twenty seconds regularly and especially when first coming home can make a huge difference.
- Cover coughs and sneezes - Another big way to help keep your home healthy is by covering coughs and sneezes. This will limit further spreading of germs within the home.
- Get enough sleep - Sleep may seem like it’s not a flu fighter but it’s actually one of the best. Getting enough sleep allows your body to better fight off viruses.
- Stay hydrated - Drinking plenty of water can help your family to fight off the flu. Make sure to avoid sharing drink containers with other people.