Keeping your home clean and organized should be a priority year-round, but with the current conditions surrounding the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, it has become even more important to make sure your home is clean and sanitized regularly. Experts are advising that you take extra steps to keep your home free of germs, not only to prevent illness but also to keep it from spreading if someone is already sick.
Some products such as bleach and bleach-based cleaners are typically not recommended for daily household cleaning but have shown effectiveness against killing viruses similar to the coronavirus. White vinegar is an alternative that has also shown effectiveness against viruses similar to COVID-19. The CDC recommends mixing ¼ cup of household chlorine bleach with one gallon of cool water. They also advise using products that say “disinfectant” on the label and include an EPA registration number.
We have put together a few more home health tips and recommendations for keeping your home and family healthy during this time, and throughout the year. For more information on how to best protect yourself in public places and at home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations have published several guidelines as well for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Clean and disinfect high traffic areas
The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting all high-traffic surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, sinks). After cooking, make sure to fully wipe down your kitchen with an anti-bacterial sanitizer to minimize spreading those microbes (like E. coli) around the rest of the house. In busy households, it’s especially important to wipe down common area doorknobs, tables, handles, and entertainment centers once a day, or every few days.
Store items in your bathroom properly
The human mouth contains hundreds of millions of microbes and when you brush, those microbes, and the bacteria that come with them, stick to your toothbrush. This makes it super important to store your toothbrush properly in order to avoid spreading the microbes from your saliva. After brushing your teeth it is suggested that you rinse your toothbrush and place it in an upright position since placing it on the counter can also cause it to come in contact with other germs. Placing it in a travel case can cause excess moisture where bacteria thrive and is, therefore, also not recommended.
Clean your cell phones, tech, and toys often
A University of London study found that approximately 80-percent of phones tested had harmful bacteria and viruses present, which may not be surprising considering the fact that we take our smartphones everywhere, from the kitchen to the bathroom. Being so, it is important that we keep our phones as clean as possible. Most phones are safe to clean with a microfiber or other lint-free cloth (check with your manufacturer) and if possible, consider using a 40/60 alcohol-to-water mixture with the cloth to wipe your phone.
Our phones aren’t the only things that harbor germs. In addition, be sure to wipe down your other tech devices, like iPads and laptops, and any toys lying around with a disinfecting product a few times a week to ensure they stay germ-free.
Create a ‘no shoes in the house’ policy
Where you go, your shoes go. Pollen, germs and other bacteria stick to your shoes, so when you walk into your house, these microbes come with you. Create a new household policy: no shoes in the house. Removing your shoes at the door will help keep these germs from spreading across your home.
Make sure everyone is washing their hands
The number one thing you can do to keep your home, your family, and yourself healthy is to make sure that everyone is washing their hands as much as possible. This means ensuring that any kids in your household understand the power that hand-washing has for killing viruses. It may sound redundant, but as a reminder, make sure to wet your hands, scrub everywhere with soap for at least 20 seconds, then rinse and dry well with a clean towel. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, but the CDC and WHO both recommended the former.
Wash your sheets and clothes often
We spend a lot of time in our bedrooms, so it is not surprising that this is a place where germs would congregate. Be sure to wash all bedding and clothes in hot water at least once a week. When it comes to the bedroom, you can also consider using an anti-allergy mattress wrap, which can keep mite-waste from contaminating your air. Other important preventative measures include mopping/vacuuming the floor, cleaning nightstands and surfaces with an antibacterial product weekly, and make sure to not let damp clothes or towels sit in a hamper longer than a day.