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How to Keep Your Home Healthy (Even When You’re Not)

Category: Tips and Tricks

With cold and flu season now well underway, it’s important to know how to keep your home healthy (especially when you or someone in your home gets sick)! Here’s a handy checklist of what to focus on cleaning in your home to minimize the spread of illness:

First, brush up on facts and common myths around what it means to actually disinfect versus cleaning and sanitizing.

With disinfecting tools and supplies in hand, here’s what to hit room by room:

Kitchen Disinfect cabinet and drawer knobs, both large and small appliance handles, sink fixtures, countertops, table surfaces, chair backs and sides, light switches and plates, and trash receptacles (especially the ones where used tissues end up). Replace sponges, or, better yet, switch to reusable rags that you can launder in very hot water.

Bathroom As in the kitchen, focus on cabinet, drawer, and door knobs; sink, toilet, and shower handles; light switches; and small appliances such as hair dryers, straighteners, and shavers. Give waste baskets a good scrub and replace toothbrushes. Make sure the person who is sick has their own towel for drying hands!

Living areas Focus on banisters, light switches, and door knobs; TV and other clickers; video-game controllers, computer keyboards, mice, and trackpads; mobile electronic devices (with the caveat that most disinfectants will be too harsh and potentially damaging for touch-screens), phone cords, and chargers; and washable toys. Tables are also popular hangouts for cold and flu germs, so clean any dining, coffee, end, and play tables that see high use.

Bedrooms Launder all bedding—plus washable stuffed animals–in the hottest possible water. Disinfect light switches, nightstand surfaces, closet and door knobs, and bureau handles.

Outside Don’t forget the knobs on doors leading into your home! Also, disinfect key fobs, and—in cars—door handles, seat-belt buckles, and steering wheels.

Finally, try to avoid touching your face and eyes, wash your hands often, and encourage family and guests to do the same!