For about a week and a half, my youngest and I have had bad upper respiratory infections. While the doctor says that we are both past the point of being contagious, I still worry about anybody else coming into our home and getting sick. Additionally, I will be teaching at a Women’s ministry event in less than two weeks and my voice tends to give out at the tail end of an illness. More importantly, my husband has midterms for his 8 week classes soon and I’m desperate to keep him from getting sick too!
After scouring the internet for all the best ways to shorten the life of/combat the spread of flu, the best answer is a boring one; hygiene. Yup. Hand-washing, sanitizing surfaces in your house etc. Not only does this mean your family will pass germs around, but a lot of these household items get smelly when we are sick.
Here are a few VERY germy things you may have forgotten to clean after you got sick.
Toothbrushes Throw them away if you can, these things are crawling with your germs. But if you don’t want to spend the money on new toothbrushes, then put them in a bowl of boiling hot water for a few minutes. It aught to take care of most of the germs.
Handtowels near sinks, and cleaning towels Think about all the handwashing you’ve done, then think about how almost nobody washes their hands properly. That’s right, your hand towels are probably germ-city. Wash them, and wash all the cleaning towels you’ve been using during your run-in with the plague.
Fridge and pantry (If you got sick from food poisoning) If you got sick from food poisoning, it was probably due to improperly storing and handling food. Wash out your fridge and pantry with hot soapy water and a few drops of bleach. Throw out old food, or food that hasn’t been properly wrapped up. While you’re at it, check the temperature in your fridge and make sure that your fridge is actually cold enough to safely store food. 32-40° F (0-4 degrees Celsius)
Toys You can sanitize most toys in the dishwasher, or wash them by hand. Just make sure they dry properly so you don’t have a mold problem later. And use cleaners that are kiddo-safe.
Sheets, blankets, and pillowcases You’ve been languishing in bed the last few days, you know these are nasty. Just wash them all in hot water.
Rugs and carpets Get leftover allergens and dust out of your carpets that might prolong cold symptoms. And wash rugs, especially ones in bedrooms and bathrooms.
Toilet bowl Needs no explanation.
Trash cans and waste baskets In addition to the normal nastiness, your trashcans probably have grosser-than-normal items in there. Think about that paper wastebin next to your bed, it’s filled with used Kleenex. All your germy snot. Take out the trash, and wash these things out with hot soapy water and some bleach.
Coats, hats and mittens (in winter) I never even think of this, but my kids coats are probably covered in germs most of the time. But I only ever wash them when they get visibly dirty or smell funny. To make matters worse, my daughter has PICA and chews on her coat zipper. Groooossss. Clean them after somebody gets sick.
Purses and lunchboxes Obviously if you have a nice purse, you will want to do some research on how to properly clean it. But moms especially need to clean their purses regularly (how many used tissues have you shoved into your bag after wiping a kid’s nose?)
Door knobs Wipe them down with any germ-fighting cleaner and you are good to go.
Makeup Ladies, clean your makeup items regularly, but especially your recently used makeup items if you are sick. These products are used on very sensitive areas of your skin, near very delicate organs (like your eyeballs). Clean your brushes. Sanitize your products. And if you are sick with something highly contagious (like pinkeye) or it’s in a tube that can’t be sanitized. THROW IT AWAY. I don’t care if it’s Diorshow Mascara and it’s 30 dollars a tube. Throw. it. away.
What are some household items you like to clean after you’ve been sick? Share them in the comment section below!