Sick woman at home in bed

We’ve all been through it -- you or another member of your household is battling an illness and you are hyper-aware of the potential spread of germs to anyone and everyone (and everything) in your living quarters.

How to ... disinfect your house after sickness

Here are ways to "divide and conquer" during and after an illness so you can once again enjoy a healthy environment in your own abode.

Coryanne Ettiene of Housewife Bliss was a natural choice to offer some insight on getting your house back into healthy shape after a battle with fierce illness or even a 48-hour bug. She knows the ins and outs of keeping your home fresh and friendly any time of the year.

"With three small children, the first sign of a cold or illness is an early warning sign that within days our home will be a living laboratory of germs, viruses and aliments," Ettiene says. "Daily disinfecting is standard practice in a home like ours, and deep disinfecting is vital to ensure that we don't circle back to enjoy round two of the same illness!’

Follow these easy and helpful steps from Ettiene:

vinegarStep1: Use vinegar

Vinegar is a natural and inexpensive way to combat household colds and illness. "When our home is overrun by an illness, I fill a spray bottle with 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water, and use it to disinfect every kitchen and bathroom surface," says Ettiene. If you are sensitive to the aroma, mix in the juice of 1/2 lemon to balance the smell.

Step 2: Remember your laundry room

Be sure to give your laundry baskets a cleaning with your vinegar solution, then wash your towels, linens and bedding on a "hot" temperature setting to kill any lingering germs.

Step 3: Harness the power of the sun

With warmer days here, the sun is the best defense against the spread of germs. Placing comforters, rugs, pillows and even smaller mattresses outside in the direct sunshine is a great way to burn away the germs.

Tea tree oil

We are big fans of tea tree oil, and it is especially effective if you have sick people in your house, as it is a natural antibacterial and antifungal, and cleans and freshens without any chemical additives.

Here are steps to use tea tree oil to disinfect your home:

tea tree oilStep 1: Disinfect with your vacuum

Take a few cotton balls, apply several drops of undiluted tea tree oil to them and place them in your vacuum cleaner bag.

Step 2: Keep a spray bottle handy

Fill a spray bottle with 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water and keep it on hand so you can spray the air to disinfect and leave a fresh smell. You can also use this solution (add a few drops of liquid soap if you like) to wipe down kitchen counters (test on small area first) and anything in the bathroom; it is also fantastic on floors.

Step 3: Deal with frequently touched surfaces

Remember computer keyboards, toys, doorknobs and railings are things you and your family touch frequently and will need to be disinfected regularly. Also remember your toothbrush -- when you’ve been sick it is a good idea to soak it in hydrogen peroxide to kill any lingering germs.

Note: It is also important to build up the immune systems of all your housemates after an illness. Consuming foods with probiotic properties, such as yogurt with live cultures, kimchi and drinks such as Good Belly are ideal, along with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Just because you or a loved one has been sick, don’t think you’ve lost the battle against germs! You can deep-clean your living space and provide a fresh, clean environment when you follow the tips offered here.

More home how-tos

How to stop a running toilet
How to make your own natural cleaning products
How to deal with home pests



Comments on "How to disinfect your house after sickness"

Tamie June 28, 2013 | 8:30 AM

Just an FYI...if you have had norovirus (stomach flu) going through your house, vinegar is not going to kill it. I have not come across anything proving that tee tree will either. Norovirus is very difficult to kill. Even disinfecting wipes do not kill it! You need to use a bleach solution or a specialized cleaner that specifically states it kills norovirus on the container. Lysol spray (but not their other products) kills it if you totally saturate the surface for long enough, and also we like to use a product called "Spray Nine."

Elle June 20, 2012 | 12:33 PM

That feeling of icky when someone has been sick is the worst. Everything needs to come out, get dusted of and sprayed down. When my brother and I were younger there were a couple of times when someone's cold or flu would disappear for a week and then come back to haunt us because we hadn't washed the sheets or towels or something.

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