‘Tis the season for nasty colds, viruses, and flus, including such hard-to-get-rid-of bacteria as chickenpox and strep. Once you—or your family member—is completely over whatever bug bit them, try a few of these how-to tips to get your home spic and span and back to sterile condition:
Step 1: Get shopping
To get your home clean from top to bottom, you’ll want to make a trip to your local grocery store. Pick up several cleaning rags as well as disinfectant sprays and liquids (Lysol has several good options in both categories). Stock up on garbage bags and mops as well.
Step 2: Develop a cleaning action plan
This job is going to require a lot of time and patience on your part, so before you get cleaning, sit down and create an action plan on how you’re going to tackle each task. The best idea is to start by emptying garbage bins of any tissues you or your family used when they were sick. Toss toothbrushes and remove sheets from beds (put them in the washer and dryer immediately on a hot water cycle to kill bacteria). Put any dishes that were used over the sick period in the dishwasher (on an extra-hot cycle). Now it’s time to move from room to room, disinfecting as you go.
Step 3: Start with surfaces
The first thing you should do is to wipe down any and all surfaces you or your ill family member could have touched. This includes light switches, door handles, doors, walls, crown molding, art, chairs, countertops, remote controls, computer keyboards, etc. Use your antibacterial wipes to clean all of these surfaces. For anything like garbage cans or sinks, rinse them with an antibacterial liquid. For longer, flatter surfaces, like countertops, use a disinfectant spray.
Step 4: Move to floors
Once all of the surfaces in a room are clean, it’s time to clean your floors. Mix your disinfecting liquid with water, grab a mop, and start scrubbing.
Step 5: Seal rooms
Once you’ve fully cleaned a room from top to bottom, seal it from human activity; shut the door. Better yet, if you’re home cleaning and other family members are with you, ask them to take a shower before entering any room that’s been completely disinfected (this will ensure that if germs are still present on their bodies that they don’t recontaminate the space).