Has the winter cold and flu bug hit your house? Two out of my three kids have been sick, the poor poppets, my fingers are crossed that’s it for the season. When we have someone sick in the house, I try to avoid exposing it to other family members, there are things to clean after cold or flu, to disinfect during and once the sneezing, coughing and or vomiting is over.
9 things to clean after cold or flu in the home
It’s important to prevent the spreading of germs for everybody in the home by frequently washing your hands with soap and water and keeping areas and surfaces within the home clean. You can purchase antibacterial cleaners from the supermarket. However, if you don’t have them on hand, are in no mood to go out or want to eliminate the use of chemicals, try these very simple, inexpensive and effective homemade options which I have shared below.
1. Air out the house, let the fresh air in
Open the curtains and windows to allow in that refreshing air and sunshine, instantly energising any room by removing the old musty smell that lingers with the bug.
Fevers and high temperatures are common when you are unwell, which can result in excess sweating which bacteria will then linger over.
Wash these linens in warm water in the washing machine along with your regular washing detergent. To help disinfect the linens add 1 cup of vinegar with 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to the washing machine as it’s filling with water. Tea Tree Oil is a natural solution to disinfect laundry with significant antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. Vinegar also acts as a natural disinfectant, killing germs, bacteria or mould present in the linens and removes soap residue. I like to use vinegar instead of fabric softener. Wash the following linens:
- quilts/doona covers
- hand towels
However, I do tend to give the person that’s sick a fresh towel and pillow case every day.
Tip: Once the sickness has gone I wash the pillow inserts. Pillows can go through the gentle cycle in the washing machine, I then lay pillows on top of my washing line to dry in the sunshine, this will disinfect them.
3. Frequently touched places
Door handles, light switches, the remote control, fridge handle, the kettle and all those other areas that get touched often can get a build up of dirt and germs. Wipe over these surfaces with an antibacterial wipe.
4. Stuffed teddies
Being sick is the time that the teddy bears become very well-loved by the kids, being held close to the chest to capture all germs from sneezes and coughs. I usually throw the soft toys and teddies into the wash along with the bed linens and hang on the washing line to dry.
Tip: UV from the sun kills bacteria quite effectively. Sunlight will reduce the overall amount of bacteria living on your fabrics, but it won’t sterilise them.
Germs can linger on most areas of the bathroom, use an antibacterial wipe to clean the following surfaces:
- vanity surfaces
- light switch
- door handle
Tip: With upset tummies and/or vomiting when unwell the loo room may have an unpleasant smell. Freshen the room naturally by using a natural essential oil like Eucalyptus oil (I love Eucalyptus because of its antiseptic properties).
Simply add a few drops of your favourite oil to the inside of the cardboard toilet roll to freshen up the entire bathroom!
Read more: How to clean a smelly toilet.
I haven’t researched it completely, so I am unsure if germs left behind on your toothbrush after being sick will cause you to get sick again, however, I disinfect toothbrushes purely for my own piece of mind. Let the toothbrush soak in an antibacterial solution for a few hours, try any of the following methods:
- a cup of vinegar;
- a cup of mouthwash, or
- 10 drops of tea tree oil with a cup of water.
This will kill most bacteria and germs on the toothbrush.
Tip: If you have a little one that is biting on a teething ring, you could follow this step to clean the ring.
7. Electronic Devices
Phones, tablets, iPads over time get a build up of dirt and grime on the screens, outside and within the cases. You can only imagine the germs covering these devices, so it’s important to give them a regular clean, especially after you have been sick. Follow this method to clean electronic devices.
8. Lounge room cushions and throws
For those that like to lay on the couch while unwell, you may need to consider cleaning cushions or throws that have used by somebody unwell, to wash away any remaining germs.
If you find yourself with a blocked nose try adding 3 drops of tea tree oil to water in a vaporiser to ease the stuffiness.
Tip: Also consider using lavender oil in the vaporiser. It is well recognised for its ability to relieve nervous tension and sleeplessness, it will also provide temporary relief to headaches and will help you relax.
9. Rubbish Bins
If you don’t line your rubbish bins it would be a good idea to disinfect them as they can be filled with germ filled tissues. I use the grocery shopping bags to line our small rubbish bins.
Tip: a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to a tissue will help clear a blocked nose.
Read more posts about cold and flu:
- 7 ways for mum to rest when she’s feeling sick
- Effective uses for eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender oil
- Lemon and Honey Tea recipe
- What to stock up on for flu season
- Help stop the spreading of germs from coughs and sneezes
- How to keep the house tidy when mum’s sick
What areas in your home do you clean after the cold or flu?