9 things to clean after cold or flu

When someone has a cold or the flu in the house, a thorough clean will help protect your family and refresh your home. Try my simple, inexpensive and effective homemade options.

Has the winter cold and flu bug hit your house? When we have someone sick in the house, I try to avoid exposing it to other family members. There are particular things I clean after cold or flu, to disinfect during and once the sneezing, coughing and or vomiting is over.

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.


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 fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine. 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:

  • sheets
  • pillows
  • quilts/doona covers
  • towels
  • hand towels

However, I do tend to give the person who’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 as 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. My homemade  antibacterial wipes are ideal for this. 


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. Add Laundry Cleanser to the wash to help kill bacteria. 
TipUV 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 or cloth with antibacterial cleaner to clean the following surfaces:

  • taps
  • sink
  • vanity surfaces
  • light switch
  • door handle
  • toilet
TipWith 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!

6. toothbrush

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 peace 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.

TipIf you have a little one who is biting on a teething ring, you could follow this step to clean the ring.

7. electronic devices

Phones, tablets and 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. loungeroom cushions and throws

For those who 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. Add Laundry Cleanser to the wash to help kill bacteria and dry in the sunshine. 

If you find yourself with a blocked nose try adding 2-5 drops of winter rescue essential oil to water in a diffuser to ease the stuffiness.

TipAlso 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.


Spary your rubbish bins with vinegar to disinfect as they have been filled with germ-filled tissues.

Tip: A few drops of Eucalyptus oil to a tissue will help clear a blocked nose.

We offer a huge variety of hand-selected organisation, storage, cleaning, kitchenwares, homewares and more all to help make life easier at home, all delivered to your door.

Lively Living Aroma Snooze Sleep Aid Vaporiser
Lively Living Winter Rescue Remedy Essential Oil
Fabulosa 4 in 1 Disinfectant 500mL


An all-natural chest rub recipe that uses essential oils, making it delicate enough for the whole family and perfect for the upcoming cold and flu months. Continue Reading


We mothers like to consider ourselves as toughHowever, we are not invincible, and in the blink of an eye we can become run down and exhausted. Continue Reading

You may also like


Jacki July 20, 2016 - 8:11 AM

This is awesome, just what I need to read, 2 kids sick at the moment and I was wondering if I needed to clean anything to stop the germs from going everywhere. Ta.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 20, 2016 - 9:44 AM

It will help stop other family members picking up germs and will freshen up the house too.

Melissa @ All Around Oz July 20, 2016 - 9:36 AM

Great tips….touch wood I have avoided the flu so far this year and the kids have only had a mild cold each! Even so about to go and open some windows and let the fresh air in!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 20, 2016 - 9:43 AM

So lucky to avoid it! I love the fresh air, instantly makes a room feel so much better. Youngest just came back from camp last night, she was a little sniffly so hopefully it doesn’t get too bad.

Emma R July 20, 2016 - 9:48 AM

I never even thought about cleaning toothbrushes after being sick, I’m going to do right now.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 21, 2016 - 8:31 AM

it’s the little things like this that germs like to sit on too 🙂

Mandy July 22, 2016 - 1:55 PM

Pretty sure that the person who is sick develops antibodies for whatever illness they had, so not necessary to clean their toothbrush to stop them re-infecting themselves. However if the toothbrush sits in a cup with those belonging to other family members then it might prevent the germs spreading from one brush to another.

Louisa July 20, 2016 - 10:59 AM

Great tips, I love the smell of eucalyptus spray this through the house often.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 21, 2016 - 8:32 AM

it is a beautifully fresh smell, it reminds me of my childhood days running around my old primary school

Louise July 20, 2016 - 11:17 AM

Just pop your toothbrushes in the dishwasher cutlery basket and clean them along with your everyday washing up! – and do it regularly (eg: once a week) to help keep them bacteria-free 🙂

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 21, 2016 - 8:33 AM

I never considered this method, thanks for the tip Louise 🙂

Cindy July 20, 2016 - 11:20 AM

Love your cushions, where are they from?

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 21, 2016 - 8:34 AM

they are from last season at Pillow Talk, beautifully bright colours aren’t they!

Chris Ann July 20, 2016 - 1:02 PM

I think it is really important to keep the use of commercial disinfectants to an absolute minimum. Bacteria and viruses can readily build up resistance to these products, necessitating the use of stronger and stronger chemicals over time. This is why the risk of infection with “superbugs” has become such an issue in our hospitals. The overuse of antibiotics has had the same effect. However, germs,like us, cannot survive and multiply without moisture so keeping all surfaces [including toothbrushes] as clean and dry as possible is just as effective as using chemicals – and safer in my opinion.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 21, 2016 - 8:35 AM

I didn’t realise they build up resistance to chemicals that’s really interesting to know thank you for sharing your insights and great tips Chris 🙂

Chris Ann July 20, 2016 - 1:04 PM

PS Plenty of fresh air and sunlight is as effective as most chemicals too!

Lyndsey July 20, 2016 - 1:09 PM

Thanks for this! I’m sick with tonsillitis 🙁 need to change the sheets but the other set are dirty too. Going to wash now and spray around with glen 20…

Ros July 21, 2016 - 7:37 AM

Good old Glen 20! I swear by it.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 21, 2016 - 8:36 AM

Hope you feel better soon Lyndsey.

Darlene Brown March 15, 2019 - 7:50 AM

I live in Alabama in the USA and right now the Bradford pear trees are blooming. We cannot open our windows because of all the pollen.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife March 20, 2019 - 9:08 AM

oh no! how long will that last for?


Leave a Comment