{Cleaning} When you are sick

I have been a little sick recently, flu’s, headaches, just the winter blues all round, like everybody else.  It’s not a great feeling when you are sick.  I like to lie on the couch and catch up on my favourite TV shows and rest.  Resting is the best medicine.

I have received many messages recently asking, how do I keep on top of my housework while I am sick, or looking after a sick little one.  Below are my top tasks to complete to ensure that it won’t get on top of you.


  • If you can, put a load of washing in the washing machine, turn on
  • If you are not up to putting it out, ask your hubby or kids to put the load on the line.  Otherwise, put in the dryer
  • Washing doesn’t need to be folded, just clean and dry each day


  • At the end of the day get hubby or the kids to do the dishes for you.  If this isn’t an option, try and do a quick wash.  Not a complete kitchen clean, just the dishes.

I find if these 2 tasks don’t get completed it’s an overwhelming task to get the house back into order when I am fit and well again.

But hubby never helps

I am sadly hearing this often lately, a lot of readers don’t have the help of their partner around the house.  Be it that he works long hours (understandable) or it’s just not his thing to help around the house.  But when you are sick I hope that you can help him find some desire to help you make those few day’s a little easier. {image credit}.

If you find it hard to get hubby to help around the house, as hard as it may be, try not to criticise him and be thankful for the effort, then maybe he may just do it again for you 🙂  image credit unknown

What do you do when your feeling sick?

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happyhousewifey August 22, 2011 - 11:32 PM

I just focus on clothes washing & dishes too, and just do a bit at a time so not overwhelming. I try to rinse dishes & pack the dishwasher as I go, so it doesn’t build up (we are so lucky to have one of these!) and then just do a few of the most essential handdishes when I feel up to it (eg. sippa cups, kids bowls & cutlery tend to be most important).

I try to plan my meals so that there aren’t extra handdishes, but use things that can go in dishwasher.

Alyce B August 23, 2011 - 4:06 AM

Yep, I’ve got a good ‘un who picks up the slack (and who normally does heaps anyway) if I’m sick. I can usually at least throw a load in the washing machine then into the dryer and then I usually just keep up with the kiddies and leave the rest for hubby! Nappies, feeding, lunches, naps, etc are usually enough for me!

Norlin August 23, 2011 - 7:23 AM

When I get sick, I get hubs to help out. I know he can stack the dishwasher or do the dishes even. Laundry, well he can do that, but not fold, not that he can’t fold, he just doesn’t like doing it but then again who does!? So he’s pretty good around the house when I’m down, because he knows I need a day to recover so that life can resume as normal again. 🙂

HereWeGoAJen August 22, 2011 - 11:39 PM

I tend to be desperately ill and moaning for only a few days (probably about a day and a half on average), so I ignore the laundry and vacuuming and such completely when I am sick. I drag myself around at the end of the day and put everything away because I do not like clutter. (I also avoid a lot of mess by letting my two year old watch unlimited television when I am sick. She rarely gets that, so she thinks she’s won the lottery and barely moves all day.) My husband’s job is to provide takeout for dinner and we eat it right out of the containers which go right in the trash, so there are very few dishes. Luckily, we aren’t sick that often.

Lisa Warren August 22, 2011 - 11:52 PM

I am really lucky that I have one of those hubbies that goes above and beyond when it comes to cooking and cleaning, so its me that has to step up to the plate when he’s feeling poorly. You’re right though…having the dishes and washing done are two simple tasks that can make a huge difference!

Jodie Thompson August 23, 2011 - 10:23 AM

I am very fortunate that Mr T does more housework than I do and because I work full time, I choose to invest in a cleaner for 2 hours a week to help stay on top of everything and free up time for us as a family. Would be lost without either of these!

Julia K August 23, 2011 - 12:24 AM

Having a couple of meals in the freezer is a godsend when you are not feeling well. I try and do as many “double ups” as I can of things like Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Parmigiana etc to build up a supply in the freezer.

Ethro17 August 23, 2011 - 1:20 AM

one foot in front of the other until kids bedtime so i can completely veg out infront of tv

Belinda August 23, 2011 - 1:34 AM

Im also lucky and get my husband and family to help out when i am sick (i have been for the last few days). I just do a general clean and make sure everything looks tidy. Everything else can wait. I have a 13 week old daughter so need to make sure i stay well for her sake.

carlisworld August 23, 2011 - 2:01 AM

As a mother of 6, when someone gets sick it generally goes around the entire family and I end up with sometimes up to 3 weeks of every day having someone home in bed. I dont often catch it, though when I do I get REALLY sick. I find the slow cooker a godsend as I can throw in some meat, vegies etc in the morning and dinner is sorted. My husband is very helpful with the laundry, bathrooms, floors and things and my boys ( 13,14&15) help with dishes school lunches and even Ironing school uniforms. Luckily we have only all been dreadfully ill at the same time once, in which case all you can do is the basics, and pray it will all be over soon!!

Cyndii September 19, 2012 - 9:31 AM

As a mum of 7, aged 14,13,10,8,6,3 and 12 months i can totally relate to this!!
We have just gone through a month of sickness with a nasty virus that affected the WHOLE family,& kids and 2 parents who could barely raise their heads off the pillows.
Then just as i start getting the them back to school is stages my littlest one gets chicken pox!!!!
That was not pleasant and i felt i was completely depleted of energy and the house was a bombsite.
The boys however pitched in with dishes and meals (i guess even sick teenage boys need food 😉 )
They cooked jaffles and spag bol and heated canned soup.
And then they learned to use the washing machine (they put everything thru the dryer but it got done) so everyone had clean school clothes and towels while i was taking care if the last of the ill ones.
It makes you proud when they can function somewhat on their own 😀

Sam September 19, 2012 - 1:58 PM

Wow mum of 7!! You must be super woman! I am never going to complain about having 3 kids ever again ;D

Anonymous August 23, 2011 - 4:31 AM

I’m very lucky that hubby will always (and when I say always, I mean 80% of the time) help out when I’m sick, although luckily thats only been once this year! (touch wood!!) We have to as a minimum do washing once a day, otherwise with a family of 7, 2 of those which are toilet training, can make for a lot of washing to have to do!

Mypigeonpairblog August 23, 2011 - 5:15 AM

I have an amazing hubby who always helps out around the house! For me it is tidy floor and kitchen bench everything else can wait!

projectivist August 25, 2011 - 11:37 AM

I think that you mean “you’re”?

What do you do when you’re feeling sick?

Fiona Collins September 19, 2012 - 9:18 AM

If you have so much time in YOUR day to be so critical of such a small thing I could use some help packing boxes before we move house… Put your time to better use gee.

Irene Lucia March 27, 2019 - 3:34 AM

Yes!!!!! ???

Asherkate August 29, 2011 - 1:49 AM

Sigh i push through it i have to lol Hubby wont offer to help & i f i ask him to he will do it but half heartly so i dont bother. The only time he has been fantastic at the house work is when i am in hospital & his left to play mummy for a week 🙂 But in all fairness im sick to often to expect him to help every time & am in hospital at least once every 8weeks kidney problems. But i hire a cleaner if im to ill to do a big clean alos my dish washer & dyrer is my best friend lol

Alyce October 27, 2011 - 10:00 AM

Thankfully my hubby is amazing. He’s a better housewife than I am! Although cleaning the kitchen is my domain, apparently. We have a dishwasher, but while I try to put dirty dishes in as soon as they’re done with, he’ll stack them by the sink. Or even right next to the dishwasher *smacks head* But, he cooks. Amazing food. So I guess I can bite my tongue and hold back the sigh and stack the dishwasher! Hope you get better soon xx

Suzanne June 21, 2013 - 8:32 AM

My hubby is the same about putting dirty dishes on the counter above the dishwasher. He has a bad back and is 6’4″ tall PLUS I have a certain way of putting them in so it’s all good. I don’t mind.

Davidlisa April 10, 2012 - 8:41 AM

My Husband is fantastic!! My 2 infants and my husband and myself all got the flu, we were all feeling crappy, and you know what it is like when you have 2 sick babies as well as yourself to look after. My husband did dishes, helped bath and fed the babies and pick up their toys that had been spread across the lounge room floor. It is so good to have the help and support of a loving husband. We didnt do much cooking at all because we felt so bad, but we did have a few meals in the freezer that we just defrosted. It pays to have frozen meals that you have cooked earlier.

Suzanne June 21, 2013 - 8:30 AM

I agree about the frozen meals…what do people do without one?! Bet you and hubby tell each other daily how much you love and appreciate one another. Teamwork!

Judy September 19, 2012 - 9:13 AM

Hope you feel better soon, I have had the flu bug for last week and not been able to do much at all, keeping all the challenge notes so I can get back on track as soon as energy levels improve.

Jacqui Ish James September 19, 2012 - 9:17 AM

I’m husbandless, so if I’m really ill the house goes to ruin.
Luckily for me, my Dad came last time I was very ill to watch the kids and he even washed my dishes while I slept <3

Kat September 19, 2012 - 9:28 AM

As a single mum I don’t have a partner to help out but have the amazing support of my mum & sisters. I’m rarely sick but when I was the other week they took my kids (except baby) so I could sleep.
Hope you’re feeling better asap 🙂

Karen September 19, 2012 - 9:33 AM

I was so sick this year with a bug that my partner had to take 2 days off work to just look after me and our three kids, two off which are at home. Thank god he did cause I could barely lift my head little own a broom or mop or even a sponge. While I was sick he did everything, right from breakfast in the morning to dinner at night along with all the cleaning in between, and he even took the kids to the park in the day so I could get some sleep, thankfully I don’t get sick very often though.

Leonie September 19, 2012 - 9:49 AM

Thanks for sharing. Its nice ti know everyone else is human tio The kids and I are sick at the moment with hubby just coming down with it. I focus on doing what I can and only what’s driving me batty. There’s lots of tv watching, a couple of washing loads (we use mcns so lots of washing), make sure we have kids clean dishes and toys are kicked to the sides of the room. Hubby is brilliant and managed to come home early this morning. We’re both parents in this house and both do whatever is needed. One of the many reasons I love him 🙂

Julie-anne Smith September 19, 2012 - 10:07 AM

It depends on how sick I am but normally I do try and get my basics done but I don’t do it all at once. So I might get up and put the washing on, have a rest, get up do the floors, have a rest, clean the kitchen etc. However, when I have been really bad I have been lucky that hubby has chipped in off his own back. MInd you the last dinner he cooked for us was french fries, spaghetti and smoked salmon… well as he said at least the kids ate it… lols

JessM September 19, 2012 - 12:20 PM

I am extremely thankful for my husband. If I’m feeling under the weather he sends me to bed, looks after our baby and gets any outstanding housework done xx

Bek September 19, 2012 - 1:05 PM

So jealous of all you lucky folks with helpful hubbies. Treasure every moment. As a widow with a 2yo and 4yo it is very hard when I get sick – the support is not an option. I look forward to reading any other tips you might have on managing the household when sick or even working long hours myself!

Sharon Young September 19, 2012 - 3:31 PM

Last time I was sick enough that the housework wasn’t getting done, I was still breast feeding. My husband was able to take 2 days off work and because I was still breastfeeding newborn he did everything including bringing my baby in for his feeds. When I felt well enough to get out of bed my husband had bathed and put both kids to bed done the dishes and tidied away all the toys from the day. He even cooked himself dinner (no way I was eating) and put on a load of washing. I am very lucky.

Suzanne June 21, 2013 - 8:28 AM

Now THAT’S what husbands and fathers are SUPPOSED to do. My hubby is that kind of man. We are blessed. I appreciate my fella and tell him everyday how much I love him. He picks up after himself and tidies away things that may need a tidy without being asked….EVER! Once, I asked him how he manages to be so unlike other fellas. His answer: “I live here too! It’s our house and you are NOT a maid!” I adore him! He can cook (not always healthiest stuff but he cooks). He knows how to run the laundry machines. It’s a wonderful life when you work together as a team, pulling in the same direction. He says: “You’re not a housewife…you’re MY wife and partner.” What’s not to adore?

Suzanne from Kelowna, BC, CANADA

PS Ladies! Watching your fella fold laundry is DEAD SEXY!!!!!

Lisa September 20, 2012 - 6:24 AM

I so needed this today, as I have been really ill for a few days. Have just found some strength to put on a load of washing! Thank you 😀

Krystal April 26, 2016 - 11:41 PM

Thank you so much for not saying “it’s OK to let things go” because I can’t concentrate or relax in a house that’s trashed.

Jennifer Coe February 17, 2018 - 4:06 AM

This is me…right now. Day 3 of flu. First day I feel I can get up and around and it’s like a BOMB in here!!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 19, 2018 - 9:53 AM

Oh sorry to hear you are not well. Hopefully you can take the time to rest and recover quickly

Cindy June 11, 2020 - 10:22 AM

I’ve been extremely sick for many years. If my husband didn’t have a good job and a good attitude about it, I’d have asked for disability by now. Some days I shuffle holding walls to go to the toilet and back to bed or a chair and that’s all I can manage. Sometimes that level of function lasts for weeks. They tell me it’s ME/CFS or “chronic fatigue” probably triggered by undiagnosed Celiac disease and Migraines that were diagnosed when I was 30 but started 10 years before that. I could go on, tell you all about each thing, all the allergies, the gut issues, etc. But the point is, this isn’t just a one week or even two week cold.

My husband helps, thank God. After all these years, he’s got the laundry and the dishes and the trash and the cat litter all squared away. The problem is, I’m allergic to dust and anything beyond those four tasks registers in his mind as a “project” and hiring someone to do it registers as “his failure.” So I find myself cleaning one shelf of dust. And then crashing for the rest of the day, maybe for more than one day. And it’s not fast enough. I never get to all the dust. And the symptoms never go away. I can’t keep up. I was hoping to find some more ideas for, what if I was living alone? What if I was the only one? Would I just move out and live in my tent? Would I hire someone? Is there some technique I’m missing? Like maybe ripping out all the carpets so there’s less dust?

I have visions of tearing out all the carpets. Where does this dust all come from? Can I prevent it? It’s killing me.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 11, 2020 - 12:25 PM

Hi Cindy, I am so sorry to hear that you’re struggling like this – but how fabulous that your husband gets in and helps out so much. I would suggest trying a purifier or a humidifier to try and minimise the dust and moisture in your home. You could check out one of these product here.


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