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CSP Spotlight: 10 Things to Clean After Your Family Has the Flu or Cold

05 Mar 2018 DCL Staff

Has your family been battling the flu or colds this season? If so, once everyone gets well, you’ll need to take some steps to clean the house. Here’s what to do:


1.      Bedding, blankets, and other “sick” clothes.


Be sure to check for and treat any stains prior to washing.  Run everything on the hottest temperature that the material allows, but be sure not to overload washing machine.  Pillows can be washed in washing machine – just be sure to follow care instructions.


2.      Your Mattress


Leave those sheets off all day if you can, and open the windows {if possible} and all of the blinds in the room to allow some fresh air and sunlight to hit it.  You can give it a light misting with the water/essential oil mix but ensure that you are not saturating the mattress and allow it to dry completely before putting the bedding back on.


3.      The Bathroom


If you have multiple bathrooms, try to confine the sick parties in your house to one bathroom only.  This will help to prevent the spread of the illness as well as make your clean up much quicker and easier.  The bathroom will need a good cleaning and disinfecting after illness – especially the sink, faucets, toilet, and toilet handle.


4.      Your Toothbrush


If you have a disposable toothbrush that you have used for a while, you may just want to throw it away and get a new one.  For newer or more expensive toothbrushes, add some hydrogen peroxide to a cup {enough to completely submerge the bristles} and allow to soak for 30 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly with water when you are done.


5.      Towels


Try to change towels daily during an illness and make sure that everyone has their own set.  You may want to try temporarily using paper towels instead of hand towels to make things a little easier and remember to encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.  Once the illness is over, gather up all towels and wash at the highest possible temperature.  You can add some vinegar to the laundry load if you have some smelly towels or add some to your fabric softener dispenser for fluffier towels.


6.      Stuffed Animals and Toys


Stuffed animals can be tossed into the washing machine with the other bedding to give it a thorough cleaning or you can give them a good steaming if they are too delicate to run through the washing machine.  For hard surfaced toys, use the small scrub brush attachment on the steamer to give them a little scrub and steam, and then wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.  Alternatively, you can place them in the top rack of the dishwasher {place small items in a mesh laundry bag} and run them through a cycle.


7.      Hard Frequently Touched Surfaces


Germs survive the longest on hard, non-porous surfaces so try to wipe these down frequently during an illness with a disinfectant or give them a steam and a wipe with a microfiber cloth.  These can include light switches, door knobs, railings, or any other surface that you frequently touch.


8.      Electronic Devices


Wipe down all electronic devices that have been used such as phones, cell phones, computers, tablets, keyboards, and t.v. remotes using a disinfectant wipe, cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol, or a slightly damp microfiber cloth using hydrogen peroxide.  Allow to air dry.


9.      Waste Baskets


Your garbage cans have probably held a wide variety of nasty things during an illness so don’t forget to give them a good clean once you have emptied them.  You can either give it a good steam or spray with a disinfectant {leaving it for at least a few minutes} before scrubbing.  It is obviously helpful if you can remember to line them with a plastic bags to help contain any germs prior to anything being put in there.


1   The Kitchen


Try as much as possible to keep sick children out of the kitchen.  While everyone is sick, wipe down the refrigerator door handle and any other frequently used cabinet/drawer handles daily with a disinfecting wipe or rubbing alcohol pad.  Once everyone is feeling better, clean countertops, fridge, and sink.  Also clean the cupboard handles and drawer pulls.


Community Service Programs of West Alabama (CSP), Inc.’s Head Start/Early Head Start, Child Care Partnership, and Early Intervention programs engage families and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Safe and healthy children are ready to learn and explore their world.





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