If you've been staying at home more than usual these days, you've probably had more time to notice the dust bunnies hiding in the corners or the cobwebs that magically appear overhead. As you pull out your mop and other cleaning supplies, you may also be wondering how you can keep yourself and your family protected from illness.
While you may feel safe inside your own home, it's important to realize that the germs that cause dangerous diseases can infiltrate your private sanctuary in any number of ways. Even if you're confident that your home is really clean, a simple trip out for essentials like groceries or a doctor's appointment may open the door to invisible threats to your health and wellbeing.
While there's no need to panic, the health experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put together some tips on how to keep your house clean and healthy to reduce the risk of infection from hazardous illnesses.
Your Personal Space
If you're the one that ventured outside for a breath of fresh air, when you re-enter your home, make sure you don't bring in any potential contaminants with you. Take these steps to ensure those nasty bugs are neutralized:
- Wash and dry your hands. While antibacterial soap is no more effective than any other, using soap with warm water is the best way to remove natural oils that hold bacteria. It's recommended that you wash for 20 seconds and make sure to rub your skin to generate bubbles and shed those germs. Dry them completely and change hand towels every one to two days.
- Hand sanitizer. No access to soap and water? Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby. Rub a few drops over your hands (in between your fingers too) when entering and leaving stores, after blowing your nose, and whenever handling items that have been touched by others.
- Remove outdoor clothing. Reduce germ transmission from coats and shoes by leaving them at the front door or in a mud room area. Not only will invisible bacteria be sequestered, your floors will stay cleaner too. Keep a clean doormat outside each entrance and wash the bottom of your shoes often with soap and water.
- Wipe down items brought in. Things like groceries or even take-out food containers can be contaminated. Make sure you use alcohol cloths to wipe the outside of these items. Use separate sides of a clean countertop to place items once they're uncontaminated.
Best Cleaning Practices
With incubation periods for many viral infections lasting up to two weeks, removing dirt and impurities plus disinfecting surfaces may help to keep you and your family healthier. Here's what you can do:
- High-touch surfaces. Daily cleaning and disinfecting of things like doorknobs, light switches, tabletops, chairs, counters, appliance handles, faucets, toilets, and sinks. Clean with soap and water then use bleach-based or alcoholic solutions or wipes (at least 60%) to disinfect the areas. Use gloves to protect your skin from exposure to harsh chemicals.
- Soft surfaces. Carpets, rugs, draperies, upholstery, and mattresses should be cleaned once a week with a disinfectant spray. Use a sweeping motion to make sure the entire surface is covered and allowed to dry completely.
- Floors. You track a lot of nasty things in on the bottom of your feet every day, so you'll want to make sure to clean your floors often. Kitchen and bathroom areas should be mopped with a bleach mixture (1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water) for the best sanitization. Porous floors like hardwood should be cleaned with a vinegar solution (half a cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon of water) to protect the finish.
- Electronics. Now that you're working more from home or your kids are spending more time in front of the TV, you've got a lot of technology that should be disinfected too.
- Clean your computer keyboard and mouse by unplugging or removing batteries, turning upside down to remove loose debris, and then using disinfecting wipes over the keys and flat surfaces. Tip: Squeeze out excess liquid from wipes to avoid getting moisture into openings.
- TV remotes and cell phones can be a hotbed for germs. Just think about how many times you touch them and then touch your face. Wipe these off frequently throughout the day with antiviral wipes or sprays.
- Kitchen. You know how important it is to keep the kitchen area free from germs when you're cooking, but it's really vital to take things to the next level when fighting dangerous bacteria or viruses. In addition to wiping down all the surfaces each day with disinfecting spray, don't forget about your cutting boards and sponges. Run them through a sanitizing dishwasher cycle to kill germs and odors. Throw your clean sponges in the microwave on high for two minutes to destroy over 99% of pathogens. Make sure the sponges are wet, not dry.
- Laundry. Your washer and dryer can be the best appliances in your home to combat bacteria and virus-causing germs. Maximize sanitization by washing bed linens, towels, rugs and clothing regularly in hot, soapy water. Refrain from shaking out clothes before washing them to reduce the risk of spreading germs through the air.
High-efficiency furnaces are popular in today's homes and optional whole-house air filtration systems can really help remove airborne particles like bacteria, pollen, mold spores, and viruses. Ultraviolet air purification can also be added for an extra level of sanitization.
Did you know that a humidifier that adds moisture to the air can prevent your nasal passages from drying out and reduce the spread of cold and flu viruses? Keep the humidity level between 40 and 50% (a little lower in the winter) for a comfortable, healthy environment.
Puls—Keeping Your Home Appliances Healthy Too
Has your refrigerator stopped keeping food cold? Is your washer on the fritz? Let a Puls technician bring your appliances back to good health and working condition fast. We repair all makes and models of refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers and more.
Use our easy, online booking to schedule an appointment that works on your timetable, same day if needed. We're available 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays for your convenience. We take pride in our reasonable pricing and a 90-day guarantee that provides peace-of-mind that the job is done right.
Contact Puls today so you can breathe easy knowing your appliances will be working soon.