A sanitized home is a healthier home. It’s true, and it’s worth noting that sanitizing and cleaning isn’t the same thing. Regular cleaning is great for removing most germs, dirt, and impurities from your home, but sanitizing significantly reduces the level of germs to the point that your home would pass public health codes and regulations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best way to minimize the spread of virus-causing bacteria is to properly clean and disinfect the areas you frequent most. And while the CDC recommends regularly cleaning and sanitizing your home, it’s especially important when someone in your household is sick. Regular sanitization can help lower the risk of you or your family members getting sick or passing on an illness to another family member.
There are countless ways to sanitize the surfaces in your home. In this post, I’m sharing actionable tips on how to properly sanitize your home, what products to use, and how often to sanitize each area of your home.
12 Home Sanitizing Tips
Clean First, Then Disinfect
Cleaning is great, but you don’t want to stop there. To minimize the germs in your home, you want to clean first, then disinfect. Start by cleaning the surfaces. Remove any dust or debris by wiping with soap and water or an appropriate cleaning spray (more on that later) and a hand towel.
Then, apply a disinfectant. Again, make sure to use a disinfectant that is appropriate for the surface you are using it on. In most cases, you can use disinfecting wipes or disinfectant spray.
Sanitize High Touch Surfaces Every Day
These are the high touch surfaces in your home that need to be cleaned every day:
- Door frames
- Table surfaces
- Hard dining chairs
- Faucets and faucet knobs
- Toilets (seat and handle)
- Light switches
Use The Right Cleaning Agent To Clean Surfaces
For the most part, you can’t go wrong with soap and water. But when you want to truly sanitize and disinfect, you may enlist the help of a cleaning agent. In doing so, it’s important to use the right one. Some cleaning products are abrasive and can damage certain surfaces. Others are simply less effective on certain surfaces.
To make sure you’re using an appropriate cleaning product, read the label. You’re better off playing it safe and not using a product that could potentially damage the surface you’re cleaning.
Clean Your Washing Machine
If you do a lot of laundry in your house it’s important to make sure your washer is clean. An easy and effective way to keep your washing machine clean is to run it on empty with a cup of household bleach. If you do this at least once a week, it not only keeps your washing machine running optimally, but it ensures that your clothes get cleaner too. And remember, whenever you wash clothes, especially the clothes of someone who is sick, use the hot water setting and dry items completely.
Clean Your Dishwasher
To thoroughly clean your dishwasher, you’ll want to fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar and put it on the bottom of your empty dishwasher. Then, have your dishwasher run on a hot water cycle. The vinegar will break down any bits of food or soap scum that has built up inside your dishwasher, making it easier for you to clean.
You’ll also want to remove the racks and any detachable parts to clean off any residue and disinfect those as well. Depending on how often you use it, you should clean your dishwasher about once a month.
Wash Bed Linens In Hot Water
For the most thorough clean, wash your bed linens in the hottest water, on the heavy-duty cycle. This may not be the best option for all linens, so make sure to check the care instructions that come with your linens to find out the best way to keep them clean.
To keep your sheets and comforters as clean as possible, try to wash them at least once a week during cold and flu season.
Sanitize Your Gadgets
Think about how often you touch the gadgets in your home. Whether it’s your phone, your tablet, or the TV remote, chances are that you touch each gadget countless times every day. To effectively disinfect your favorite and most-used devices, use a disinfecting wipe or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Make sure you remove any cases or other accessories from your device and thoroughly wash those with soap and water.
You could also invest in a UV phone cleaner that is capable of cleaning other small things like the TV remote, your keys, or your glasses.
Scrub Your Sink
Most kitchen sinks are used often throughout the day, nearly every day, so it makes sense that you would want to keep yours clean. Wiping it down after each use is good for maintenance purposes, but for a deep, sanitizing clean, you want to use some elbow grease and really scrub it. That includes scrubbing around the drain, faucet, and knobs, as well as around edges where your sink meets your countertop.
For effecting cleaning and disinfection of your kitchen sink, consider using one of the many cleaning products designed specifically for the material your sink is made from. Whether it’s stainless steel, granite, or marble, the right disinfectant product will get the job done without scratching the surface.
Cleaning your countertops at least once a day with soap and water is a great way to keep your kitchen tidy. But remember, cleaning isn’t the same as sanitizing. To sanitize your countertops, you should spray them with isopropyl rubbing alcohol (at least 70%), then wipe them down with a clean cloth. You can also use disinfectant sprays.
Clean Your Floors
Keeping your floors clean is not only an effective way to reduce the spread of illness in your home, but it also makes a dramatic difference in the condition of your home. If you’re overwhelmed by the mess in your house and you only have time to clean one thing, focus on the floor. Whether it means vacuuming, sweeping, or mopping, a clean floor makes the entire house look and feel much cleaner.
Disinfect Bathrooms After Each Use By A Sick Person
If you have a sick person in your home, you want to limit the number of surfaces they come into contact with, to avoid spreading their illness to other members of your household.
Since you can’t exactly keep them from using the bathroom, you can give them their own bathroom to use while they’re sick, or you can disinfect surfaces in the bathroom after each time they use it. Try to encourage them to avoid touching surfaces unless necessary.
Just make sure to protect yourself while you’re disinfecting the area and thoroughly wash your hands with soap once you’re done.
Take Your Shoes Off Outside
This is an easy tip that may seem obvious to some, but if you’re used to wearing your shoes inside, it might be time for a change. When you wear your shoes inside the house, you bring dirt, debris, germs, and more from outside, to inside your home. This not only creates a bigger mess, but it potentially exposes members of your household to germs that could get them sick.
Microwave Your Cloths And Sponges
What’s the point in cleaning if you’re using dirty tools? You don’t have to throw away your cloths and sponges and resort to using paper towels, but you do want to make sure they’re clean.
All you have to do to make sure your go-to cloth or sponge is sterile is put it into the microwave for 30 seconds. Just 30 seconds is all it takes to remove any bacteria! Then, wait a minute or two before pulling it out and then they’re ready to use again. Depending on how often you use them, you should sterilize your cloths and sponges about once per week.
A clean home is a happier, healthier home.
You don’t have to aim for perfection, but following the tips mentioned above is a great way to dramatically reduce the amount of contaminants in your home. The hope is that with fewer germs, you and your family can spend more time together as a happy and healthy unit.
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