What to Clean in Your Home After You’ve Been Sick

With cold and flu season here (along with a pandemic), it’s nearly inevitable that germs will invade your home.  When you or someone in your household gets sick, the first priority is getting better. Even if the sick person successfully isolates in one area, the germs, virus, or bacteria could still be living on things they’ve touched.  Here are the places you should disinfect  – you can do quick wipes during the illness and then a deeper clean once symptoms have abated.


1. The Bathroom

The bathroom is often ground zero when a germ wave rolls through your home. Once the storm has passed through, be sure to deep clean the bathroom, thoroughly disinfecting the toilet, all the faucet handles, and other hard surfaces.




2. The Kitchen

The kitchen can be hard hit during a bout of illness, which leaves in its wake germ-laden cups, dishes, and utensils. Wash all dishes in very hot water or in the hottest setting on your dishwasher, and use the heated dry cycle. Wipe down refrigerator handles and all the electronic keypads on your appliances, and sanitize the countertops and sinks.



3. Door Handles

Frequent washing of hands makes all the difference in helping to curb the spread of germs, but we all know that’s easier said than done. To be on the safe side, grab some disinfecting wipes and hit every doorknob and handle in the house—indoors and out.




4. Towel & Bedding

Anything your body touches during an illness, including your towels and bedding, should be sanitized by washing in hot water. To really bust up the germs, add in one of the many available disinfecting laundry boosters, such as borax or bleach.  If your mattress has been soiled, give it a good cleaning. Start by vacuuming, then spot-clean (if necessary) and spray on disinfectant.  Let it air out for the day before you put the linens back on.


5. Clothing

Any clothing worn while you’re sick also needs to be sanitized. Wash everything in hot water in a separate load. Use the high heat or sanitize setting on your dryer to finish it off.





6. Remotes & Tech

When you’re sick, sometimes all you can manage to do is lie around and binge-watch, which means the remote becomes germ central. During and after an illness, wipe down all remotes with disinfectant wipes.  Touch screens on your electronic devices are also germ magnets. Make sure to wipe down cellphones, tablets, computer keyboards, and any other often-touched electronic devices with disinfectant wipes after an illness has passed through your home.


7. Toys

This is a biggie, but if you have kids, you’ve got to do it: Thoroughly sanitize any hard or plastic toys to stop the further spread of germs. Disinfectant wipes work for larger items, but many little things like Lego bricks and other small plastic and rubber toys can be put in a mesh bag and run through the dishwasher in the top rack.  Soft toys like stuffed animals can’t be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. You can, however, toss any machine-washable plush toys into the washing machine with the bedding or clothing. For stuffed animals that are too delicate for the machine, just run them through the dryer on a high heat setting to kill any germs they may be harboring.