Cleaning With Sickness In Mind

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

They say, “it’s going around” and it’s “going around and around” in my house, for sure. Winter is prime time for viruses to come on in the house and take up residence. It’s up to you to clean them away as best you can. Of course, you’re not going to be able to fight off every single bit of bacteria and viruses that are in your house- nor do you want to, as some bacteria is good. But you definitely want to hit several areas to make sure you’re doing your best to keep the nasties away.

Living Areas

In your living room, great room, and all other areas where you “hang out,” keep in mind areas your hands touch- doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, computer keypads. For items that are less likely to be harmed by getting a little wet, spray Lysol and leave it without wiping. For more sensitive electronic items, I usually spray Lysol on a cloth and wipe from there.


Here, you’ll also think about areas hands touch. Again, clean the light switches, doorknobs, the refrigerator door handle, and all other areas your hands touch. Lysol, again, is the best for this. Don’t forget things like your coffee maker and the buttons on your microwave. I rarely use bleach for cleaning since I cannot handle the smell, but I do use a bit of bleach in my dishwater when washing dishes if anyone has been sick. I also make sure all dishes are absolutely and thoroughly dry before putting them away. I normally make sure they’re dry, but in the case of sickness, bone dry, baby.


I change the sheets as soon as someone’s finished being sick and wash them with hot water. If you’re going through a particularly ugly round of sickness and you feel too weak still to change sheets, changing the pillowcases will be a good temporary solution until you feel well enough to go all out and change everything. Don’t forget your can of Lysol and spraying all the areas your hands touch. I also like to make sure I thoroughly dust and vacuum (this goes for every room of the house) if it’s a respiratory illness- sometimes a bad cold is actually allergies. Give your pillows a nice sunning, if it’s dry enough outside.


Clean your toilets like the Queen of England is coming to use the loo. And, of course, don’t forget the good ol’ Lysol. Clean the sink and tub really well, too. And, of course, don’t forget the light switches, etc.


All clothes and bed linens from the sick person should be washed with the hottest water possible. If there have been diarrhea or vomiting issues, be sure to wash those items separately with bleach, if the items can be bleached. Dry on the hottest possible setting as well. And, naturally, Lysol all the areas that hands touch. You should be used to that routine by now.

Tell me, Home Eccers, how are you faring this cold and flu season?


  1. Judith on January 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Wow! I feel like I’ve been so lax here!
    I’ll get my white vinegar out (always have lots of that on hand) and make up a 50/50 batch in my sprayer.
    My daughter has a cold — and I don’t want to get it, nor let anyone else get it ……
    So, thanks for the reminder to do my job as Mom for my family.

    • Brent Patton on July 28, 2009 at 11:08 am

      I think that mild bleach solution Keeter mentioned is like the sanitizer we used at a restaurant.

  2. Mom of three on January 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Legos can also go in the wash. Put them in a pillow case, tie it up good and wash in hot water. I used to wash our with a load of towels, just to protect my washer and drier. You can lay them out to dry and they are good to go.

    When my kids were little, I washed every toy. If it couldn’t handle being washed, I did not buy it. As they grew, they brought home less germs (well that they weren’t immune to) and I didn’t have to be as picky. Wouldn’t want to wash a game boy. 🙂

  3. Diaper Cake Becca on January 10, 2009 at 10:56 am


    I spray down the plastic toys when sickness is upon us. I even run the little people and their zoo and farm animals through the dishwasher with a bit of bleach added in!


    If the kids have been taking tub baths and they are sick, I scour the tub to kill the germies!!


    After a few days have passed…..I hit all the board books and the covers of the hardbacks with disinfectant, too!!

  4. Tara on January 10, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I think that mild bleach solution Keeter mentioned is like the sanitizer we used at a restaurant. It was soak things in there for 30 seconds, let air dry, then store. I’m thinking that will work on anything that can be immersed, and you can keep a rag in it for wiping up as she does.

  5. Keter on January 10, 2009 at 1:19 am

    So far this year – zero bugs for me, two sniffles for my husband, who works with the public and gets exposed to lots of germs. I credit two things for keeping the germs at bay:

    For years, I’ve sprayed the bed and pillows down with Lysol between changes of sheets. I’ve started to periodically spray other upholstered things, including inside the car.

    I started using white cotton washrags that are kept soaking in a mile bleach solution for wiping up in the kitchen. They do a better job of disinfecting than just using a clean rag for wiping.

    I already heavily use Lysol for regular bathroom cleaning, and Clorox wipes for knobs, handles, phone, keyboards, and computer “mice.” Remembering to wipe the phone is my biggest challenge, but it’s probably one of the germy-er items.

  6. Liz on January 9, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I’m rueing not getting my flu shot this year. I work with the public, and I’ve had the flu four times this season. Now I have a cold. I’m thinking complete isolation for the rest of the year. 🙁

  7. tink on January 9, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Timely post. Hubs has a stomach bug as I type. I’ve managed to avoid it the last two times he’s been ill, so I’m hoping to avoid it again.

    I’ve also got a premie grandson with several health issues, so basically, with him, it’s Germ-X before touching him or anything that will touch him (docs orders), with Hubs, it’s germ-x after touching him or anything that’s touched him.

    I figure if it helps to keep grandson healthy, it just may help to keep me healthy.

    Oh, and lip balm! If your sicky has used it, TOSS IT.

    For sensitive electronics, I use rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth.

    I also keep a tub of disinfecting wipes on the back of the toilet – and wipe the seat and handle with every use.

    alternatives for disinfectants —

    2 tsps of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water.
    50% vinegar, 50% water
    1 pint rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup ammonia, a couple of drops of dish soap and 1 gallon of water. (great all purpose cleaner as well)
    1/2 cup of lemon juice in a quart of water.

    I’ve also heard lavender oil is a disinfectant, but I haven’t done any checking on that.

    Good luck!!

  8. Mom of three on January 9, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    My daughter got a stomach bug about two weeks ago, and I wanted to make her some Jello. Apparently no one had been sick in my house since 2005, since all my Jello expired in 2006. LOL

    I work at a preschool, and try and keep germs down there as well, so today was disinfect the room day. The mommas seemed to appreciate the clean smell when they came in to pick up the kiddos.

    Once I told my doctor hubby thought I was crazy for cleaning doorknobs and the remote with cleanser once a week. She looked at me and said in all seriousness, “Frankly I think you are crazy for waiting so long.” Now I clean them more often in cold and flu season. I once read that most bacterial infections in hospitals come from the remote control, so now I wash ours down at least once a week. I also wipe down computer keyboards once a week with a lysol wipe. Those things are great for electronics, since you don’t have to spray anything.

    Another thing I do is my mop heads can be removed and washed in the washer. I NEVER use the same mop in the kitchen that I use in the bathrooms. That means I have to have several mop heads. I have a special bucket for them to go into until wash day and then wash all of them in super hot water and a little bleach.

    Yes, I can be a bit of a germiphob, but did I mention our last stomach bug was in 2005?

  9. Pam on January 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Thow out the toothbrush…replace it again in 7 days, when you are
    well again. Pam, South Bend

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