Flu-proofing your home
If the number of vacant desks, sickly tweets and my own bout with a nasty bug are any indication, I'd say cold and flu season is upon us. Pair that with the panic over the H1N1 virus (get all the latest news at sister site Healthzone.ca), and we're all being a little bit more careful lately.
Of course, you can't actually "flu-proof" your home, but you can help stem the spread of germs. While handwashing tops the list of important things to do, you should also consider the following to help banish those icky bugs:
- Wipe down faucets, light switches and door handles regularly. Whether you're a commercial-grade disinfectant type or prefer the natural germ-killing mixture of vinegar and water, make sure to give these commonly touched areas a thorough, and regular, cleaning.
- Clean your laptop/computer. I know I'm not as good about this as I should be, but I also know that every time I'm sick, I rely on my laptop to keep me entertained - meaning there's probably a few germs hanging out in my keyboard. Not to mention all the bunny hair and dust that's probably living in there, too.
- Clean your remote. I hadn't thought of this one until I saw it on This Old House, then had to run home and wipe down all our remotes and video game controllers. Like your computer, you rely on it when you're sick, so it's quite possibly one of the most disgusting things in your home.
- Clean your cleaners. Cloths, mops and sponges can end up just pushing germs around. So either replace them or bust the germs by sending them for a spin in hot water in your washing machine or dishwasher. You can also try microwaving them for a minute.
- Wash your sheets, towels and blankets in hot water. It may not be eco-friendly, but a cold wash doesn't reach the necessary temperatures to kill any germs hanging out in your pillowcase or favourite comfy throw.
- Prevent cross-contamination by using separate sponges for dishwashing and counter cleaning, and use separate cutting boards for meats and veggies.
Choosing copper finishes. for example for sinks and pulls, could also help, as some sources say copper may have antiviral properties.
And, for those times when all the handwashing and cleaning just aren't enough to keep germs at bay, be sure to stock up on loads of tissues, comfy blankets and a large but stylish tea pot!