With the coronavirus now officially a pandemic, I’ve been getting the question again and again - what can I do to keep this virus at bay, and keep my family safe? Well the obvious question is to lock yourself indoors, limit all interactions with people, wear a PM2.5 mask or a face shield every time you venture outside, and essentially just “hunker down” and ride it out.
But the harsh reality is, life isn’t always that simple. You’ve still got work (until it’s called off and you’re allowed to work remotely), your kids have school (at least for the moment), and until the SHTF big time, one of the best ways you can fight the virus in your home is to clean like a maniac. Yep, I said it. Sanitation is the best defense against a viral strain like the coronavirus, and it’s critical you’re taking steps to keep yourself clean.
It starts with clean hands
By now I’m sure you’ve heard it, but it needs to be said again. One of the best ways to prevent yourself catching a viral infection like coronavirus is to wash your hands more often. Because every time you touch a surface, like the button on an elevator, the pole in the subway, the cash as you buy yet another box of take out, germs are being transferred to your hands.
An antibacterial soap is a good start, and if you’ve got none because you’re out and about, hand sanitizer is another option. Because the virus does transmit through touch, and if you happen to touch a surface that’s infected, then touch, say your mouth, you’re very much at risk for contracting the virus yourself.
Get the right disinfectant
When it comes to disinfecting your home, especially with the stores stripped bare, it can be tempting to opt for natural cleaners instead of something industrial. Unfortunately, while cleaners like vinegar are an alternative, there’s no confirmation they are effective in killing viral strains of bacteria, like the coronavirus.
My advice, would be to use something proven, that has a hydrogen peroxide base, or a brand like Clorox or Lysol as the right disinfectant for your home. It’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your family. And in a pinch, bleach and water will kill pretty much anything it comes in contact with.
Clean all hard surfaces
Start cleaning with all the hard surfaces, anything you touch will have germs transferred onto it (and vice versa). And because you spend the vast majority of your free time in your home, I’d recommend giving it a very good clean. Most people tend to forget the importance of hand washing when they’re at home (even if they’ve been strict about it while at the office, or a public place).
Using disinfectant wipes, go through and clean all surfaces that you touch regularly in your home. From doorknobs to drawer handles, all surfaces and even things like your television remote. Be thorough, and you may want to give an area multiple wipes for the disinfectant to have its full effect.
Clean all the other surfaces
Next comes the areas of your home that are impossible to clean with a wipe. This is where you need a disinfectant spray, like Lysol, to get in and disinfect areas like your sofa, carpets, even your dining chairs and mattresses on your bed. The bacteria can live in the fabrics, so give these areas a thorough spraying and let them dry completely before use.
We’ve got an area in our home that gets a lot of afternoon sunlight, and is the perfect spot to position the sofa and other mattresses when these need help drying out after I’ve emptied a can of Lysol at them. If not, aim a fan at them and let the breeze help dry out the cushions and padding, you don’t want these to stay damp.
Clean the floors well
We remove our boots at the door, but that doesn’t stop the kids and our pets from walking in god knows what from outside. Our floors get a quick mop down every day, but if you’re wearing your shoes inside it might be an idea to do this more regularly. Especially if you’ve got young children who will crawl around on the floorboards in the dirt, mud and anything else you’ve walked in.
We have tiles so use bleach on the floors, following the CDC guidelines of 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water. Just be careful if you’ve porous tiles or a hardwood floor, this concentration of bleach can strip the stain so you may need another antibacterial floor cleaner that’s suitable for you.
Clean your clothes and sheets
I learned recently that bacteria like the coronavirus will die in temperatures in excess of 60 degrees, and if you’ve got a hot wash on your machine it may be a good idea to start using higher temperatures when washing your bedsheets, towels or any other clothes that won’t get damaged from the heat (don’t hot wash anything wool if you don’t want it to shrink).
You don’t need to use extra powder to kill the virus (like some articles tell you to use), you simply need hotter temperatures, and if you’re particularly worried, a small cap of Dettol will help to sterilize any clothes that need it.
Sterilize anything you eat with
We used to do this all the time with our newborn, but as they get older you stop sterilizing all of your cutlery and cooking utensils. But in a pandemic like this, I’d highly recommend using a little boiling water to sterilize all of your cooking items, like cutting boards, knives, pots and pans, before you use them, just in case. You don’t want to be spreading germs and bacteria into your fresh salads or other meals because you skipped this step.
Clean and disinfect your car
Finally, remember to sterilize your car too. Everything you touch, from the door handles to the steering wheel should be wiped down, and if you’ve got cloth seats give them a good spray with some Lysol as well to ensure it’s clean and germ-free.
One of the best ways to fight off a microscopic pandemic like the coronavirus is to keep everything clean, from your hands, to your home, to your car. Take steps to sanitize whatever you touch, and your chances of catching a virus like this drop dramatically.