Germs? Reduce your risk with these 7 cleaning tips.
With the flu and COVID-19… it’s time to deep clean. And to help keep your house germ-free and your family healthy, HAP is here. Discover our list of the most essential tasks to tackle this season.
- Keep surfaces clean. Just like the CDC, we recommend cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched areas. Think knobs and handles, light switches, table and countertops, cabinets, etc. Just remember: Cleaning can remove dirt, germs and impurities, but disinfecting uses chemicals like EPA-registered disinfectants to kill germs. (Ideally, you’d want to do both.)
- Make appliances sparkle and shine. You use them every day, but… how often do you clean them? (Unfortunately, just wiping them down once in a while doesn’t count.) Here’s how you can give your appliances the attention they’re asking for:
- Microwave – Microwave a cup of water for four minutes. Keep the door closed, and after an hour, you’ll be able to wipe away what was stuck to the sides/ceiling.
- Dishwasher – Put a cup of white vinegar (or any descaling solution) in the top rack and run your dishwasher. Then, sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom and run it again.
- Refrigerator and freezer – Empty it, then quickly wipe down all the shelves and drawers, then the door. Put everything back in (as long as it’s not expired).
- Oven – Remove the racks and spread a baking soda paste (1/2 cup of baking soda + 3 tablespoons of water) throughout the oven’s interior. Let it sit for 12 hours, then use a wet sponge to wipe it all away. (Don’t forget to scrub your stovetop, too.)
- Washer – To remove soap scum, run your washing machine with a cup of white vinegar.
- Load up your laundry. Once you’re caught up with clean clothes, wash what hasn’t been washed in a while, like bedding (sheets, blankets, duvet covers/comforters, dust ruffles), pillows, rugs, curtains and shower curtains.
- Give germs a bath. According to WebMD, bathrooms can harbor some serious bacteria. To make sure yours is a safe space for you and your family, you should:
- Use disinfectant spray/wipes on faucets and flushers (and even plunger handles).
- Scrub the inside of the toilet bowl with a cleaning product that contains bleach.
- Use a tub and tile spray to tackle soap scum in your shower.
- Mix water and white vinegar in a plastic bag. Secure it around your showerhead with an elastic band and let it soak for a few hours.
- Clean mirrors with glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
- Organize your medicine cabinet and restock your first-aid kit. (Save time with our prescription delivery service.)
- Take out the trash. Don’t just get rid of the garbage. Get rid of the bacteria that’s lurking alongside it. On a nice day, head out into the driveway to wash your trash and recycling containers with warm, soapy water. Clean all your indoor garbage cans (even the small ones), along with the outdoor garbage cans you take to the end of your driveway.
- Control the air quality. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? A one-inch filter should be changed every three months, while a four-inch filter should be changed every six months. To stay on top of this, we suggest putting a reminder in your calendar. (Bonus points: Vacuum vents and register covers and dust ceiling fan blades on the same day.)
- Focus on the floors. Vacuum and/or mop as much of the floor as possible, even if it means moving furniture and temporarily removing rugs. Then, wipe down baseboards and give your welcome mat a good scrub. (That way, your family members aren’t tracking dirt into your home.)
Have kids who want to help? Have them start in their own room, maybe by stripping their bed so you can do their laundry. Next, they can sort through toys, games and movies (a pile to keep and a pile to donate) and put away what will stay. Depending on how old they are, they may even be able to take a disinfectant wipe around the house – sanitizing some standard things like light switches and door handles.
Ready to roll up your sleeves for more cleaning therapy? In these uncertain times, germs, bacteria and viruses might still be on your mind. So, if you want to keep cleaning, here’s how to make your home a coronavirus-safe zone. (And remember: The best way to protect yourself from influenza is a FREE flu shot. Available to all HAP members.)