We all know that keeping a clean home and a clean body are essential parts of being healthy overall. The last few years have instilled an almost obsessive desire to wash our hands before and after touching any foreign object (which is not a bad thing, trust us!), to sanitize or wash our hands before sitting down to eat (which we all should have been doing anyway) and to wash our hands when we walk into our homes after a day of being out in the big bad world. Keeping the surfaces that our hands and bodies come into contact with within the home clean is essential too: washing towels and hand towels often enough, washing bedding often enough, cleaning our floors and surfaces with sanitizing agents, and washing down all taps and doorknobs on a regular basis. These are the things that we can do every day to ensure that we stay as clean, germ-free, and as healthy as possible; remember that over-sanitizing your body can kill the good bacteria that live on our skin! Hiring a janitorial service or housekeeper to keep your work or home environment clean is a great idea, but does all this cleaning really prevent us from catching viral nasties? Let’s take a look at the details.
The Spread of a Virus
Viral infections are spread mostly from contact with other humans carrying the virus in question. While viral infections can spread from touching contaminated surfaces (as a virus can live on a surface such as metal or plastic for a period of time once left there by the carrier), this is not the leading cause of any viral spread. This information is backed up by the WHO, who made a statement regarding the spread of the COVID virus, saying “it is not thought to be a common way that the virus spreads.”
While surfaces are not the most common way for a virus to spread, that doesn’t mean that there is no danger at all. The best defense, as they say, is a good offense! Instead of taking the chance, go on the defensive with your cleaning methods. Don’t become a germaphobe, but be safe! Here are some tips for keeping germs and viruses at bay by cleaning:
- Remember to wipe down kitchen gadget’s buttons and knobs. We often touch these in the middle of preparing food, and while this may not lead to viral infection, it’s always good to know that you’re touching clean buttons.
- Clean and sanitize door knobs often. When you come in from outside, the first thing that you’ll touch is your doorknob, which will contaminate it and any other ones you touch before getting to the bathroom to wash your hands with outside germs.
- Wash dishcloths often as they can often carry germs, bacteria, and nasties from lots of touching during food prep and at other times during the day.
- Cutting boards: keep two separate ones for meat and fruit or veg. Spray the meat board with a bleach solution after use, left to dry then rinsed in clear water.
- Clean all countertops once a day with a bleach solution which should be wiped off with a clean cloth.
- Trash bags and garbage disposals build up a large amount of contamination over the period of just one day. Spray your trash can with a bleach solution before putting a new trash bag in. To keep the disposal clean. Use a long-handled brush and a chlorinated powder or solution to get down into the pipe and give it a good clean. Don’t rinse this solution off until the next time you use the disposal.
- Keep your drains clean by pouring a cup of hot water into the drain then after a minute, follow with a cup of chlorine bleach. Let this all sit overnight for a fresh drain in the morning. Repeat once a week or once every two weeks.
- The refrigerator can be a scary place if it’s not kept clean! Get rid of old food in a timely manner. Empty the fridge once a month and wipe everything down with a bleach solution.
- Air conditioning units should be cleaned thoroughly and often. Consult your unit’s manufacturer or your instruction manual for cleaning instructions. Since these units handle the airflow in your home it’s essential to keep them sparkling clean.
If someone in your home is sick with any kind of viral infection, special care should be taken. Clean high-touch surfaces more frequently than you usually would and keep the surfaces in the patient’s immediate area sparkling clean as well. When working with potentially dangerous cleaning solutions like ones containing chlorine, alcohol, or bleach, always follow the instructions on the label. Be careful not to expose your skin to these cleaning against for too long and wear protective gear such as goggles or rubber gloves if necessary.
If you follow these tips, then cleaning your home will be one facet of an effective plan to keep viral infections at bay.