If you’re living within a travel “bubble”, you may have eased off your more strenuous disinfecting efforts since those scary early days of the pandemic.
But we’re not safe until everyone’s safe, so it’s good to know how to clean your home during the time of Covid. Because even after keeping a distance from people over the last year, you also realise how easy it can be to get sick in the company of others!
So whether you’re trying to avoid catching or spreading Covid-19 or simply want to stay all-around healthy, it’s in your best interest to keep your home is properly disinfected (especially since you’re probably spending more time there!).
If you haven’t already, adopt these 7 home cleaning habits now… and keep on using them for the foreseeable future.
1. Wipe down your tech
Yes, it’s true, the average mobile phone has more germs on it than a toilet seat. That’s because your hands are on it almost constantly, whether it’s after you’ve opened a door, eaten a meal or touched a public door handle. The oils left by our skin can help bacteria thrive.
Make it a habit to wipe down all of your tech – including mobile phones and keyboards – on a daily basis. Avoid lending it to others, as viruses can be spread if a sick person coughs or sneezes while using it.
2. Switch on the air purifier
Air purifiers – usually taken out of storage when it’s hot and hazy – can come in handy for your health year-round. Most of them filter large particles such as dust mites and pollen, which helps to reduce the chances of breathing in irritants that can cause coughs. If yours has a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, it can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, including many bacteria and some viruses. (Don’t already have an air purifier? This would be an ideal time to invest in one.)
3. Wash your hands frequently and well
Proper hand-washing is an essential habit to develop, especially for young children – scratch that, for all of us during this continuing pandemic. To inculcate the habit, pick a favourite song to sing (at least 20 seconds long) while you’re scrubbing. You can also use an automatic soap dispenser to minimise contact with dirty hands.
4. Clean more often
Germs get trekked in from outside, especially if you have family members who regularly come home and hang around without changing their clothes or showering. The same can be said for when friends or relatives visit.
Especially in high-traffic areas, make sure your home isn’t only vacuumed regularly, but also mopped down and wiped – don’t forget the door knobs! – with a solution of warm water and white vinegar (1/2 cup for every 3 to 4 litres of water). The acetic acid in white vinegar kills bacteria and viruses.
5. Use heat to sanitise fabrics
Steam-cleaning your sofa and carpets helps you deodorise and sanitise these surfaces without having to use harsh chemicals. Win-win!
Similarly, if you have hand or kitchen towels that are used frequently by several people, do a very hot wash for them (60C and above) at least once a week to get rid of microbes that thrive on damp surfaces. (Check the laundry care instructions first.)
6. Corral bags, shoes and laundry
Items that you wear outside and are exposed to the public – i.e., may be coughed or sneezed on – or just prone to getting grimy including bags and shoes should be cleaned regularly and stored properly (especially if you have little ones who like to grab things and put them into their mouth).
Designate a cupboard, bin or hooks to store bags out of reach near the entryway, and make it a point to put shoes and dirty laundry in their respective spots as soon as possible instead of leaving them around the house. You might as well go ahead and learn to clean your leather goods properly, too.
7. Use antibacterial wipes that don’t harm the environment
Though washing your hands with hot water and soap is the best and easiest way to get rid of nasties, washing facilities aren’t always available – in which case antibacterial wipes come in handy. When buying wipes, look out for the materials used. Ones made of polyester can take hundreds of years to decompose and can cause severe clogging and pollution.
Instead, opt for something that’s compostable like Method wipes, which are made out of wood-based fibres. Or use hand sanitiser so there’s nothing at all to dispose of.
(Read up on eco-labels so you’re a savvier shopper when wanting to live sustainably.)
Originally by Melody Bay, Home & Decor, January 2020 / Last updated by Brooke Glassberg
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