It’s probably a lot easier than you might think to germ-proof your home and reduce the threat of sickness and infections. The experts agree that the process begins with keeping your home as clean as possible.
One of the top ways you can germ-proof your home is to make sure it stays clean. Wipe down all surfaces daily. Use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe bacteria and food particles from the sink and faucet.
Wipe down counters and stove tops with an all-purpose cleaner every day and never let grease splatters build up. Wash your sheets at least once a week and keep exposed surfaces clean with a microfiber cloth or brush.
Change Sheets and Towels Regularly
Make it a habit of changing your bath towels and bed linens. There’s nothing in the bathroom that accumulates germs faster than a towel that everyone uses to dry their hands. If someone in the home is sick or has a cold, make sure they use their own towel until they recover. An even better method would be to replace cloth towels with disposable ones make from paper to minimize germs from spreading.
Certain places in your home will often be touched by nearly everyone. These touch points are prime locations in your home for germs and bacteria to collect. Germ-proof your home by wiping down the refrigerator door handle, TV remote, light switches, phone handsets, doorknobs, toilet and faucet handles. All of these areas should all be sanitized every week or so to keep germs away from your family.
Wash your Hands
To keep germs from spreading around to yourself or the rest of your family, washing your hands properly should be your top priority. Not only is washing your hands the most powerful way to minimize spreading germs around in your home, but it’s also one of the simplest ways to do it.
Whether the water is cold or hot makes very little difference. The idea is that you need to scrub your hands as thoroughly as possible for a minimum of at least 20 seconds each time you wash them. If there’s no timer nearby, try singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself two times in a row while you wash, and you’ll be finished and ready to go.
The kind of soap also doesn’t matter either. All soaps contain surfactants. These compounds work to lower the surface tension of the water and act as a detergent and emulsifier so that the water removes the dirt and germs from your hands.
If soap and water aren’t available, you can use a disinfecting gel instead. These alcohol-based disinfectants are okay in a pinch. However, using soap and water and scrubbing your hands together for 20 seconds is the best way to protect yourself against harmful germs and contagious diseases.
- Wash for a minimum of 20 seconds
- Scrub under each of your nails
- Use a clean, towel and dry thoroughly
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Most people have a habit of covering their mouths with their hands and then later they touch their faces. By keeping your hands away from your face, those infected droplets from sneezing or coughing wind up in our mouths, noses, and eyes. From there, they can enter our bodies and spread.
Teach your kids to wash their own hands so they avoid spreading germs. Make sure they are aware that they should not get in the habit of touching their face with their hands.
Anticipating a sneeze or cough can be unrealistic, so teach your kids to aim for a sleeve or even their elbow. Even using a tissue is not the best method since you wind up having to take an extra step to throw the tissue away and then wash your hands again.
Flushing the Toilet
Close the lid of the toilet and then flush to keep from launching germs into the air. Otherwise, those airborne germs can land anywhere, from faucet handles and doors to even your toothbrush.
Part of germ proofing your home should always include taking care of allergy-triggers. Allergies create symptoms just like a cold and cause dry, itchy skin, and generally make you feel miserable.
Pet dander and dust mites are two of the most prevalent allergy triggers. Keep your home dust-free by avoiding too many pillows and keeping pets away from food preparation surfaces and where you sleep. If allergies become a particular problem, purchase an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter to keep the air you breathe in your home as clean as possible.
Sickness in the Family
When someone in the family falls ill, it’s time to double down on your precautions for the rest of the family. Disinfect all touch points daily. If the sick family member shares a computer keyboard or TV remote, keep disinfectant wipes nearby for their use. Check the product’s label instructions to make sure you’re using it properly.
In many societies, the act of removing one’s shoes when entering the home is practiced almost religiously. In other societies, it’s practically unheard of. The process may be somewhat extreme to some. However, if germ proofing your home is a prime objective, many experts suggest that household members leave their outside shoes at the door and wear slippers or some other footwear inside.
By leaving footwear at the door, dirt, mud, mold, and bacteria won’t be tracked into your home. However, if the practice simply can’t be followed for whatever reasons, be sure to give your floors a good sweeping or vacuuming every day.
Invest in a Humidifier
In dry climates, especially during the winter, using a humidifier to moisten the air will help to prevent illness. When the air in your home is moist, it keeps your mucous membranes from becoming dry and helps you breathe more comfortably.
Change those filters
Change any air or furnace filters regularly to keep bacteria and mold away from your lungs and body. Mark your calendar as a reminder to change your filters regularly.
By keeping your home clean, washing your hands often, and following our other suggestions in the outline above, you will be on your way toward keeping your home as healthy and germ-proof as possible.