Until life returns to normal, it would be natural to say: Keep up the good work. You’ve succeeded so far in maintaining a safe and healthy home environment, so keep it going. Those habits need to be a regular part of your routine now that you’ve turned over a new leaf on a healthier home. The biggest factor? Keeping things as clean as possible, of course—until the time comes when this virus cuts us a little slack.
Start with yourself
We already knew the importance of handwashing, but now it’s more important than ever. Don’t wash away the hand-washing routine that you’ve already gotten down pat. Make it a new part of daily life and encourage everyone in your home to follow suit for the time being. Keep washing your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the washroom, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, etc.
During your cleaning stints, it would be a good idea to always wear gloves and an apron or smock, both of which you will remove carefully afterward—and wash your hands again. Wash your gloves if you’re going to reuse them, and make sure you use a different set of gloves for the bathroom and the kitchen.
When you get home from work, immediately go and wash your hands before you do or touch anything.
Make cleaning a routine
Set aside the same time during each day to clean things and surfaces that are touched frequently—counters, tables, desks, light switches, doorknobs, and the handles of everything—cabinets and drawers, refrigerators and microwave door handles, etc. Get the whole surface of everything and all the way around the doorknobs, both sides of the door. Don’t forget about things like chair backs and stair rails. Toilets, sinks, faucet handles? Goes without saying.
Stock up on supplies—but don’t hoard
Take a tip from your grandmother—there’s nothing wrong with regular household detergent and hot water. Even a few drops of dish soap and eight ounces of water is a great cleaning solution.
Disinfect with common household cleaners, wipes and sprays, sanitizers, bleach and gels. Any preferred brand of household disinfectant or antimicrobial cleanser will do fine. Keep an eye on the expiry dates of cleansers you only use infrequently. If you’re a bleach person, dilute five tablespoons in one gallon of water and carry on. As well, limit the number of times you use sponges, rags and towels, so they don’t become riddled with germs.
Don’t zone out on your phone
The average person touches their phone for two hours every day. Safe to say, you need to give your phone a wipe every day. Try just an alcohol wipe—one that’s not too wet—or a 60/40 water/rubbing alcohol solution. The same goes for computer keyboards and the mouse, TV remotes and the knobs on the stereo. Don’t spray any solutions directly on any of your electronics, and use a cotton swab to get at hard-to-reach spots.
Other rooms in the house
Stepping up doing the laundry to more than once a week is sound advice. Launder clothing and textiles often, using as warm water as the fabrics and colours will allow, i.e. colours are fine in warm water, unless you’re washing dark jeans or black cotton. Dry clothes thoroughly before folding and storing. Give clothes hampers a rigorous cleaning, too, while you’re at it.
Take the cleaning bee into the garage to buff garage door openers and light switches. Don’t forget that you spend quality time in your car, too, so wipe down all surfaces frequently, taking care to use a car-interior solution that won’t harm any of the finishes—or just plain soap and water.