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clean your house after illness

Coronavirus & Flu: How To Clean Your House After Sickness

Written by in Cleaning Hacks
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Discover the super-easy tips you can use to deep clean your house after the flu or any sickness. And learn the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting your house so that coronavirus, the common cold, flu and everything in between won’t stand a chance in your house!

I don’t know about you but coronavirus really made an entrance – sheesh!  With the effects felt worldwide, this virus has everyone thinking about hygiene and even the proudest slobs registering as certified germaphobes.  

Quarantining is an excellent way to stop the spread of any viral illness but if you’re at home coughing & sneezing, touching everything with your dirty hands and not cleaning the right things at the right times, you’re spreading cooties to everyone else in the house. Not cool.

Believe it or not, viruses can actually linger in your home and coronavirus can actually stick around for days!  Effortlessly keep your home clean – like sanitized & disinfected, white-glove-inspection-ready clean – with these cleaning tips!

1 | Declutter, Clean Then Disinfect – In That Order (D.C.D.)

Don’t just spray Lysol and walk away!  Set aside a few minutes to truly disinfect surfaces and follow these steps:

1 \\ completely clear the surface or declutter

2 \\ clean the surface with a cleaner of your choice | make sure you clean off whatever you plan to put back on the surface

3 \\ use a disinfectant to eliminate all germs on the surface | disinfect items that need to go back on the surface as well

And you’re done!

Oh and one more bonus tip – if your cleaner is a disinfectant, just follow the first two steps and you’ll be germ-free!

If you truly want to disinfect your house after (or during) an illness, follow this 3-step process every time. Whether you’re cleaning a kitchen counter, the top of a dresser or cleaning an entire room, declutter, clean and then disinfect!

This is the best way to get germs out of the house and have surfaces so clean you can lick em’!  But please don’t because that’s disgusting and then we’ll have to go through the whole process again. 

Shop On Amazon // Clean & sanitize your house with these plush microfiber towels! We use these in my cleaning service and at home because they hold up extremely well, and I like the fact that they are color-coded which reduces cross-contamination! For me, it’s blue for bathrooms, pink for kitchens and gray for dusting – but feel free to color code em’ any way you want.

2 | Disinfect Hard Surfaces Forreal

Let me guess.  You sprayed your disinfecting cleaner on a surface and then wiped it clean.  If that’s what you did, you didn’t really disinfect anything! Those germs are probably still there – laughing at you!

Dwell time is the key to disinfecting surfaces. 

Spray or apply the disinfectant, then walk away for a few minutes to give it time to work.   It needs to be wet while dwelling so make sure you spray or apply enough disinfectant. Come back and wipe the surface clean when the times up. That’s it!  

Since most disinfectants vary in the amount of time they need to actually kill all 99.9% of those germs and bacteria as advertised, you have to read the instructions to know how much dwell time is needed.   Thankfully, we are only talking 3-10 minutes. You can wait that long right?

3 | No Disinfectant?  No Problem – You Can Still Disinfect Surfaces

Spoiler alert! Regular cleaning products or even good ol’ fashioned soap and water is all you really need to sanitize your home. Not only is this an easy option because you probably have plenty of cleaning items already, you can avoid the harsh chemicals used in most disinfectants.

Knowledge bomb: sanitizing and disinfecting are not the same thing!

Sanitizing reduces the number of germs on a surface to the point where there are not harmful amounts.  Cleaning actually lowers the risk of infection by reducing the number of germs on a surface to safe levels.

Disinfectants kill everything! Chemicals like Lysol or bleach don’t remove germs from surfaces but they kill what’s there. Disinfectants are very strong and not something you want to inhale every day.

You should always clean to sanitize your house, then disinfect to truly make your house germ-free.

Just remember:

Cleaning = Sanitizing | Reduces levels of germs to reduce the spread of infection

Disinfect = 99.9% of germs dead | Typically a chemical that needs 3-10 minutes of dwell time

Sanitize or disinfect your house after or during illness with these common items:

soap & water (sanitizer | cleaning physically removes dirt and gunk, including germs, but won’t get everything so follow-up with a disinfectant)

70% rubbing alcohol (disinfectant, but only when using 70% or stronger)

vinegar (a lightweight disinfectant that kills around 80% of germs and does not eliminate MRSA, staph or rhinovirus which is responsible for most colds)

bleach (a harsh disinfectant so use sparingly)

hydrogen peroxide (disinfectant when used at full strength with a minimum dwell time 5 minutes)

all-purpose cleaner (sanitizer | cleaning physically removes dirt and gunk, including germs, but won’t get everything so follow-up with a disinfectant)

tea tree oil

Surely you have one of those items on hand!

room by room cleaning checklist printables

4 | Take Your Shoes Off At The Door

You walk into a gas station bathroom, step in who-knows-what and then don’t bother to take your shoes off when you walk into your home???  Shame. On. You. 

Take your shoes off at the door. It will stop the spread all that yuckness – both debris and germs – throughout your home.  And yes I know this isn’t a cleaning tip per se, but it is a way to reduce germs & keep your house cleaner for longer periods of time.

Part of cleaning your house after sickness is learning how to minimize the spread of germs and by following this tip, you are literally leaving germs at the door.

5 | Clean The Highly Touched Items No One Remembers

Yeh, you cleaned the kitchen counters, remote control and vacuumed but if you really want to keep others in the house from getting sick, you need to make sure you clean these commonly forgotten items:

light switches

toilet handles



faucet handles and knobs

entire bathroom

refrigerator handles

stair rails

cell phones

computer keys



Commonly missed items like these are breeding grounds for germs.  Plus they usually look grimy because they are not cleaned very often. 

Everyone touches these items so when you are deep cleaning your house after sickness – or trying to disinfect after the flu – make sure these items are on your list.

But make sure you actually clean those items.  Like, wipe them off – get all the nooks and crannies.  

And yes, the floors need to vacuumed, swept and mopped. Why? While those cold and flu germs are in the air, eventually they settle to the ground. And by ground, I’m talking about the same floors you walk on barefoot.

And just like, you’re on your way to a germ-free house.

6 | Wash Sheets Every 24-48 Hours During Illness

Laying in bed or on the sofa for a few days is one of the hallmarks of being sick.   But after a few days of coughing and a runny nose, things can get a little disgusting.  Like that pillow you’ve been breathing all over.  

When deep cleaning your house after the flu – or while you’re sick – change & wash the sheets on the bed often .   When my little ones get sick, I’m washing everything every day – especially those disgusting blankies!   It’s work but I swear they get better faster.

If you want to disinfect sheets, blankets, and other soft items, wash them on the hottest temp possible and add bleach if it’s safe.  Oh and don’t forget to add towels to the load! That’s all you have to do.

If you can’t use bleach, that’s ok too.  The key is just to get that stuff washed! 

7 | Clean While You’re Sick – You’ll Get Better Faster

A new study just released says that coronavirus can live up to 72 hours on surfaces.  That’s like living to be 100 in human years!  Since it likes to hang around for a while, daily cleaning is a must.  

Cleaning your home after illness will be a breeze as long as you clean your home and practice good hygiene during the illness. Clean these items at least every two days.

Stay on top of dishes. Wash, don’t just rinse cups and utensils after use.

Kitchen counters, faucet handle, fridge door handle

Clean the bathroom toilet handle, faucet handles, sink and counter

Sanitize or switch out toothbrushes every 2-3 days. Just something to help you get better sooner.

Wipe down or steam clean sofa

Wash contaminated bedding and clothing *as stated above*

Make sure to keep a lined trash can or just a trash bag to collect all those snotty wads of tissue paper

I’ve mentioned alot of these items already, but the point is not to wait until the sick person has recovered to start cleaning. Clean your house during the period of illness to help them get better sooner and prevent the spread of the illness to others.


8 | Kick Germs Out By Opening The Windows

Is it just me or when someone coughs on an elevator, the immediate response is to hold my breath.  Because the air is still, you can almost smell the sneeze or cough – I’m about to pass out just thinking about it.  

Still-air helps germs linger in your home and that’s the opposite of what you want.  Whether you’re deep cleaning your house or someone is sick, get some fresh air into the house whenever possible.  

It’s also the world’s cheapest way to deodorize your home.  And it works even if you have pets. Can we say winning?

9 | Steam Clean Your Way To A Germ-Free House

‘There’s one thing that unites all living things: they’re killed by heat,’ explains microbiologist Jason Tetro. ‘Heat at temperatures over 77 degrees C is the best killer of bacteria and viruses, and the temperature of steam is much higher than that.’

Steam cleaners can tackle a wide variety of household surfaces, such as sealed hardwood floors, upholstery and carpets, as well as your kitchen sides, showers and bathroom tiles.

You don’t need to scrub, as the steam lifts up dirt and grease easily, which is then wiped away immediately. This is extra-handy for saving time during periods in which you’ve had to ramp up cleaning efforts.

The NHS suggests using steam cleaning on curtains, carpets, mattresses and soft furnishings that cannot be disinfected with regular cleaning sprays.  

I personally used this Wagner and McCulloch steamer in my cleaning business, however, for most people, this handheld steamer will do the trick!

YOU SHOULD READ // 21+ Spring Cleaning Tips For Ultra Clean Vibes Year Round!  Check this post out for super simple spring cleaning ideas that take less than an hour to complete.

Good things are meant to be shared! Save this to your Pinterest account so you can actually find it later and so others can see you’ve got all the good stuff!

how to clean your house after sickness

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