13 Things to Clean in Your Home After You’ve Been Sick

When cold and flu season arrives, it’s nearly inevitable that germs will invade your home. Once the siege is over, don't forget to disinfect these important germ-harboring spots in your house.

Here's where to sanitize after being sick

how to disinfect a house after illness

When you or someone in your household falls ill, the first priority is getting back to health. But once the symptoms alleviate, you’ll want to make sure you do a thorough job cleaning the house. Even if the sick person successfully isolates in one area, the germs, virus, or bacteria could still be living on things they have touched. Read on for the most important things in the house that you need to disinfect to stop sickness from spreading and to restore a healthy home.


The Bathroom

disinfect bathroom

The bathroom is often ground zero when a germ wave rolls through your home. Once the storm has passed through, be sure to deep clean the bathroom, thoroughly disinfecting the toilet, all the faucet handles, and other hard surfaces.

Related: 9 Top Tips for a Bathroom That Cleans Itself


The Kitchen

disinfect kitchen

The kitchen can be hard hit during a bout of illness, which leaves in its wake germ-laden cups, dishes, and utensils. Wash all dishes in very hot water or in the hottest setting on your dishwasher, and use the heated dry cycle. Wipe down refrigerator handles and all the electronic keypads on your appliances, and sanitize the countertops and sinks.

Related: Would Your Kitchen Pass a Restaurant Health Inspection?


All Door Handles

clean door knobs

Frequent washing of hands makes all the difference in helping to curb the spread of germs, but we all know that's easier said than done. To be on the safe side, grab some disinfecting wipes and hit every doorknob and handle in the house—indoors and out.

Related: 11 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Home



Disinfect Towels

Anything your body touches during an illness, including your towels, should be sanitized by washing in hot water. To really bust up the germs, add in one of the many available disinfecting laundry boosters, such as borax or bleach.  

Related: 12 Laundry Mistakes You’re Probably Making



Disinfect Bedding

When you’re sick, you spend a lot of time in bed. Well, those sheets, blankets, and comforters you've been lying on need to be disinfected, too, so throw them in the washing machine and set it on a hot cycle. And if your mattress has been soiled, give it a good cleaning. Start by vacuuming, then spot-clean (if necessary) and spray on disinfectant.  Let it air out for the day before you put the linens back on.

Related: 21 Timesaving Tricks That May Change the Way You Clean



disinfect clothing

Any clothing worn while you're sick also needs to be sanitized. Wash everything in hot water in a separate load. Use the high heat or sanitize setting on your dryer to finish it off.

Related: Grime Fighters: 10 Heavy-Duty Tools for Deep Cleaning


Hard Surfaces

disinfect surfaces

Hard surfaces throughout the house that are frequently touched need to be cleaned both during and after an illness. This includes all kitchen counters and the dining table and chairs. Don't forget about light switches, stair railings, cabinet knobs and handles, and anything else you touch on a regular basis—these all need to be wiped down with disinfectant too.

Related: 12 Household Cleaning Mistakes That Are Making You Sick


Remote Controls

clean remote control

When you're sick, sometimes all you can manage to do is lie around and binge-watch, which means the remote becomes germ central. During and after an illness, wipe down all remotes with disinfectant wipes.

Related: The Dirty Dozen: 12 Places You Probably Never Clean But Definitely Should


Phones and Other Electronics

disinfect phone

Touch screens are a modern miracle. They are also germ magnets. Make sure to wipe down cellphones, tablets, computer keyboards, and any other often-touched electronic devices with disinfectant wipes after an illness has passed through your home.

Related: 12 Genius Tips for Everyday Speed-Cleaning



disinfect toys

This is a biggie, but if you have kids, you've got to do it: Thoroughly sanitize any hard or plastic toys to stop the further spread of germs. Disinfectant wipes work for larger items, but many little things like Lego bricks and other small plastic and rubber toys can be put in a mesh bag and run through the dishwasher in the top rack.

Related: 14 Crazy Cleaning Tips That Actually Work


Stuffed Animals

disinfect stuffed animals

Soft toys like stuffed animals can’t be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. You can, however, toss any machine-washable plush toys into the washing machine with the bedding or clothing. For stuffed animals that are too delicate for the machine, just run them through the dryer on a high heat setting to kill any germs they may be harboring.

Related: 10 Classic Cleaners That've Stood the Test of Time



disinfect toothbrush

If you've been using a cheap toothbrush, just chuck it and get a new one. Getting rid of the germs is certainly worth the price of a new brush. Soak other types of toothbrushes in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide for an hour, and then rinse them thoroughly with water. You can also run toothbrushes through the dishwasher. Don’t forget to clean your toothbrush holder as well.

Related: 14 Surprising Places Where Mold Hides in the Home


Garbage Cans

disinfect garbage cans

Garbage cans often see some serious unpleasantness when sickness strikes. After you’ve emptied the cans, spray them down with disinfectant.

Related: 10 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever


Get Well Soon

cleaning home after illness

After illness descends on your home, you've got to take some cleaning action.


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