How to Clean Your Home After Cold & Flu Season

cleaning bathroom faucet with gloves and sponge
  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15
What You'll Need
Disinfecting wipes
Antibacterial spray
Paper towel
Microfiber towels
Laundry detergent
Steamer (optional)
Rubber gloves (optional)

After a cold, the flu, or any other sickness runs through your home, an important step people sometimes skip is to clean their space thoroughly. This rids your home of germs and stops the spread of illness. Doing so takes a little bit of time, but it's well worth the effort to keep your home as healthy as possible.

Step 1 - Gather Cleaning Supplies

For the quickest approach, assemble some disinfecting wipes and spray, paper towel or microfiber cloths, and laundry detergent. A disinfecting spray is another good tool to have in your arsenal. You may also want to wear rubber gloves for the cleaning process.

Make sure to read the labels of the products you’re using to check whether they kill the cold and flu virus germs. Also, opt to use paper towels over sponges or regular towels, as paper towel does a better job getting rid of germs whereas towels and sponges tend to just push things around. Microfiber towels are good for drying items after cleaning.

Step 2 - Start with Linens

You’ll definitely want to wash all linens used by any sick family members. People who are sick tend to sweat more, and linens can capture germs from that. Strip beds of sheets, blankets, and pillowcases and throw them in the wash. Also wash any throw blankets that were used, as well as throw pillows and their covers.

All clothing and towels that were worn and used during the illness should be washed, too. Wash everything on the hottest water setting possible to kill all germs.

hands with gloves cleaning surface with spray and sponge

Step 3 - Scour the Bathroom

Your bathroom or bathrooms will definitely need to be de-germed after a cold or flu hits your household. Use disinfectant or antibacterial wipes to clean the sink, faucet, shower, and toilet. Don’t forget to either wipe down or spray the toilet handle as germs could lurk there.

While you’re in the bathroom, take a few minutes to sterilize the toothbrush of the patients to get rid of germs. To do this, soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can place your toothbrush in the top rack of the dishwasher and run it through a cycle to sanitize it. Also clean any toothbrushes that were in the general vicinity of the sick person’s toothbrush in case any germs spread that way. If these toothbrushes are cheap, consider tossing them and replacing them with a new one.

Step 4 - Clean the Kitchen

Your kitchen will likely also need a cleaning after illness strikes. Use disinfecting wipes to clean the counters, wipe down the handle of the fridge, cabinet doors, and drawer pulls. During this step, don’t forget to run any reusable water bottles or other eating and drinking utensils through the dishwasher.

gloved hands cleaning kitchen sink counter with spray bottle and sponge

Step 5 - Commonly Touched Surfaces

Within your home, there are hundreds if not thousands of commonly touched surfaces that you probably don’t even give a second thought on a usual basis! These include light switches, door knobs, and stair railings. These should all be sprayed with antibacterial spray or wiped down thoroughly so that they can be eradicated of any germs.

Step 6 - Toys and Stuffed Animals

If you have a kiddo that was sick, you’ll want to disinfect all their toys once they’re on the mend. For stuffed animals, throw them into the washing machine on the gentle cycle to disinfect them. If you feel some are too delicate to put in the wash, use a steamer to clean them and let them air dry. For plastic toys, put whatever ones you can on the top rack of the dishwasher for a good cleaning. For those that you can’t, spray them with disinfecting spray or wipe them down, making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.

Step 7 - Electronics

Germs can also lurk on electronics within your home, such as on the TV remote, on cell phones, on computer keyboards or on tablets. Gently wipe these down with an antibacterial wipe and allow them to air dry.

After you clean, take all the trash out and spray your waste baskets with disinfecting spray. This should be a big help in keeping your home germ free!