HHS

How to Clean Up Your Home After a Sick Person


Posted on December 12, 2017

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Bacteria and viruses can easily be spread from one person to another and stay hidden on surfaces for long periods of time, which puts anyone who comes in contact these germs at risk of getting sick. If you live with at least one other person— whether that’s family or roommates—  it’s important to take appropriate precautions to ensure your home stays clean to help prevent the spread of germs, especially if someone in the home is sick. By following these four strategies for good cleaning and hygiene practices, you can help keep everyone in the home germ-free.

Use a disinfectant cleaner.

Frequently use a disinfectant cleaner to wipe down high-touch areas in your home, such as door knobs, remotes, and light switches. Bathrooms tend to hold an especially high concentration of germs, so it is especially important to clean these areas to prevent germs from spreading.

Wash your hands.

Washing your hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can keep germs away. Remember to practice proper hand washing techniques:

  • Wet your hands with clean warm water.
  • Apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together — remember to scrub between fingers, the backs of your hands, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice and you will have reached the 20 second mark).
  • Rinse your hands well with clean water.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly using a clean towel.

Do the laundry.

Wash soiled sheets, blankets, towels, and clothing articles before they are used by another member of the household. Never use a towel or other item that someone who is sick has recently used until after it has been properly washed and cleaned.

Throw away the trash.

Provide a small wastebasket for those who are sick to toss germ-containing items in immediately, so they don’t lie around high-touch areas. Be sure to regularly take out the garbage and after the contaminated items have been discarded appropriately, remember to thoroughly wash your hands.