Whether it’s for a regular annual spring clean, preparing the house for the coming winter, or to get rid of nasty bugs and bacteria during a global pandemic, we are probably all a little more conscious in our cleaning than normal at the moment – from leaving outside shoes at the front door to wiping down surfaces more often.
While we’re all being told to squirt more disinfectant and wash our hands a little longer, there are also common strategies and approaches to preventing germ, bacteria, or viruses in our home, such as placing antimicrobial mats, or disinfecting the household – without going overboard, because while we might want to kill any traces of Corona Virus, we don’t want to be so sterile that we become susceptible to other, ‘common’ bugs that we might otherwise be easily able to fight off. It’s a careful balancing act.
The first step towards protecting our homes is general cleanliness. A quick wipe down of surfaces removes dirt and organic matter. Use detergent, hot water, and a clean rag, when removing bits of food, dirt, and stains. Cleaning does not destroy germs but removes a large proportion of them, and stops things from growing fur!
In this article, I would tackle the practical ways on how to disinfect home cushions and linens because these are the common household things that we regularly use.
Do not share towels even if you are a couple, or with family members because there is a high
probability of transmitting viruses or germs if you share it. Give everyone their own towel. This is general good practice, even without a pandemic. If you can’t avoid sharing towels, wash them regularly and make sure that you expose it to heat – ideally, if you have one, in a garden under the heat of the sun using a rotary washing line that can easily be found at Washingwoman.co.uk. Medical studies indicate that sunlight exposure can prevent and or kill the bacteria on cloth, cushions, and linen.
Pillowcases also need to be exposed to the sun, where possible, or at least washed in hot water – ideally once a week. If you’re able to hang your pillows out or leave them on a sunny windowsill, the heat treatment will help keep them fresher too.
When washing bed sheets, pour hot water over them, and soak in a purpose-made disinfectant
solution, especially if anyone in the house has been ill. Replace the sheets immediately and allow them to dry in the sun or in a dryer. If, like me, you have neither of these, don’t reuse them for a couple of days – bacteria needs a living organism to thrive, so the bacteria won’t live for long on a washed sheet.
COVER SEAT OR SOFA
The best way to clean sofas and seats is to use a disinfectant fabric spray – I like these natural options. Leave the windows open so you don’t end up with a headache. Sofas and couches can often be vacuumed too, so use a sofa-spray and give it a good old clean and wipe down. If you’re really worried about germs from outside, you could try a replaceable fitted sofa cover, which is then easy to pop in the washing machine for a quick clean.
When fighting a virus there is no better defence than proper hygiene. We cannot control the people we encounter from the outside, but we can control over living space, diet and immune response, and if nothing else, a clean environment will help our mental health too.