Keeping Clean in the Virus World. Which Items at Home Should Be Cleaned More Often?

Regular cleaning and disinfecting the high-touch surfaces in your home is a crucial precaution to lower the risk of infection, especially today with COVID-19. Where do you start? How do you help older parents?

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Keeping Clean in the Virus World. Which Items at Home Should Be Cleaned More Often?
6 Min Read January 9th, 2022

Most of us want to keep clean and live in a clean home, but today, with the COVID-19 virus crisis, it is even more critical for everyone to keep things clean. 

What items should get the most attention? What about older parents who might not be able to clean properly as they did when they were younger? According to the CDC, older adults and those who live with, visit, or provide care for them need to take preventive measures to protect themselves from getting COVID-19 and many other illnesses.

Whether your home or an older parent's home, start cleaning with commonly used items. The CDC guidelines are an excellent place to start:

  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly and after you have visitors in your home.
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops.
  • Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed. 
  • Clean surfaces using a product suitable for each surface, following instructions on the product label.

Clean items more frequently if you or a loved one is more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Disinfecting is also an option.

The EPA has said some cleaning products are available that are very effective against COVID-19. For example, the original Pine-Sol was proven effective against the coronavirus after 10 minutes, according to the EPA. It joins other Clorox-brand products as well as several from Lysol on the EPA-approved list

Cleaning is Usually Not Fun but a Good Habit to Get Into

While some people certainly enjoy it, cleaning isn't something many of us enjoy regularly doing. However, we must do it to stay in good health (especially these days.) No matter how hard we try, though, there will always be some things that we forget to wipe down. That's why we've put together a list of which household items you should clean more often. That way, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

  • Doorknobs and Light Switches

Some surfaces that people often forget to clean include doorknobs and light switches. Even people who regularly clean their homes from top to bottom tend to forget about them. 

Doorknobs and light switches get touched more than anything else you regularly come into contact with, so keeping them clean is essential. Fortunately, they're easy to clean. All you have to do is occasionally wipe them off with a disinfectant wipe.

  • Trash Cans

Even though they're made to hold your garbage, trash cans don't kill germs that are on them. Due to the items inside of them, they're definitely the most disgusting thing in an entire household—even if they look relatively clean. That's why it's vital that you thoroughly clean out and scrub your garbage cans every so often to avoid any unnecessary illnesses.

  • Bedsheets

It's actually shocking how rarely some people wash their bedsheets. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing sheets once per week and changing your pillowcases two to three times per week.

However, according to survey's many people change sheets once a month. Even if you wash them once a month, that's not frequent enough (especially if you own eucalyptus sheets.)

You need to clean that type of sheet about once a week. Eucalyptus sheets have a list of other rules you should know about when it comes to taking care of them.

Don't Forget the Bathroom and Kitchen

Bathrooms are always a high priority to keep clean and help keep your family healthy. Be sure to clean the toilet, shower, and sink. Keep all surfaces in the bathroom clean and make it a priority. 

Don't forget your toothbrushes and hand towels. Plus, keep them apart if more than one person uses the bathroom.

Be sure to keep countertops, drawers frequently, and refrigerator door handles clean in your kitchen. Most people visit the kitchen often, and keeping it clean for food preparation is always essential. However, adding the virus crisis to the mix, this area must stay clean. 

Keyboard, Mouse, and Other Electronics

Whether you work from home or simply spend a lot of time on the internet, your keyboard and mouse get a lot of use. You transport all the germs on your hands over to them without even realizing it. If you're not regularly cleaning your keyboard and mouse, then you're setting yourself up for a cold - or worse, COVID-19 or the flu! 

However, as long as you keep a can of compressed air and some electronic-safe wet wipes nearby, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Occasionally spray the compressed air into the keyboard to remove crumbs and dust and wipe the screen with electronic-safe wet wipes.

Don’t forget to keep your telephone and other devices clean as well.

Credit Cards

While we've mostly covered which household items you should clean more often, we wanted to talk about one more: your credit cards. 

Although they get used most frequently outside of the house, how to clean them is worth mentioning. They almost exclusively get used in machines that other people put theirs into. While that doesn't sound so bad, it gets worse when you realize that whatever that person touched before using their card is likely in that card reader. The germs are waiting for your card to come through.

It is why it's a great idea to wash your credit card off whenever you get the chance. You never know where someone else's might have been. Cleaning your card is as simple as rubbing a wet wipe over its surface.

Disinfecting

Disinfecting items in your home, or your parent's home, is more important than ever due to COVID-19. Remember, you clean first and then disinfect - review this guide for cleaning and disinfecting from the University of Rochester Medical Center- Cleaning and Disinfecting Guide.

Helping Older Loved Ones from Afar

Whether you live in a different neighborhood or another city entirely, there are many ways to keep your parents keep their homes clean and safe without ever stepping foot inside their homes.

Consider a cleaning service. There are cleaning services skilled in cleaning homes that understand today's concerns with viruses. If that is not possible, and they are cleaning their house themselves, use a video chat to see how they are doing with their cleaning (and other self-care needs.)

Please encourage them to wash their hands often. And then do it again. Keeping their hands clean will make up for some lack of cleaning in their home.

If you can't check on them often, find a friend, neighbor, or even someone from church to stop by regularly and see if their house is being maintained properly. 

Keeping clean keeps everyone safe and healthy, no matter our age.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Being prepared to avoid getting sick, no matter your age is essential to overall good quality of life. As we get older, we see more changes in our health, body, and mind and often require help with daily living activities. You might already be seeing your older family members decline.

Preparing for the costs and burdens of aging should be a key part of retirement planning. Long-term health care costs are rising rapidly. Since health insurance and Medicare only pay a fraction, if any, of these future costs, it is our responsibility to plan ahead.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will provide guaranteed tax-free benefits to pay for your choice of quality care services, including in-home care. With these benefits paying for quality professional care, your loved ones will have t eh time to be family instead of caregivers.

Most people obtain their coverage in their 50s.

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LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

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Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.

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Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

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