Wash your hands. No matter how long you’ve been gone or how careful you’ve been, make it a house rule that everybody (including guests) wash their hands immediately upon entering your home. Keep a roll of paper towels by the sink to eliminate dirty hand towels.
Remove shoes at the door. Think about all of the dirt and germs that accumulate on your shoes, and you’ll never want to walk through your home wearing them again. Not only will you help contain the spread of germs and viruses, you’ll also keep your floors clean with a lot less effort. Keep your entryway neat with an attractive, low-profile bench that has cubby holes for each family member, or just use a few baskets if space is tight.
Rethink your handbag. Many women carry a handbag everywhere they go, and frequently set it down on dirty surfaces without even thinking about it. Hopefully you never set your handbag on the bathroom floor, but just leaning against a store counter, work desk, or even brushing up against other people can transfer germs to your bag. Some bags can be easily cleaned with disinfectant wipes, but others (including leather bags) need special care. Leave your bag at the door, or hang it from a hook to keep it off the floor. Most importantly, never place your bag on the kitchen counter or table, since those are especially critical surfaces to keep clean and germ-free.
Disinfect high-touch areas daily. Do a quick wipe down of any touched surfaces at least once a day. This includes doorknobs, faucets, handrails, light switches, refrigerator doors and drawer handles, as well as frequently touched objects such as remote controls and game consoles.
Clean your personal items. Your cell phone, keys, water bottle, earphones, swipe cards, lipstick and anything else that you handle several times a day are great places for germs and viruses to hide. Wipe them down daily, or after anybody else has handled them. Your cell phone is probably one of the worst sources of germs, so daily disinfection is a must. Rest assured that most cell phone manufacturers have stated that disinfectant wipes are safe and won’t damage your phone.
Change your clothes. Consider changing your clothes as soon as you get home. Keep dirty clothes contained in a separate bin, and wash them in medium-sized loads to ensure they are laundered properly.
Shower or bathe. Showering daily might not be enough anymore. If you’ve been in running errands and exposed to lots of people and environments, a quick shower when you get home can help keep germs at bay. Don’t forget to put on clean clothes afterwards.
Launder sheets and towels more frequently. Wet towels can harbor bacteria and germs, and are just plain nasty. If possible, wash all towels after every use. If that’s not feasible, don’t use them more than two or three times, and make sure every family member has their own set of towels that only they use. If you shower before bed, changing your sheets once a week is probably sufficient. But if you or your bedmate are ill, wash them more frequently – even daily if necessary.
Safeguard against service people. Plumbers, electricians, cable repair people – any service people that come into your home can bring the germs of all of their previous customers with them. While most reputable service companies have protocols in place to ensure your safety as well as their employee’s well-being, you still need to be vigilant. Insist that they wear a mask and gloves if appropriate. Supply disposable booties if they don’t have them. And be certain to wipe down any surfaces they may have touched while doing their work.
Protecting your home and your health takes only a few minutes a day. Keep in mind that these are habits you should keep for good – not just during the pandemic. These same routines will help keep flu, allergies, and even common colds from thriving in your home.