Being in the middle of cold, flu, and virus season, especially with children, can be scary. However, as long as you follow CDC Guidelines for getting your home ready, you should be fine. Teaching your kids to follow basic rules like washing their hands can make a world of difference. But what about disinfecting everything else they touch with those hands?
Surfaces like our kitchen tables, electronic tablets, and children’s toys carry bacteria and germs that can spread illness. However, if you disinfect and wash these items and surfaces often, in addition to everyone frequently washing their hands, it will help protect your family from passing germs back and forth.
How to Clean Toys
Staying at home for longer periods of time means playing with more toys more often. This is great for the imagination, but not so great for the germs. Thankfully, there are many ways to disinfect your kids toys. For the softer toys that are machine washable, place them inside a mesh bag or pillowcase to prevent them from clanking around in the washing machine or losing their shape. Bathtub toys or certain harder, non-electronic plastic toys (use your discretion) can be washed in the dishwasher. The hot water will kill off any germs on the toy and make it squeaky clean. If you don’t have a dishwasher, use hot water and soap in the sink, scrub each toy, and towel dry. If you want to go a more holistic route for the hard plastic toys, mix equal parts cold water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray down all of the toys. Let them sit for 15 minutes, then wipe them down with a clean cloth.
How to Clean Electronics
If your kids play with your phone, on a tablet, laptop, or other electronic, clean them on a daily basis. Consult manufacturer guidelines first, but you should be able to gently wipe down most electronics (unplug them first!) with disposable disinfecting wipes. Let them dry before plugging in and using them. If you are into more high-tech ways of sanitizing your electronics, there’s a great product out there called PhoneSoap. It uses UV light to safely disinfect all of your electronics. It’s latest product, HomeSoap, can hold all of your family’s items at once, including your laptop, phone, tablet, and more.
How to Wash Clothes
Washing your family’s clothes, sheets, and towels should be done more frequently during times of illness and to protect yourself from germs that can pass on viruses like COVID-19. If your kid has just eaten or sneezed and then wiped their face on their sleeve, have them remove their shirt and throw it in the hamper or straight into the washer. Bacteria can live on fabrics for days. Even though we’ve seen our kids do this a thousand times before, we need to be more diligent about removing the germs to keep them from spreading. When you’re ready to do a load of laundry, washing fabrics and clothing items on the hottest setting allowed by the items to kill off the germs. For an added boost, you may want to use a laundry detergent called a laundry sanitizer. Beware if you or your children have sensitive skin. The active ingredient in laundry sanitizer, benzalkonium chloride, may cause skin irritation. Note: If anyone in your family is sick, it is okay to wash all of your clothes together. The laundry cycle will kill the bacteria on the clothes, sheets, and other fabrics.
How to Disinfect Hard Surfaces
Hard surfaces include doorknobs, countertops, plastic toys, backpacks, bathroom surfaces, faucets, and light switches. Basically, anything that you and your child touch frequently. The easiest way to keep all hard surfaces clean is to use disposable disinfecting wipes. These are quick ways to kill most germs and bacteria and to ease your mind. If you have more time, or do not have access to disinfecting wipes, you can use any of the EPA-registered disinfectants or a mixture of hot water and soap. Use the soap mixture to scrub down all surfaces, then throw the rag, towel, or sponge into the dishwasher or washing machine when you’re done.
How to Wash Your Hands
Now more than ever, it is important to remind your kids over and over to wash their hands. On average, we touch our faces about 16 times per hour. For children, who have a lot more energy and less impulse control, this number can be significantly higher. Even if your kids have been safely playing inside your home all day, it’s good to set up a routine of having them wash their hands before and after eating, playing with toys, going to the bathroom, being outside, or in a public place like a supermarket. Washing your hands can be a boring chore for kids, so it’s important to engage them and make it fun. Make sure they wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing not only their palms, but the backs of their hands, in between each finger and thumb. The easiest way to track 20 seconds is to sing a song. The most commonly recommended song is Happy Birthday sung twice through, however, you can pick whatever song you want to sing along to. Forbes has a fun list of songs to keep your kids happy and make hand washing fun!
Professional Disinfecting Services
If someone in your home has fallen ill, or if you are overwhelmed with the amount of cleaning and disinfecting you need to do, you can always call a professional for help. Professionals like Alpha Omega Pros Cleaning and Disinfecting Services can help keep your house and family safer during virus outbreaks, like COVID-19. They offer disinfecting and deep cleaning services (although mainly offered to commercial businesses, call for more information). They use ULV fogging machines and EPA-approved products, cleaning your most commonly used and touched surfaces first, followed by deep contact cleaning.
Has Your Home Been Affected By Illness?
Contact Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration. We are still open, and here to help you sanitize your items and your home. Our team offers emergency response plans and clean-up, to help you more easily get through these difficult times. We’re available 24/7, 7 days a week. We are a professional disaster restoration company that employs industry experts who are seen as trusted advisors. Our team manages the recovery of your property damage by dedicating ourselves to honesty, integrity, reliability and producing a superior-quality service. We strive to continually challenge ourselves through learning, development, and accountability through industry relations.
Alpha-Omega is the leading disaster restoration and cleaning company serving Billings, MT and surrounding areas.