How to Disinfect your Home after a Cold or Flu

By Zoshia Ammann

The average germ can live on a surface between two hours and two months, with the length of time depending on the surface itself.  A hard, nonporous surface like a countertop, tile floor or door knob is a poor surface for bacteria to thrive, and the germ will eventually die off after a few hours.  However dishrags, kitchen sponges, clothes, carpets, and tissues allow germs to thrive for weeks and even months. The worse culprit: MONEY! Thousands of people touch paper money which allows the bacteria to seep deep into the fibers and stay there for months.

Here are a few easy and environmentally friendly methods to kill bacterial germs in your home:

The first is sunlight or UV light.

Sunlight kills bacteria almost instantly.  Handheld UV lights do the same thing as natural sunlight and are very inexpensive. Simply swiping them over surfaces kills germs. Some of today’s vacuums have UV lights installed next to the roller brush which kills germs in the carpet as you vacuum. Of course you can also throw open the windows and get as much sunlight in your house as possible, too. I have a few clients who leave out UV light wands for us to use on specified surfaces as we clean.

The second is vinegar/hydrogen peroxide.

Spraying and wiping the area with food grade hydrogen peroxide followed by spraying and wiping the same area with a 50:50 mixture of vinegar and water will kill germs on door-knobs, oven knobs, cabinet handles,  toilet handles, toothbrush handles and essentially all hard surfaces.

And finally…

Change out sponges and dish towels every day, wash clothes and bedding, and, of course, wash your hands regularly. Get used tissues into the trash immediately. This game plan should be used at both the beginning and end of a cold or flu. Being proactive about your environment is a sure-fire way to get well faster, in addition to preventing infections in the future.