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How to Prevent the Spread of Germs in the Home

How to Prevent the Spread of Germs in the Home 12 Mar

Germs can be spread from contact with an ill person, or by touching unclean equipment or surfaces. Thus, in order to stop prevent spread of infection, it’s a good idea to deep clean your home to kill off any germs before they spread any further or multiply.

The outbreak of viruses, such as flu and common colds – or most recently, coronavirus – are easily spread. In order to prevent the spread of infection from one person to another, here's a handy guide to prevent the spread of germs in the home.

Remember: clean first, disinfect later

Although both can prevent the spread of infection, you should always remember, as a general rule, clean first and disinfect later. Put simply, cleaning helps to remove germs from surfaces, whereas disinfecting refers to the use of chemicals to kill germs on surfaces.

Use soap and hot water will rinse away the germs, and a disinfectant to kill them in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Once your home has been infiltrated with a bug, in order to prevent the spread from person-to-person, you should clean germ hotspots on a regular basis after use, rather than the standard once-a-week clean. This includes cleaning utensils such as cloths or mops, otherwise you’ll end up spreading germs around the house to other surfaces.

For this very reason, it’s a good idea to use disposable cloths and paper towels where possible, or reusable cloths should be disinfected or washed immediately after use. The same goes for all mops and buckets, which should be cleaned and dried after each use.

10 steps to clean and disinfect your home

  1. Put on disposable gloves.
  2. Ventilate your home through opening windows.
  3. Prepare your bleach solution/disinfectant.
  4. Mop the floor.
  5. Soak clothes in bleach solution or disinfectant, and wipe all frequently touched areas and toilet surfaces.
  6. Wash all bed linen with detergent in a washing machine at the highest heat setting.
  7. Mop the floor again.
  8. Put all used cloths and other waste (including gloves) into double-lined plastic bags.
  9. Separate any bags generated from the clean-up from other household waste and throw them away as soon as possible. 
  10. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly. Change your clothes and wash them on the highest heat setting.

Here are some general cleaning tips to help prevent the spread of germs in your home:

  • Frequently touched surfaces

Cleaning a kitchen worktop to prevent the spread of germs.
Photo credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Frequently touched surfaces that come into contact with people’s hands, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches and toilets, are a good place to start. Before you disinfect dirty surfaces, remember to clean them thoroughly first. To do this, you can use a household cleaning spray or wipe – be sure to follow the instructions carefully, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation whilst using the product.

When disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, ensure you use solutions that contain at least 70% alcohol or diluted household bleach solutions. Be sure to check the ingredients of the products you are using, to ensure you don’t use bleach with any other bleach solutions. It's also a good idea to check the expiry date of each product before use, as this can compromise how effective it will be.

If you are are wearing disposable gloves, throw away immediately after use. To do this to prevent the spread of infection, put them in a lined container before disposing of them with the rest of the household waste. Don’t forget to clean your hands thoroughly after handling the rubbish using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

  • Bathroom

When it comes to cleaning the bathroom, you must take extra care to ensure all germs are killed. As a guide, it's a good idea to use disinfectant on the following areas of your bathroom:

  • Toilet seat
  • Toilet handle
  • Toilet rim
  • Bath
  • Sink and taps
  • Shower tray

It’s a good idea to keep tiles and grouting clean to prevent germs from multiplying, as well as washing your shower curtains frequently – especially when used by someone who is feeling unwell.

  • Floors

Cleaning floor to prevent the spread of germs.
Photo credit: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

Everyone know that the floor can be a breeding place for dirt and germs as they are walked on frequently with shoes that have been used outside, and dirty items are often placed on top of them. Therefore, it’s a good idea to clean floors regularly with warm water and detergent to remove any visible dirt. If the floor has vomit, urine or faeces on, ensure you clean it using a disposable cloth and warm water, and then disinfect thoroughly.

On the other hand, if carpet or soft furnishings are involved, it can be laborious and time consuming. In order to remove all germs to prevent the spread of infection, steam cleaning is the best route. For more information, read our guide to carpet stains for the best ways to get your floor looking spotless, or contact us to get our professional team to clean your carpet

  • Laundry

In order to remove all coronavirus particles from your clothes, you must clean your laundry using the warmest appropriate water setting. Once they have been cleaned, leave them to dry. Only once they are completely dry, to ensure no germs fester and multiply, you can put them away. As always, ensure your hands are washed after handling any dirty laundry to prevent the spread of germs around the home. 

What temperature kills bacteria in a washing machine?

Ideally, all laundry (such as underwear, bed linen and clothing) should be washed at 60C (140F), or at 40C (104F) with a bleach-based laundry product to prevent germs from spreading.


Feature image credit: Sergey Mironov / Shutterstock


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