By Leslie Reichert
Did you know that a cold or flu virus can live on a surface for up to 48 hours? And a healthy adult can infect their friends 24 hours prior to recognizing they are sick. During cold and flu season you need to know where those germs are hiding.
- Door handles
Everyone entering and leaving a home has to touch a door handle. If they have a cold or flu virus, they are going to contaminate the door handles. You can clean them by washing the door knobs with warm soapy water and then rinse. The soap will lift the germs off the knobs and carry them away to the washing machine. A microfiber cloth will work the same way without using soap. Just wet a high quality microfiber cloth with warm water and wipe the door knobs. To work efficiently, fold the cloth into eighths. Once one surface of the microfiber cloth is dirty, fold it to a clean area to prevent cross contamination. Rinse the microfiber in hot water. The microfiber does not absorb germs; it just holds onto them so they go down the drain.
Cleaning keyboards should become a regular habit whether it's flu season or not. Keyboards are magnets for germs and viruses. You can remove germs quickly by using a tissue sprayed with rubbing alcohol. Wipe the sprayed tissue over the keys to remove germs and prevent others from spreading. You can get in between the keys by dipping a Q-tip into rubbing alcohol and working it around the keys. Make sure the Q-tip is just damp and not dripping alcohol.
- Light switches
If you have a flu virus floating around your home, the chances are great those germs are lingering on some of your light switches. Wipe them down with a microfiber cloth or an alcohol-treated cloth every day. Since the virus can live for 48 hours, this routine will keep you on a schedule from getting a virus from a contaminated light switch.
- Toilet Tank Lever
Everyone knows that the toilet is an extremely germy place in your home. But it also is hiding cold and flu germs. The toilet tank lever is touched by everyone when you flush. People who are infected with the flu are touching the handle before washing their hands. Make it a habit to wash your hands before flushing and then use a paper towel to protect your hands when you flush. If you are in a commercial bathroom you may be able to use your foot to flush.
- Elevator buttons
Have you ever considered how many sick people may have touched those elevator buttons before you? Carry a tissue in your coat pocket and use it to protect your hands. Through it away when you get to your office.
- Grocery Store cards
Do you have that special card on your keychain that gets you great values at your local grocery store? You may be getting more than just great discounts on your food bill. You are also being exposed to viruses. Offer to swipe your card yourself to prevent spreading germs.
- Cell phones
When was the last time you cleaned and disinfected your cell phone? We come in contact with germs all day and even if we wash our hands, our phones are still holding onto those germs. Make it a daily ritual to wipe your cell phone in the morning and evening with a damp microfiber cloth. The cloth will disinfect all those germs by lifting them of without chemicals.
- Water fountains
I learned never to use a water fountain from my daughter's preschool teacher. Instead she recommended the children bring water bottles. In theory a water fountain should be fairly germ free if used correctly, but people tend cough, sneeze and spit into the fountains. Bacteria flourishes in the warm, wet environment. If you absolutely have to use a water fountain, let the water run for 30 seconds prior to drinking so you flush bacteria out of the water supply area. I also recommend using a tissue on the control knob.
Leslie Reichert is a cleaning expert that encourages people to think differently about their cleaning products. Leslie is known as the Green Cleaning Coach is changing the world - "one spray bottle at a time". She is a national speaker, a frequent home keeping expert on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Maid Brigade's DIY Cleaning Expert and the author of the book: The Joy Of Green Cleaning. For tips and simple, but effective strategies visit her at www.greencleaningcoach.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.