Top Germ Hot Spots In Your Home That Affect Your Child’s Health

Germs are around us everywhere! There is no escaping them. They are in the air we breathe in, the glass that holds our water, the mattress we lie on and even on our cell phones!

By Anitha Bennett

Top Germ Hot Spots In Your Home That Affect Your Child’s Health

Keeping the house germ free contributes towards better health for all the members of the family, especially that of your children whose immune systems are still developing. A germ free and clean house also gives a sense of cleanliness and a feeling of overall wellbeing.

Here is an extensive guide on places which are germ breeding grounds around your house and how to keep them clean. The guide has been divided according to the age group of the child, keeping in mind the amount of time and exposure each age group has in that zone.

Age - 8 months to 2 years

Floor

Where are the germs

  • Floors in your house - including your balconies and patio areas.
  • Nooks, crannies and corners.

How to keep clean

  • Sweep and mop your floors every single day. If possible, twice.
  • Use a disinfectant floor cleaner with a mild pleasant smell.
  • Do a deep cleaning once a week using a wet and dry vacuum.

Mats

Where are the germs

  • Door mats – especially at the entry and the bathroom.
  • Carpets
  • Area rugs

How to keep clean

  • Wash and rotate your door mats every week.
  • Soak mats in hot water and a strong detergent overnight before washing them. Hand scrub them or machine wash followed by drying them in the hot sun.
  • Give big carpets for dry cleaning.

Toys

Where are the germs

  • Soft toys and fur babies
  • Plastic and rubber toys
  • Toy storage bins

How to keep clean

  • Dry clean all the soft toys every month.
  • Wash toys that are used for teething in boiling water.
  • Toys made of plastic or rubber and the toy bin can be washed with dish detergent every week or as and when they get soiled.

Age - 2 to 12 years

Toilets

Where are the germs

  • Wash basin
  • Potty and potty seat
  • Shower heads, mirrors and tap heads

How to keep clean

  • Wash your bathroom sink, potty, bathtub and floor with an effective bathroom cleaner one every three days.
  • Deep clean your bathroom with hot water and bleach every week especially the drain holes.
  • Store a pack of bathroom wipes for quick cleanup of sink and potty lid after every use.
  • Spray bathroom mirrors, taps and shower heads with a disinfectant spray every day and give a quick wipe down with a paper towel.

Pets

Where are the germs

  • Pet toys
  • Pet mattress
  • Pet food and water bowls

How to keep clean

  • Wash and rotate pet mattresses every week. Use hot soapy water and sun dry them. You can even wash them in your washing machine in a separate cycle.
  • Use dish detergent to wash and scrub toys clean every week.
  • Food and water bowls must be washed after each meal with dish detergent and a separate scrubber.

Shoes

Where are the germs

  • Shoe cupboard
  • On and under the shoes
  • Indoor bedroom/bathroom slippers

How to keep clean

  • Wipe dusty shoes quickly with a wet wipe before putting away in the cupboard.
  • Wash indoor slippers every month with soapy water. You can even run them in your washing machine.
  • Soiled shoes must be kept separately and scrubbed clean. If the undersides are soiled with roadside gunk, they must be scrubbed clean with a coarse scrubber and the scrubber must be thrown away.
  • Clean out the shoe cupboard every month with soapy water and wipe it dry before putting shoes back in.

Age - 13 to 18 years

Toiletries

Where are the germs

  • Toothbrushes
  • Razors
  • Soap dishes
  • Combs

How to keep clean

  • Change your tooth brushes every three months. Keep your toothbrushes covered with brush lids.
  • Use disposable razors and replace them every week. Also run the razors in hot water after every use.
  • Clean out your combs for every hair wash of yours. Use a toothbrush to scrub the dirt out.
  • Wash out soap dishes and other paraphernalia in the bathroom every time you deep clean your bathroom.

Make up

Where are the germs

  • Sponges
  • Brushes

How to keep clean

  • Wash your brushes in soapy water and air dry them.
  • Do not share makeup.
  • Replace make up and compact powder sponges every three months.

Currency

Where are the germs

  • Coins
  • Rupee notes
  • Purse/wallet

How to keep clean

  • Wash hands every time you come back home from shopping.
  • When handling a lot of coins and currency, wash hands immediately with soap.
  • Wipe both the outside and inside of your wallet with a wet wipe once a month at least.

Across all age groups

Towels

How to keep clean

  • Run a hot towel wash in your washing machine every week. You can club this with your deep cleaning bathroom routine.
  • Sun dry your towels after your bath every day.

Door knobs

How to keep clean

  • While deep cleaning a room, make sure you spray the door knob with a cleaning spray and wipe it clean.
  • Clean door knobs frequently if you have a constant flow of guests or when someone is sick at home.

Kitchen sink

How to keep clean

  • Pour hot water mixed with bleach or bleaching powder down the sink drain. Allow it to stay for a minimum of half an hour before washing it down.
  • Scrub down your sink every time you finish the dishes with a drop of dish detergent.

Switch boards

How to keep clean

  • Turn off the mains when you clean switches. Wear your rubber slippers. Take a damp cloth with a drop of dish detergent and wipe down the switches. Make sure the switches are completely dry before turning them on again.

Laptop

How to keep clean

  • Unplug your laptop. Wipe the lid and the bottom with a damp cloth.
  • Carefully wipe the screen with a soft dust cloth.
  • Use a dust remover spray to gently dislodge the dust in between the keys.
  • You can use a handheld vacuum to blow or suck out the same.

Mattresses

How to keep clean

  • Air dry your mattresses every month especially during the rainy season.
  • Vacuum the mattresses every time you change the bedsheets.
  • Dry clean the mattresses every year.
  • Replace old mattresses once in five years.

Garbage cans

How to keep clean

  • Wash out the garbage cans with bleach and hot soapy water every week along with your kitchen sink.
  • Always use garbage liners and do not put in garbage directly.

Remotes

How to keep clean

  • Use an antibacterial wet wipe when deep cleaning your living room to wipe your TV remote. Club the ac remotes and gaming remotes as well when doing so.

Cell phone

How to keep clean

  • Wipe down the cellphone preferably every night with a wet wipe or even a dry tissue before putting it on charge or do so the first thing in the morning when you pick it up.
  • Replace the screen guard every once a year.

Couch

How to keep clean

  • Vacuum your couch when you deep clean your living room.
  • Sundry or dry clean cushions every month.
  • Replace cushion covers every time you change sheets and towels in your home.
  • Wipe the wood with a wood cleaner cum polisher every month.

Anitha Bennett is a freelance author who has written books for children from preschool to preteen levels. She also conducts workshops for parents, teachers and children.