Steps To Protecting Homes from Viruses

Shannon Quinn - March 22, 2020

The obvious answer to protecting your home from the virus is to stay home where you can’t possibly catch it from someone else. This helps to “flatten the curve” of infection. However, it’s always possible that you’re living with someone who is still required to work, because they are in a field that is essential to society. Or, maybe your partner or roommate isn’t obeying the rules, because they believe they would only get “mild symptoms” if they got sick. This is especially dangerous, because there is a lot of misinformation going around the Internet. Even if you are in self-isolation and leave your house for essentials like groceries, there is still a chance you could accidentally become a carrier. Here at Home Addict, we’re giving you some of the best ways to clean up your house to prevent the spread of this crisis.

Leave your outdoor clothing by the door so that you don’t carry anything to the main part of the house. Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

30. Leave Shoes, Coats, and Bags at the Door

Whenever you leave your house, you should protect your home from any remnants of the virus that could be potentially sitting on your clothes. This is why you should take off your coat, shoes, and purse in your front entryway. If you’re the sort of person who usually leaves your shoes on when walking around the house because your feet get too cold, buy a nice pair of house slippers online, and switch to them as soon as you walk inside. Some people have a smaller house or apartment without a mud room or dedicated entryway, so you might want to buy a coat and shoe rack to assemble near your front door. Cube shelving is also a good option that doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it gives you a dedicated space to place your shoes and bags.

If you haven’t already done so, create an entry space near your front door. Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock

After hanging up your outdoor items, spray the objects with an aerosol disinfectant, or use disinfecting wipes to clean anything that has been outside. In households where there are vulnerable people living inside, some have gone the extra step to take everything off before they enter the house. Leaving a can of disinfectant spray on your front porch might be a good idea to spray yourself off before entering. Even without a crisis, creating a dedicated entryway is a great way to keep your home clean and organized. So by taking the extra steps to do this now, you’re going to set a president for cleanliness going forward.

Steaming your clothing does so much more than removing wrinkles. Photo Credit: Chapels Dry Cleaning

29. Wash or Steam Your Outerwear

If you haven’t washed your coat in a while, it’s time that you do this right away. It’s especially important to clean your jackets when you go on public transportation, because you’re exposed to so many people at once. People are coughing and sneezing on buses and trains, which releases germs and viruses into the air. Even if you’re standing a fair distance away from someone, your outwear could still be carrying the virus. In the warmer months, you won’t wear a jacket as an outer shell around your body. After going for an essential food trip to the grocery store, it might be a good idea to change your clothes as soon as you walk through the door, and wash them immediately on the “warm” setting. Don’t worry about cross-contaminating your other laundry, because the soap will kill the virus, much like washing your hands for 20 seconds.

Steamers can kill germs and viruses with heat. Photo Credit: Zonex Supply

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It might not be possible for you to wash your jacket every single day if you need to go to work. One great alternative is to purchase a clothing steamer, and go over your clothes with it once you get inside. The steam gets hot enough to kill the virus, which is all you need to make sure your outerwear is protected when it enters your home. This only takes a couple minutes to plug in the steamer, allow it to heat up, and go over your clothes with the high temperature steam. Just make sure to follow the instructions so that you don’t burn yourself while using it.

Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Photo Credit: Centro Islamico

28. Wash Your Hands For 20 Seconds and Use Hand Sanitizer

We have all heard the advice on the news to wash our hands for 20 seconds at least a million times at this point. However, most people don’t realize the reason why we need to wash our hands for that length of time. A microscopic virus is coated in a layer of fat, which helps it keep its shape. Soap helps to break down the fats of the virus’s outer shell, but it takes time to do that- 20 seconds, to be exact. Warm water will rinse off the dead virus, and it goes down the drain.

Hand sanitizer is a good alternative to washing your hands. Photo Credit: FotoHelin/Shutterstock

If this concept is difficult to wrap your head around, and you want to see this effect in real life here’s a science experiment for you and your kids; Take a bottle of water, and add oil to it. Even when you shake the bottle to mix up the oil, you will see globs of it still floating in the water. As the old saying goes, oil and water don’t mix. But when you add soap and shake the bottle for 20 seconds, you’ll see the oil begin to dissolve. A great video that explains all of this is called “How soap kills the coronavirus” by Vox. Take some time to watch and share the video with your family and friends.

Make sure you disinfect your phone on a daily basis. Photo Credit: Medium

27. Clean Your Phones, Tablets, and Computers Daily

Even during a regular cold and flu season, germs can linger on your phones, computers, and tablets for several days. This is especially true if you have recently taken your technology out to coffee shops or to the office for work. Think about all of the times that you put your phone down on a desk, picked it up, rubbed your eyes, and touched your mouth. It’s really no wonder why people get so many colds in the winter time. So few people actually take the time to grab a few disinfectant wipes and clean off these items. Obviously, a lot of stores are running out of wipes. However, you can get some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, and it has the same effect.

During an epidemic, your smartphone is going to be filled with germs. Photo Credit: Microgen/Shutterstock

Just like your jackets and shoes, your phone is going out in the world with you. People touch objects on shelves, steering wheels, toilets, and so much more before they touch their phones. And yet, people never stopped to think that they might need to be cleaned the same way that so many other things in life do. Try to get in the daily habit of cleaning your phone if at all possible. Even in the future, when we have a vaccine for this current virus, everyone should get in the habit now, and carry it over for the rest of their lives.

Sadly, the days of inviting friends over for dinner parties is over. Photo Credit: Rath Vegh

26. Don’t Allow Visitors

As sad and lonely as social isolation may feel, it’s really the best defense we have against this crisis. If you have a health condition that makes you vulnerable to the virus, it is especially important for you to keep visitors away. Even if your loved ones seem perfectly healthy, they could be carrying the virus without showing symptoms. In Hong Kong and China, they had a rule that no one was allowed into a building until they checked their temperature. If they had a fever, they were turned away. You can choose to do this for your own home by purchasing a digital forehead thermometer, and inspecting each person before they come through the door. It’s also good practice to check your temperature daily, at least until the virus is contained.

Don’t allow friends to come by for random visits anymore. Photo Credit: Jacob Lund

Remember that even if you do everything perfectly to protect yourself, you have no control over what other people are doing. The more people you invite over to your house, the more chance you have at bringing in someone who has been in contact with a carrier. However, if you know that this friend is also self-isolating in their house without going anywhere, and they are going from their car and immediately to your front door, it should be fine, provided that they follow some of the other sanitation rules laid out on this list. This issue has caused a lot of people to get their feelings hurt, especially if they believe the concern is overblown. However, at the end of the day, you need to protect yourself, and your family. Hurting someone’s feelings by canceling plans should not come above your personal health and safety.

Wearing rubber gloves can protect your hands while you clean your house. Photo Credit: Petr Smagin/Shutterstock

25. Wear Rubber Gloves

If you’re tired of washing your hands every five minutes while you clean the house, you might want to consider investing in a pair of rubber gloves. For years, people have used these to protect their hands from drying out and getting damaged by chemicals like bleach. This way, you can keep moving on through the cleaning process before taking the gloves off. You can wash your hands just once instead of several times during the process.

Rubber gloves can help protect your hands from the virus. Photo Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Even though grocery stores and pharmacies are wiping down the shelves frequently, the products themselves could still be dirty. By wearing the gloves, it’s also a reminder to myself that I can’t touch my face. And as soon as I get home, I remove my gloves outside so that I’m not bringing anything potentially contaminated inside. This is the type of product where you should be able to find them at Dollar Tree, but they might be sold out. Your only option may be to buy them online.

Remember to disinfect your doorknobs frequently. Photo Credit: VIKTORIUS-73/Shutterstock

24. Disinfect Doorknobs

As soon as you enter your house, you’re immediately touching the door knob, so is everyone else in your family. It’s also potentially being touched by delivery drivers and other people who might come for a short-term visit. Try to get in the daily habit of cleaning your door knobs with a disinfecting spray and paper towel on a daily basis, especially if you know there are people in your house who need to work. If you’re lucky enough to have disinfectant wipes left in your stockpile, you could use those as well. In the worst case scenario, you could actually get a bleach solution in warm water on a wash rag to clean the surfaces that people are touching on a regular basis.

Wet wipes and alcohol on paper towels can kill the virus from common area surfaces. Photo Credit: FotoHelin/Shutterstock

Don’t forget to wipe down countertops, remote controls, refrigerator handles, tables, desks, TV’s, and pretty much everything in the bathroom. Think about all of the things you touch in your house throughout the course of the day. As soon as you remember something, clean it. Even if your partner or someone else in your household has been cleaning too, it can’t hurt to do it again. We don’t know how long this pandemic is going to last, so it’s a good idea to get into a new cleaning routine to make sure all of your surfaces in your home are getting sanitized on a regular basis.

There is a good reason why medical masks come in packs of 10 to 100. Photo Credit: amonphan comphanyo/Shutterstock

23. Dispose of Used Face Masks

At the beginning of the virus outbreak, there was a rush for people to purchase medical masks both in stores and online. Now, they are commonly found in nearly every store. Prices that were once inflated have now begun to go down, and it’s affordable for you to buy a box of disposable masks for your family. Stores like Staples also sell N95 masks. These are more expensive, but they do a far greater job at filtering out the virus, and keeping your safe.

Medical masks can protect your family if anyone gets sick in your household. Photo Credit: FamVeld/Shutterstock

If you’re lucky enough to already have medical masks stashed away for your family, remember that paper masks must be disposed of every time you are exposed to the virus. These can’t be reused, because the virus particles may be trapped inside of the mask itself. When you remove the mask, also be sure to wear gloves, or wash your hands immediately after touching them. This is especially important to remember if you’re taking care of a family member who is isolating themselves, because you don’t want to spread it to everyone else in your household.

Use disinfectant spray to clean off surfaces like tables. Photo Credit: Medium

22. Spray Your Rooms With Disinfectant

Viruses can stay alive in the air for several hours after an infected person has been in an area. If someone in your house is sick, and you’re waiting for the 14-day incubation period, you should go through each room of the house and use an aerosol spray disinfectant to clean the air. Even if someone gets sick in your home with the common cold for flu, this will be especially important for you to clean rooms the ill person has been in. Remember that catching a cold leaves your immune system vulnerable to catching something worse. So at times like this, you need to take every illness seriously.

Disinfectant spray kills viruses in the air. Photo Credit:

Bathrooms, kitchens, and other common areas of your home are the most important to disinfect. With so many people sharing that space, the odds of germs or viruses lingering in the air is the highest. Remember to open your windows to air out the rooms, too. If no one in your house is sick, and you have all been in alone… together, it’s probably not necessary to clean the air with disinfectant spray too often, especially since it can cause breathing issues. So please don’t go overboard with this step, but do so when you think it’s appropriate.

When food arrives at your door, make sure you clean off everything first. Photo Credit: Urlscan

21. Disinfect Food Deliveries

If you are picking up groceries or receiving deliveries from Amazon Prime, you might also want to disinfect the boxes and bags before you bring them inside. While we don’t know the exact amount of time that viruses survive on surfaces, we do know that viruses in general can still last for several days. Considering that items have passed through several hands before they get to your door, you don’t know where they’ve been. Even after opening the box and removing the objects, you should also wipe those down, as well. Most retailers are now required to wipe down shelves every hour, but they aren’t expected to wipe every single item.

Most food delivery services are being extra diligent with their delivery cleaning process. Photo Credit: Andemdanang

Delivery services are trained to be extremely careful, and most of them will even drop the objects off at your door so that you don’t need to have any human contact whatsoever. However, you can never be too careful, and you don’t want to take any chances, especially if you have someone in your household that is at-risk. It only takes a few minutes to wipe down things before they come into your house, so it’s better safe than sorry.

You can make your own disinfectant products using bleach and alcohol. Photo Credit: Kauka Jarvi/Shutterstock

20. Get Creative Using Bleach and Alcohol Based Products

Unfortunately, essential cleaning products like Lysol and hand sanitizer have been sold out from stores after people were panic-buying supplies. Companies like LVMH have even decided to stop producing their luxury products in favor of making more hand sanitizer. So it may take several weeks for us to get those products back into our homes. Thankfully, we can actually do a bit of DIY work in the meantime while we wait for stores to restock.

Many name-brand products use basics like alcohol and bleach to help add disinfecting properties. Photo Credit: tvätta fönster

It’s possible to make your own hand sanitizer with rubbing alcohol and aloe vera. While companies like Lysol are going to take a long time to restock, you might be able to go out and find basics like rubbing alcohol at your local CVS and Rite Aid. And if you have a bottle of bleach, you can mix just a couple tablespoons of it with water into a spray bottle. If you have no experience cleaning with bleach, be careful, because it will leave orange spots on your clothes, and it can also stain your carpet. Always wear some of your oldest clothing before you clean your house.

Leather cleaner and conditioner can help your goods stay supple. Photo Credit: Irktkani

19.Use Leather Cleaner on Chairs, Couches, and Accessories

Many of us have leather accessories in our homes- From couches, to chairs, purses, and even bags. They’re very luxurious, but the problem is that they are very literally animal skins. Just like human skin, they can contain a virus. But you can’t exactly wash your couch under a sink. One of the next best solutions is to buy specialized leather cleaner and conditioner. We highly recommend Leather Rescue. This will remove any existing scuffs and dry spots, which will make your leather goods look brand new.

Remember to wipe down your leather surfaces in your home, but give it some extra care. Photo Credit: FotoDuets/Shutterstock

For a quick daily clean, it’s okay to use disinfectant wipes or alcohol to disinfect your leather goods. However, keep in mind that leather is going to react the same way as washing your hands too frequently. It’s going to get very dry, which lead it to become discolored and crack. This is why you may want to consider buying a leather conditioner, which essentially acts like lotion to hydrate your items to keep them feeling soft. Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of your belongings, because it’s not like we can go out and buy new furniture anytime soon!

Remember to mop your floors to disinfect the high traffic areas of your home. Photo Credit: Messy Tired Love

18. Mop Your Floors

Mopping your floor is something that people should do at least once a week, but it’s one of those chores that many people let slide when they get too busy. If you are lucky enough to have Lysol or bleach in your home, pour some into a bucket of water and mop hard surfaces made of tile or vinyl. If you have real hardwood floors, be more careful with the products you’re using. Murphy’s Oil Soap is an amazing product to keep your wooden floors looking great, and it can still disinfect the area.

Mop heads need to be change and cleaned frequently in order to keep up with sanitation. Photo Credit: Buddit Nidsornkul/Shutterstock

Remember that your mop heads can get dirty and contain viruses after a while. Instead of reusing the same bucket of water for your entire house, empty it out and start over for each individual room, in order to prevent cross-contamination. Also remember to soap the mop head and let it air dry, to make sure that it’s clean. Even after all of the panic buying, there are still plenty of mops available for sale online, and at Walmart. If you want to get your entire house done quickly, you may want to buy more than one mop and bucket. Dollar Tree usually sells these items, so you might want to check it out before spending too much money online.

Use different cloths in different rooms of the house. Photo Credit: Aftenposten

17. Color-Coordinated Microfiber Cloths

If you have run out of wipes and paper towels (or you just want to be more eco-friendly with your cleaning products) you may want to invest in a package of multi-colored microfiber cloths. Instead of using the same cloth throughout your entire house, make sure you use a different cloth for each room of the house. This helps to make sure that you don’t accidentally cross-contaminate various areas.

Always wear gloves if you’re trying to help maintain the softness of your hands. Photo Credit: photopixel/Shutterstock

Once you are done cleaning with the microfiber cloths, you can either allow them to soak in a disinfectant solution like Lysol, or put them in the washing machine on the warm water setting. Don’t worry about them contaminating your clothes. A typical wash and rinse cycle takes at least an hour, but it only needs 20 seconds for soap to kill a virus. Then, they are heated in the dryer, which would also kill anything else that was on the clothing and towels.

Make sure to switch out your garbage bags on a regular basis. Photo Credit: Sheknows

16. Change Your Garbage Bags

Lining your garbage cans with plastic bags can help ensure that you’re keeping all of the germs in one place. But you won’t want them to linger for too long. Frequently switch out your garbage bags, especially if someone is coughing and sneezing into tissues and throwing them away. Once the bag is removed, you may also want to spray the can down with disinfectant spray.

Lining your bins helps to ensure that you’re containing viruses and germs inside of it. Photo Credit: Andrii Zastrozhnov/Shutterstock

If you’re out of disinfectant spray, you could take a plastic garbage can outside with some liquid dish soap. Spray it with your hose, and suds it up with soapy water. Just like washing your dishes in the sink, this process will help to clean any viruses that may be lingering on the trash can. Of course, this only works if you have a warm day that allows you to clean and air dry the can.

Make sure you disinfect kid’s toys regularly, but especially during an epidemic. Photo Credit: Deccoria

15. Wash Your Kid’s Toys

Most children play with toys every single day. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your kids occupied so that they don’t go stir-crazy while they stay inside. Toddlers will put toys in their mouths, because they obviously don’t know any better. So it’s incredibly important that you sanitize these items to make sure your kids don’t get sick. Even if children have very low odds of catching the virus, this isn’t exactly the best time for them to get a cold or flu, either. Plastic toys can be cleaned in a solution of warm water and bleach before being left out to air dry. Sometimes, you can even get away with putting plastic toys in the dishwasher. (Just be careful you don’t accidentally melt the toy.

Hand wash delicate plush toys and hang dry in the sun. Photo Credit: aon168/Shutterstock

Plush toys can sometimes go through the washing machine, so long as you use a mesh bag that’s meant to protect delicate items from falling apart. Or they can be hand-washed in a tub of laundry detergent and left in the sun to air dry. Since schools are closed, this might be a great opportunity to teach your children about hygiene. Ask your kids to help with the process of cleaning their toys, so that they can learn how to do this on their own some day.

Make sure you clean your steering wheel, which is the part of the car you touch the most. Photo Credit: Elre Work

14. Clean Your Car

If you’re leaving the house for essential trips to the grocery store and pharmacy, you might be accidentally carrying the virus into your car with you. This is why it’s very important for you to wipe down the services of your car, especially the steering wheel. Car washes may not be open during the crisis, but you can still clean everything at home. And if you choose to go to a self-service car wash, always sanitize anything that has been touched by other people. Since these are high-traffic areas, your safest bet is to clean your vehicle at home.

Go through your entire car and clean diligently to get rid of germs and viruses. Photo Credit: Toyota Tien Giang

If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a handheld car vacuum. This might not clean up the virus, but it will help to clean any dirt that might have accumulated on the mats of your car. Amazon also sells car cleaning kits that should come with everything you need to get the job done at home. There are also loads of other soaps, buckets, and microfiber cloths that are specially made for cleaning cars.

When you’re trying to stay clean, wash your towels more frequently. Photo Credit: Heol

13. Wash Towels and Sheets More Frequently

During normal times, some people go an entire month without washing their bed linens. Towels are often hung in the bathroom and used two or three times before being washed. Linens come in direct contact with our bodies, and they usually have loads of germs. This is especially true for sheets, since most people shower in the morning. Considering that we need to keep our homes as clean as possible, you should get in the habit of washing those items more frequently. Use your towels just once before washing them, and clean your sheets at least once a week.

Putting your face on a warm towel can help ease the dread. Photo Credit: Civil Market

Don’t have enough towels to maintain daily washes? Buy a full set of towels and washcloths online. These will never go to waste, since they’re an essential item that you’re going to use for the rest of your life. Same goes with a new set of sheets. These can help hold you over if you’re planning to dedicate just one day a week to washing your clothes. It may take your family a while to transition from their old habits, but it’s well worth the benefits you get from keeping clean, and it will also keep you busy if you’re bored while being stuck at home.

At some point, someone may get sick, and it’s best to be ready. Photo Credit: Metropo Liabierta

12. Prepare Bedrooms For Isolation

All across America, hospitals are running out of ICU beds with ventilators. Mild cases of the illness are being instructed to stay home in self-isolation. This means that one of your family members will need to be sequestered to a room of the house alone while the others try to stay away. However, the disease makes you so weak, you absolutely need help from someone to make your meals. It’s also incredibly difficult to walk up and down the stairs, because of labored breathing. In a large house, the task should be easy to isolate someone. Maybe you already have a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, so that the rest of the family can use a clean environment to get ready in the morning.

Is your home prepared for self-isolation? Photo Credit: The Mort Gagenote

Other have already kitted out their basements as an extra apartment, which would be perfect as an isolation area. But other people who live in a smaller space aren’t so lucky. Have a conversation with your partner about what’s going to happen if one or more people in the family gets sick. Consider getting rid of unnecessary items that are preventing you from having space to create this solitary area. If at all possible, try to create an area of your home that is all on one level, so that people don’t have to walk up and down stairs to get to a bathroom. The more you plan ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be if the virus ever reaches your home.

Make sure you wash your hands after playing with your dog. Photo Credit: Tails

11. Wash Your Hands After Petting Your Dogs and Cats

Lastly, you shouldn’t forget about your furry friends. Even if you’re practicing social distancing, you still need to take your dog outside for a walk. Or, an indoor-outdoor cat might explore the neighborhood. Thankfully, most pets are not going to get sick or die from the disease. But they could still be carrying germs and accidentally give it to you. Your immune system needs to remain strong to fend off the virus, which is why it is incredibly important for you to wash your hands after petting your dogs and cats.

Protect your pets from germs and viruses. Photo Credit: Duol

Even without this virus outbreak, this is still a good hygienic practice for you to take. You never know where your dogs have been, so it’s always good to make sure you’re being careful about germs. Also be sure to carefully clean your cat litter boxes. Consider purchasing disposable litter trays, if you would rather skip the process of cleaning out their plastic bins with soap and water every week. Also consider giving purchasing special pet shampoo so that you can give your dog or cat a bath.

Clean your hampers periodically, especially when someone gets sick. Photo Credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

10. Disinfect Clothing Hampers and Baskets

Very few people ever think to clean their clothing hamper. However, if you’re stripping your clothes off that you have worn in the outside world, it only makes sense that the container holding them is going to get dirty over time. Even before the crisis, hampers will get brown and dirty as time goes on. You’ll be shocked to see how dirty it really is! Cleaning is a lot easier to accomplish if you have a plastic hamper. Using paper towels and disinfectant spray like Lysol, clean both the inside and the outside of the hamper.

Clothing baskets get very dirty. Photo Credit: Paul Michael Hughes/Shutterstock

If you happen to have a wicker hamper, we recommend using an aerosol disinfectant spray to clean it, and wipe it down as much as possible. It would be more sanitary to purchase a hamper liner to go inside of your wicker piece. That way, you can clean the liner once a week at the same time that you are cleaning the clothing. If the hamper is made out of a material that seems to be impossible to clean, please consider purchasing a new one made of plastic.

Photo Credit: L.F/Shutterstock

9. Clean, Then Disinfect

On the CDC website, they recommend that when you are cleaning something at home, you should always clean with soap and water first and then follow up with a disinfectant. Personally, I can see this happening with washing your hands in a public bathroom, and then following up with a hand sanitizer. But they also give an example of washing your floors with soap and water and then following up with a disinfectant like Lysol. Or, you might want to do the same with your tables and countertops.

Always be sure that your surfaces are truly clean. Photo Credit: Clean My House Winston Salem

Personally, I feel like this advice is overkill for your daily or weekly cleaning routine. Most disinfecting cleaners like Lysol claim to kill 99% of viruses and germs. However, if someone in your household is sick, I think the “clean, then disinfect” is something you truly need to stick by if you want to stop the spread. I have heard stories of people living in the same household with someone that was sick. By cleaning diligently and staying separated from them in even a small apartment, it’s possible to stop the spread if everything is meticulously clean.

Air purifiers help clean the air of your home. Photo Credit: Yuttana Jaowattana/Shutterstock

8. Buy an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are incredibly useful, especially in today’s world. This is a machine that sucks in the air from the room. It goes through a HEPA filter and then releases your purified air through a fan at the top. The price range can vary a lot depending on how much square footage you’re hoping to clear with a single machine. If you live in a 1200 square foot apartment, you might be able to find an air purifier that filters your entire living space. However, if you live in a larger house, it’s more likely that one machine is not going to be enough. You may need to purchase multiple machines, or prioritize where the filtration needs to happen the most. Logically, it makes sense to keep the filter in a space that a lot of people congregate in your home.

Plants can help clean the air, but it’s no replacement for HVAC. Photo Credit: Quest Life

On average, you can expect to pay around $80 to $100 each of these machines, so it’s too expensive to buy one for every room in the house. In my house, we have two air purifiers. Whenever someone is feeling sick, we put one air purifier in our bathroom, because everyone needs to take their masks off to shower. We keep the second one in the bedroom of the person who is feeling sick. When everyone is feeling healthy, I will take the air purifier through the house and let it run for a few hours in multiple locations so that every room gets filtered.

A robot vacuum can clean your floors without lifting a finger. Photo Credit: Pexels

7. Vacuum More Often

We live in a time when even the smallest sniffle is enough to make you paranoid. If you have seasonal allergies, or if your pets make you sneeze, I highly recommend vacuuming your space more often. This should be done at least once a week, but if you have pets that shed often, you may want to do this once a day. Once the carpets are cleaner, the air quality will also improve. This will cut down on your allergy symptoms, and you’ll feel sick far less often, which will in turn make you wonder less if you have a more serious issue going on.

Swap out your old vacuum for something more powerful. Photo Credit: Pexels

For the past few years, I used a cheap stick vacuum that was only $20 from Walmart. During lockdown, I decided that it was worth the money to upgrade to a Dyson during a Black Friday sale. This has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made. After vacuuming just one room in the house, the entire tank was filled to the brim with dust, dirt, and cat hair. Now, I realize that the cheaper vacuums I’ve been using all my life have left so much dirt and dander behind that it seriously impacted my allergies. Once my family saw how well it worked, a few people bought their own vacuums, too. Ever since switching to the Dyson, my mom’s allergy symptoms were cut so dramatically, she no longer needed her medication.

Don’t get trash mixed up in your household. Photo Credit: Andrii Zastrozhnov/Shutterstock

6. Separate Trash Of Anyone Who Feels Sick

Unfortunately, a lot of us are living in a situation where if someone gets sick in your house, you have to take it very seriously, even before knowing the test results. So if someone in your household is feeling sick, you should always take precautions as if they truly did have the virus. Make sure they have their own trash can so that everything they use is separate from other items in the household. This way, if you need to throw something away, you don’t have to be worried about getting your hands anywhere near something that is potentially infected.

Buy a second color trash bag to keep potentially infected garbage away. Photo Credit: daizuoxin/Shutterstock

If at all possible, purchase different colored trash bags from the Dollar Tree so that everyone knows which bags were used by the sick person. When you’re ready to clean and take the bags out to the garbage cans, make sure that you wear gloves and a mask to handle any garbage that was taken from the sick person’s bedroom or bathroom. Even if you are the only person cleaning the house, make sure you communicate with the entire family what color trash bags are used for what purpose.

Going to a museum? You may need to keep away from your family. Credit: Pexels

5. Quarantine After Traveling Out of State or Country

To some of you, this advice will seem like common sense. Many governors have banned traveling out-of-state unless it’s absolutely necessary. But I know so many people who don’t see why it’s a big deal for you to visit a friend or family member who they trust. If you live near a border, it might be possible for you to work in another state. (For example, I live in New Jersey, but I’m just 20 minutes from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.) But for most people, going out-of-state means that you’re driving or flying long distances and putting yourself at high risk.

Social distance after traveling. Credit: Pexels

You are most likely going to stop at a gas station and touch the pump that has been touched by thousands of other hands. Then, there is the potential of going to a rest stop to use a public bathroom. Air travel is a whole other story. In my household, we have a rule that if anyone travels out of state, they must wear a mask at home and isolate themselves in their bedroom until they have been tested. And if anyone goes on an airplane, they need to rent a hotel room or AirBnB when they come back before they’re allowed back home.

Keep in touch with your friends online. Credit: Pexels

4. Keep Yourself Informed, and Keep in Touch With Friends

Nowadays, watching the news is enough to raise your blood pressure. So I completely understand if you have tuned yourself out and try to stay positive in a happy bubble at home. However, it’s important to know the numbers of cases in your local area. There might be a flare-up in your town that is especially bad. If you keep yourself in the loop, you’ll know when it’s relatively safe to go out, and when it’s not.

Even if you stay inside, keep informed about the outside world. Photo Credit: Double Shot Collective

For example, my town is rural, so it was one of the safest places for the majority of 2020. This gave people a false sense of security. But in the span of just one week, I knew at least a dozen people who were infected in a 5-mile radius. This information came from Facebook, as well as the local newspaper. Obviously, a lot of people wanted to keep that information private, and I only knew by talking to them directly. Once that happened, I knew that it was no longer safe to go inside of the grocery store. I only did Walmart grocery pick-up, and paid for delivery to my house until the local flare-up had passed.

It’s much better to keep your purse hanging near the door instead of putting it on a table. Credit: Pexels

3. Don’t Put Your Purse or Backpack On The Table or Countertop

Old habits die hard. You may have gone your entire life coming home from work or school and put in your purse or backpack on the kitchen table or countertop. However, purses and backpacks are exposed to the outside world and everything that comes with it. This is especially true for leather, since it is essentially a type of skin. When you put your purse down on the floor, shopping cart, a hook to use the bathroom, or literally anywhere else in the outside world, you run the risk of it picking up the virus.

Duffle bags are often put on the floor, and get very dirty. Credit: Pexels

When you bring that bag home and put it on your kitchen table, you could be unknowingly spreading the virus to the place where you eat dinner at night. Try to break the habit of putting your purse on a table or anywhere else where people are consuming things. Also get in the habit of cleaning your bags regularly. If possible, try to get in the habit of leaving your bag in home. Only carrying a wallet, or using Apple Pay on your phone to go shopping. The fewer objects you bring in and out of the store, the better.

What would you do if you actually ran out of toilet paper? Credit: Pexels

2. Make an Emergency Plan

Earlier on this list, I alluded to some of my emergency planning that I’ve discussed with my family. It is absolutely vital for you to have a conversation about what would happen if someone gets sick. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t like to think about the worst case scenario. However, having a plan should give you more peace of mind, because everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Leave important phone numbers on the fridge, and let everyone know where health insurance cards and important medical paperwork is.

Know who to call in case of emergency. Credit: Pexels

As morbid as it may sound, my parents have also begun drafting their last will and testament, just in case. They’ve updated their life insurance paperwork, and talked with me about what I’m supposed to do if they pass away. As sad as it makes us feel to think about death, it’s much better to know my parent’s wishes far ahead of time. Obviously, we are still taking every precaution possible to make sure they get to live out a long, happy, healthy lives, but we’re also prepared for the worst.

If you walk the dog in the park, keep them away from other animals. Credit: Pexels

1. Keep Your Pets Away From Other People and Pets

According to the CDC website, there have been a small number of dogs and cats who tested positive with the virus. Even though cases are rare, they still advise you to keep your pets away from animals who live outside of your household. When you take your dog for a walk, always keep them leashed at all times. Do not allow them to play with other dogs at the park, because you might unknowingly spread the virus between pets.

Try to keep your pets at home, or with trusted babysitters. Credit: Pexels

If you go on vacation and typically leave your dogs or cats in a pet hotel, you might want to reconsider. Ask friends and family if they can potentially watch your animals for you. With that being said, please don’t let this stop you from taking your pet to the veterinarian. They take this very seriously, and humans are forced to wait out in the car. Only one pet goes into the office at a time, and the rooms are wiped down in-between visits.