Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Post Virus Cleaning Frenzy

Hubs and I are just getting over a nasty bout with a stomach virus.  We have avoided this little bugger for years, but our luck ran out this past weekend.  I am getting my energy back and have been on a mad frenzy to rid the house of germs. 

I'm not a clean freak, but you wouldn't know that to see me the last day or two.  I've been sanitizing everything.  It's nowhere close to being done.  I have to clean a little, then rest, then clean a little more. The problem is, the more I clean, the more I see that needs to be cleaned.

My eco weapons of choice are a steam cleaner, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. 

I came across a great article about using the peroxide - vinegar combo.  The article (from Eco Child's Play) really hit home.  Before reading it, I was tempted to temporarily give up my eco friendly ways and go buy some bleach.  Here's an excerpt:

Keep white vinegar in a spray bottle, and 3% hydrogen peroxide in another.  (The bottle containing the hydrogen peroxide should be opaque, as it will degrade in a clear bottle.)  Spray your contaminated surfaces with the vinegar and follow with the hyrogen peroxide. This lethal (to germs) combination has been shown to be as effective as chlorine bleach, killing 99% of bacteria.

You can even clean fruits and vegetables using this method!

A word of caution - Do not mix the vinegar and peroxide together in the same container. That forms peracetic acid, which is caustic.

The article has a link to a list of the top 10 places where germs hide.  Here's the list:
   1. Refrigerator doors and handles
   2. Bathroom faucets
   3. Doorknobs
   4. Remote controls
   5. Light switches
   6. Telephones
   7. Dishwasher handles
   8. Salt and pepper shakers
   9. Toys
  10. Your hands!

I was very proud.  The only one on the list that I hadn't sanitized were the salt and pepper shakers.  There are no kids in our house, but I counted the computer as a toy.

I will be buying new toothbrushes as soon as I can get myself to a store, but meanwhile, I'm soaking my toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide between brushings.  The soaking is probably not necessary.  Swishing it in peroxide (or vinegar) just prior to use, then rinsing it well is apparently just as effective.

Laundry.  Oh my.  It sure does pile up during a bout with the flu.  I have a special setting on my washer called Sani-Wash.  It takes almost 2 hours per load.  Does it work?  I don't know.  Does it make me feel better?  Yes.  I'm really paranoid right now and all of our towels and washcloths look like they are holding a zillion invisible virus germs.  Since each load takes so long, I may never catch up on the laundry. What's making it worse is that I don't want to use any towel, washcloth or dishcloth more than once for a while.

At this rate, my house might have a tiny chance at being almost as clean as my sister-in-law's house.  Linda has the cleanest house of anyone I know at any given time.  Truly, you could drop over to see her at any time, day or nigh, and everything would be spotless.  I totally blame her for this cleaning frenzy.  She told me she knew of a family who had this virus go through their house twice!


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