With flu season in full swing, many of us have fallen victim to this virus. Even if you live a healthy lifestyle, it can be hard to keep the bugs at bay. While eating healthy and getting daily exercise goes a long way in preventing illness, keeping your everyday environment clean also plays a leading role. We know to keep our distance from a person when they have the flu, especially during the first few days, but the virus can spread by coughing, sneezing, and touching items around the house. Unfortunately, the flu virus can survive from two to eight hours, up to two days on nonporous materials, so it is essential that you thoroughly clean your environment after a bout with the flu. Luckily, if you are looking for a more natural way to clean, there are various ways to disinfect naturally during the flu and cold season.
Are you or a loved one sensitive to chemicals? If you are looking to disinfect naturally during flu season, you’re in luck. Many of the natural cleaning options can be found in your kitchen cabinet, or at least easily found in a variety of stores.
Steam– Investing in a good handheld steam cleaner is a great way to clean and sanitize your surfaces. An effective and inexpensive way to kill germs, you don’t need anything but water to disinfect pretty much any surface. You can even clean hairbrushes and toothbrushes! Using a steam cleaner is not popular, but it is an excellent option for those with sensitivities. Since it doesn’t irritate the skin or lungs, it’s great to use around children and animals.
Antimicrobial Essential Oils– Another quick and easy way to clean, sanitizes, and disinfect is to use antimicrobial essential oils. Essential oils and water make an excellent spray-and-wipe solution, and it smells great! Some of the best essential oils to use for cleaning are tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, bergamot, lemongrass, orange, lavender, clary sage, thyme, cinnamon, and oregano oil. While essential oils can be expensive, you don’t need much (only a few drops), and they have a variety of uses!
Vinegar– Vinegar has many uses, but you may not know that it’s excellent for cleaning and disinfecting your home as well. Vinegar contains 5% of acetic acid, which is known to kill viruses and bacteria. While the smell is not the best, it can be easily masked by using essential oils. Add some baking soda to the vinegar, and you can increase your cleaning power. However, if you use it solo, mixed with hot water, the smell will dissipate as it dries. It is also crucial to know that you should never, EVER mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide. Combining the two can create peracetic acid (corrosive acid), which can harm your lungs, eyes, skin, nose, and throat.
Hydrogen Peroxide– Another common household item, you can use hydrogen peroxide to kill viruses and bacteria. Use hydrogen peroxide the same way as bleach, mixed with water, and then wiped down. However, use caution when using hydrogen peroxide, as it can stain clothing and porous countertops. You can use hydrogen peroxide on granite or marble once in a while, but it is not okay for continual use. When using hydrogen peroxide on a colored surface, test it out first on a discrete area. If you decide to use hydrogen peroxide in your own natural cleaning solution, be sure that you do NOT add vinegar. If you want to have the most disinfecting power, look for a 3-6% hydrogen peroxide solution.