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Cleaning after the flu: how to clean after the flu

As soon as you are well again, it's best to rid your home from any remaining flu germs! Prevent further illness with these tips on cleaning after the flu.


cleaning after the flu

Whether it’s the normal strain of flu or the far more debilitating ‘man-flu’ version, the illness can not only lay you low but also affect the whole household if germs are allowed to spread. It is therefore important to know how to clean a house after flu to avoid the risk of others catching the virus.

Follow these tips on cleaning after the flu to minimise the risk of further illness.

Ventilation is important when cleaning after the flu. As unappealing as opening the windows on a cold day may be, it is good to ventilate your home after being ill to freshen the air and prevent any germs from lingering in the air, even after you’ve cleaned.

Step 1 – Cleaning the Bedclothes

When suffering from the flu, there is little else to do but to lie in bed and wait for it to pass. Bedsheets, pillowcases, and duvet cover inevitably become a hotbed of germs. As soon as you are able – and, if possible, on a daily basis during the illness – the bedclothes should be cleaned. Give them a machine wash, using your standard laundry detergent, at a high-temperature setting. The same applies for pyjamas or nightwear and for used towels. Always follow the garment care labels.


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Step 2 – Cleaning Loose Items

When thinking of how to clean after the flu, one often thinks about clothes and surfaces but forgets about items that have been picked up and used.

For example, thermometers used to check your temperature when ill, are often packed away after use. At the very least, a thermometer should be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe. Ideally, it should be dipped into a hydrogen-peroxide-based product, for a more effective clean.

Similarly, toothbrushes, although not shared, may transfer germs. They too can be dipped in peroxide. It is also a good idea to keep toothbrushes separate from each other, rather than in the same container, in order to avoid cross-contamination.

Any devices that you may have used should also be cleaned as part of the routine for cleaning a house after the flu. The remote control, the mouse on the family computer or the telephone, for example, should be treated using a disinfectant spray. Spray should also be applied to the couch or armchair, if any time has been spent in the living room, in order to combat any germs that have taken root in the material – just read the directions to make sure that the product is safe for your surface.

For these purposes, a standard disinfectant or anti-bacterial spray like Cif Anti-bacterial Original. Just read the directions on the label and test any product in a small area first.

Safety Warning

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Step 3 – Cleaning Surfaces

Cleaning after the flu means retracing your steps and going over every surface with which you may have come into contact. Use a disinfectant-based product like Domestos to go over all areas, including doorknobs, light switches and fridge and cupboard doors, as well as worktops, sinks and washbasins, toilet and bath, as well as hard and tiled floors. As for many cleaning questions, an alternative answer to cleaning products is a vinegar solution, its acidic properties acting on the germs. Hydrogen peroxide products will be even more effective at killing germs. And a steamer can be used on flooring – although be certain beforehand that the flooring is of a material that will not be damaged by the steam.

General Advice for Cleaning After the Flu

There is still work to be done even after cleaning after the flu. The sponges, cloths, and items used to do the cleaning will themselves have had germs transferred onto them and will need to be dealt with. The best advice would be to throw them away – it is more advisable to use disposable items such as paper towels. If not, then put the items in a washing machine as appropriate, and wash at a high temperature. 

Finally, an easy piece of advice for before, during and after flu: regular and thorough washing of hands will do wonders for avoiding the spreading of germs. Disinfectant products or normal soap can be used – what is more important is to do a thorough wash of 20-25 seconds, in order to dislodge all germs.

Also, open your windows! It may be chilly out, but the clean, fresh air will also help clear the room. And if it is sunny outside, the sun’s properties will also kill germs.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

Originally published