27 July, 2017
How to Disinfect Your Home After a Stomach Bug
As well as being extremely unpleasant, stomach bugs, stomach flu or gastroenteritis are highly contagious illnesses. Although symptoms typically only last for a few days, infection can still be spread for up to two weeks after vomiting and diarrhea stop. It is essential, therefore, that you break the chain of infection that allows the illness to be spread from person-to-person. Thoroughly clean and disinfect your home after a stomach bug and kill any remaining bacteria and viruses.
Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing 1/3 cup bleach with 1 gallon warm water. Bleach has been shown to be one of the only effective killers of stomach bug viruses; so using a strong solution will ensure your home is properly disinfected.
Open windows and ensure there is a good airflow through your home, so that it is well ventilated. This will prevent the build-up of fumes from cleaning materials.
Clean the toilet thoroughly. Put on rubber gloves and use the bleach solution to disinfect all of the sanitary fittings. Dip a dish sponge into the bleach mixture and use it to scrub under the rim of the toilet. Clean the toilet seat using the same solution and a cleaning cloth. Dip an old toothbrush into the bleach and carefully scrub the toilet seat fixtures and hinges. Finally mop the floor. Throw the toothbrush and cleaning cloth away. Do not use them to clean anything else.
Dampen a cleaning cloth and wipe any surface which the infected person may have touched. Pay particular attention to the toilet flush mechanism, handrails, taps, light switches and door handles or knobs.
Throw away any block soap that the infected person may have used and replace it with a new one.
Repeat the cleaning of any surfaces handled in other rooms which the person may have used, such as the bedroom or living room.
Replace all bedlinen and towels -- and wash them at the highest possible temperature in your washing machine. Add a cup of vinegar to the wash as an additional antibacterial agent.
Dilute 1 tsp. distilled vinegar and 1 tsp. dish detergent in a pint of warm water. Sponge any carpet stains with the mixture. Rinse with damp paper towels and then blot dry. Throw the paper towels away as soon as possible.
Remove any lingering smells by placing a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight. The antibacterial action of the vinegar will help to neutralize the odor.
Place any used cloths, paper towels or rubber gloves into a plastic garbage bag and tie it securely. Place the bag into a second bag and tie it again. Take the bags out of the house as soon as possible
Discourage visitors for at least two weeks after a stomach bug to reduce the chances of further infection.
If a stomach bug lasts for more than a few days, speak to your healthcare provider.
- Stop the Stomach Flu: Which Cleaning Products Kill Stomach Flu Viruses?; Annie Pryor
- "Vinegar: 1001 Practical Uses"; Margaret Briggs; 2006
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images