How To Clean Your Home When Someone Has Been Sick  

It’s not always possible to avoid catching an illness, but there are definite ways to reduce your risk and prevent infections from spreading to others. Deep cleaning your home after a bout of illness can help kill viruses and germs and keep the rest of your family from getting sick too. The flu or Influenza virus can live on some surfaces for up to 24 hours. Different types of viruses can cause colds, which have been shown to survive on indoor surfaces for up to seven days.

Norovirus, a common cause of stomach bugs, can live on surfaces and sicken others for up to two weeks. Scientists found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be detected in aerosols for up to three hours and live on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days. Now, with the COVID delta variant and lamda showing up in parts of the U.S., we must be more vigilant than ever when it comes to destroying left-behind germs in the home when someone has been ill. 

The spread of germs

Germs can be spread from person to person or by touching contaminated surfaces, equipment, electronic devices, doorknobs, handles, light switches, and other frequently touched objects. To prevent the spread of infection, focus your efforts on cleaning areas in your home where germs are more likely to spread. Use soap and hot water and a disinfectant to kill germs. Also, make sure to dry surfaces such as countertops and chopping boards after cleaning. Dampness helps any remaining germs survive – and if there’s enough water – multiply. 

Regularly clean the kitchen and bathroom(s), and anywhere else in your home where germs are likely to spread, including after each use. In general, viruses survive for longer on non-porous (water-resistant surfaces such as metal and plastics, than porous surfaces such as fabrics and tissues. Reduce your risk and prevent infections from spreading to others in your home by washing hands regularly, particularly after going to the toilet, before handling food, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Also, keep your home clean and hygienic, particularly if a member of your family is unwell.  

Norovirus (stomach flu)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noroviruses cause anywhere from 19 million to 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis per year. While most symptoms are not serious, diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. Old-fashioned scrubbing your hands with soap and water is the best protection against getting norovirus, for which there is currently no vaccine. Norovirus is highly contagious and can survive freezing and temperatures up to 140 F. 

After someone with Norovirus vomits or has diarrhea, always thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire area, using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label. Leave the disinfectant product on the affected area for at least five minutes to kill germs, then clean the area again with soap and hot water. Finish by cleaning soiled laundry, taking out the trash, and washing your hands. 

To help make sure food is safe from norovirus, routinely clean and sanitize kitchen utensils, counters, and surfaces before preparing food. You should use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1,000 to 5,000 ppm (5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach [5% to 8%] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For more information, see EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products Effective Against Norovirus (Norwalk-like virus) 

Influenza virus (flu)

Influenza (flu) viruses are capable of being transferred to hands and causing an infection can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours. Parainfluenza virus, which causes croup in children, can survive for up to 10 hours on hard surfaces and up to four hours on soft surfaces. Like cold viruses, infectious flu viruses survive for much shorter periods on the hands. After five minutes the amount of flu virus on hands falls to a low level. Flu viruses can also survive as droplets in the air for several hours; low temperatures increase their survival airborne Preventive actions recommended to reduce the spread of flu includes: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 
  • If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 
  • Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs and reduce the spread of flu 

SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19)

Scientists found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be detected in aerosols for up to three hours and on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days. The findings emphasize the importance of handwashing and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces to protect against infection. Disinfect your home when someone is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours.

Disinfecting kills any remaining germs on surfaces and reduces the spread of germs. If you are caring for someone who has COVID-19, detailed instructions for caregivers are available. Take steps in your home to limit contamination of surfaces from airborne particles or from touching surfaces with contaminated hands.

  • Isolate people who are sick with COVID-19 
  • Ask visitors who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks 
  • Follow the guidance for people who are fully vaccinated before inviting visitors to your home 
  • Have everyone in your household wash hands often, especially when returning from outside activities 

Cleaning surfaces in your home – COVID-19

  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly and after you have visitors in your home. 
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops. 
  • Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed. Clean them more frequently if people in your household are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.  
  • Clean and surfaces using a product suitable for each surface, following instructions on the product label.

Disinfecting your home – COVID -19

  • Follow the directions on the label, which include instructions on how to use the product and specific instructions to keep you safe. Check the label to find out what personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to use your product safely (such as gloves, glasses, or goggles).
  • Clean visibly dirty surfaces with household cleaners containing soap or detergent before disinfecting if your disinfectant product does not have a cleaning agent (check the label to verify).
  • Use a disinfectant product from EPA List N  that is effective against COVID-19. Read the label to make sure it meets your needs. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet with a disinfectant for a certain period of time also called dwell time (check the product label).  
  • Immediately after disinfecting, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  

After the person who was sick no longer needs to be separated

After the person who was sick no longer needs to be separated, wait as long as possible (at least several hours) before you clean and disinfect the area that the sick person used (such as the bedroom and bathroom). 

  • Less than 24 hours: Follow the guidance for cleaning and disinfecting when someone is sick. Clean and disinfect surfaces in the areas that the sick person used (such as the bedroom and bathroom) if you enter these areas less than 24 hours after the person is no longer sick. Wear a mask when you enter the room, open windows and use fans to help increase airflow, and always use disinfectants safely.
  • Between 24 hours and 3 days: Clean surfaces (disinfection is not needed) in the areas that the sick person used if you enter these areas between 24 hours and 3 days after the person is no longer sick.
  • After 3 days: No additional cleaning (aside from routine cleaning) is needed in the areas that the sick person used if you enter these areas more than 3 days after the person is no longer sick.

Most important things to clean and disinfect to restore a healthy home 

Even if the person that was ill successfully isolated in one area, germs could still be lingering on things they touched or from cross-contamination. Read on for the most important things you need to clean and disinfect to restore a healthy home.

1). Bathroom:  The bathroom can harbor plenty of germs that will only multiply when someone is ill. Once the storm has passed through, you’ll want to deep clean the bathroom – thoroughly disinfecting the toilet inside and outside; the toilet flusher, seat and lid; any toiletries handled during the illness; trash can; floor, especially around the toilet; light switches and doorknobs; and any other frequently touched items or hard surfaces.

2). Kitchen:  Families tend to congregate in the kitchen, and food is also being handled and prepared there, so this room should be high on your cleaning priority list. The kitchen can get pretty hard hit during a bout of illness, leaving germy cups, dishes, and utensils in its wake. Wash all these items in the hottest setting on your dishwasher and use the heated dry cycle. Be sure to also wipe down refrigerator handles, all electronic keypads on appliances, and clean and disinfect the kitchen sink and countertops.

3). Hard Surfaces: Use bleach or a disinfectant spray to wipe down and sanitize the different surfaces throughout your home that are frequently touched both during and after an illness. This includes all counters, dining tables and chairs, stair railings, twitch plates, cabinet knobs, handles, and anything else that gets touched on a regular basis.

4). Towels and bedding: Anything that your body touches during an illness, including your towels, pillowcases, bed linens, and comforter should be sanitized by washing in hot water. Wash the bedding where the sick person was sleeping as well as every room in the house. Add in one of the many available disinfecting laundry boosters such as borax or bleach to help kill germs. And if your mattress has been soiled, give it a good cleaning. Start by vacuuming, then spot-clean (if necessary) and spray on disinfectant. Let it air out for the day before putting the linens back on.

5). Toothbrushes: Throw out any inexpensive plastic toothbrushes used by the person who was sick and any others that are near or in the same toothbrush holder. Soak other types of toothbrushes in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide for an hour, then rinse with water. You can also run the toothbrushes and the toothbrush holder through the dishwasher.

6). Clothing: Any clothing that has been worn by the sick person should be sanitized. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely. It’s safe to wash dirty laundry from a person who is sick with other people’s items. If handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick, wear gloves and a mask. Clean clothes hamper or laundry baskets according to guidance for surfaces and wash hands after handling dirty laundry.

7). Electronics:  Make sure to wipe down cellphones, tablets, computer keyboards, remotes, and any other often-touched electronic devices. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the electronic device. If needed, use a disinfectant from the EPA List, but note that many of the products for electronics contain alcohol because it dries quickly.

8). Toys: If you have kids, it’s super important to sanitize any hard or plastic toys to prevent the spread of germs. Disinfectant wipes work great for larger items. Little items such as Legos, army men, and other small plastic and rubber toys can be put in a mesh bag and run through the dishwasher on high heat. Washable stuffed toys can be washed in the machine. Stuffed toys that are too delicate for the washing machine can be put in the dryer on high heat to kill any germs.

9). Wastebaskets:  When the trash is brimming with dirty tissues and other remnants from a sick person, it becomes a breeding ground for germs. Once you’ve emptied the contents, be sure to give the basket itself a douse of disinfectant. First, clean the can and any removable plastic liner with warm soapy water, and rinse and dry it with a paper towel. Spray all sides of the can with a disinfecting spray, allowing it to dry for the required time.

The takeaway 

When someone in your household gets sick, whether it’s from COVID-19, the flu, a stomach bug, or a cold, it’s important to do whatever you can to keep everyone else under your roof healthy. This might be easier said than done, especially when you have kids, but one thing’s for sure, you’re going to need to clean your house thoroughly to get rid of those germs or hire a professional cleaning service to perform a deep cleaning for you.

Need help cleaning and disinfecting your home after a family member has been ill? Cleanstart is here to help. We have over 25 years of experience in the cleaning industry and know how to clean and disinfect all types of surfaces. We also provide electrostatic spray disinfection, which kills 99% of all viruses and germs, including influenza (flu), and COVID-19. Whether you need a one-time deep cleaning or cleaning services on the regular, our team of professionals is ready to get your home super clean and hygienic for your family. 

Post-Illness House Cleaning Services

Call Cleanstart today for more information about our high-quality house cleaning services at (253) 921-2593

Why your home needs Cleanstart

When you hire Cleanstart, your first cleaning will be a detailed deep clean. Our professional cleaners will touch every inch of your home from corner to corner. After that, you can choose the frequency of maintenance cleanings: weekly, bi-monthly, or once-a-month cleanings.

In addition to tackling any visible dirt and dust in your home, we will clean the hidden areas that often get missed such as baseboards, under furniture, and those hard-to-reach spots like ceiling fans, hanging light fixtures, and behind the toilet. Our cleaners will bring to the job whatever cleaning supplies are needed to clean your home unless there is something specific you want us to use instead.

Our worry-free services 

Each one of our cleaning crew members is vetted and background-checked before they are hired. Our cleaners are bonded and covered by worker’s compensation insurance. We train our team in all aspects of professional cleaning: the latest technologies, tools, products, equipment, safety, and quality standards.  We always strive to provide the best services possible  

Our customer satisfaction guarantee

We provide the following customer satisfaction guarantee: If you are not happy with any aspect of our cleaning service, please call us within 24 hours so we can resolve the issue at no additional cost to you. Simply put, we care about our customers. Our consistently high standards and attention to detail are what our customers appreciate most about our services and why they recommend us to family and friends!

✓ Over 25 years of experience in the commercial cleaning and janitorial industry
✓ Thoroughly trained and vetted cleaning professionals
✓ Commitment to the highest quality clean
✓ Local, licensed, insured, & bonded
✓ 24/7 cleaning options & support
✓ Customized cleaning solutions
✓ Quick response times
✓ One-time deep cleaning & recurring house cleaning services
✓ 100% satisfaction guarantee
✓ OSHA, HIPAA, EPA, CDC, AORN compliant
✓  A+ BBB-rating

If you would like to learn more about our quality house cleaning services or to schedule a cleaning visit, please give Cleanstart a call today at (253) 921-2593 or request a free online cleaning quote now! 

We service the following Greater Puget Sound locations:

AuburnBellevueBellinghamBonney LakeBremertonFactoriaFifeGig HarborKentLakewoodOlympiaPuyallup, RentonSeattle, TacomaTukwilaUniversity Place, King CountyKitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County.


5013 Pacific Hwy E unit 16 Fife, WA 98424 • Phone: 253.921.2593 • Email: Caleb @