During cold and flu season, it is particularly important to make sure your home is as germ-free as possible. Not only will your home be cleaner and smell nicer, these tricks for keeping the germs at bay will help you stay out of the doctor's office.


1. Clean Regularly: Instead of trying to clean your whole house at once, clean routinely. Cleaning a little every day is the easiest way to keep your home germ-free. Instead of reacting to dust, mold, and other germs, you can proactively prevent bacteria from building up in the first place.


2. Utilize Fans: High moisture areas are often the biggest breeding grounds for germs, bacteria, and mold. Using fans in these areas can help to prevent the accumulation and spread of bacteria and mold by eliminating the excess humidity and moisture. If you already have fans in these areas, check the ventilation routinely to ensure it is working properly.


3. Wash Your Bedding: Wash all of your sheets, towels, and other bedding materials regularly in hot water. Dust mites accumulate rapidly in these items, and you tend to be in contact with them frequently.


4. Put Down the Toilet Lid: Toilets are some of the most germ-infected places in your home. Clean toilets at least once a week, and try to put down the lid (not just the seat!) of your toilet prior to flushing, to prevent bacteria and germ-infected water from splashing out onto other surfaces in your bathroom.


5. Shake Your Shower Curtain: Shaking out your shower curtain after each use can prevent moisture from building up in your bathroom by causing the excess water to evaporate.


6. Differentiate Your Cutting Boards: Because raw meats may contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, it’s important to use a separate cutting board than you would for, say, bread or vegetables. When cleaning the cutting board after each use, it’s important to ensure that the board is disinfected to prevent the spread of dangerous germs. Whenever possible, place cutting boards in the dishwasher when you’re done using them, where the high water temperatures will help kill any lingering bacteria.


7. Put Your Toothbrush Away: Leaving your toothbrush out in an open dish on your bathroom counter is very common, but actually welcomes germs. Toothbrushes should be stored in separate containers and put away in drawers.


8. Disinfect or Change Your Sponges Frequently: Sponges are filled with germs and bacteria, and a simple rinsing will not eliminate them completely. Instead, run it through the dishwasher or replace it entirely.


9. Change Your Filters: Change your vacuum, furnace, and air conditioner filters frequently so that you’re actually cleaning and purifying the air and carpets, and not adding more germs and dust to the mix.


Follow the tips on this list to help stop seasonal illnesses from contaminating your home. When it comes to keeping the germs away, routine cleaning and good hygiene habits save the day!

This information is provided for your convenience and is not intended as insurance advice. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article do not represent those of Homesite Group Incorporated. Please consult your insurance carrier or agent for information regarding your policy or coverages.