March 22, 2020
Cleaning During a Crisis : Helpful Tips for Your Home
Today’s post is based on all the cleaning questions that have been emailed to me and the questions you have from an Instagram story where I asked for your questions. It has taken me a bit to frame and re-frame my thoughts around this pandemic, but I will do my best to tell you what we’re doing with the hope that it brings you a little calm in this time of our lives. At the time of this post, no one in my family has or has been knowingly exposed to the Coronavirus. As with everything you read here, this is my opinion and just what we’re doing, please consult the CDC for all recommendations regarding Coronavirus and COVID-19. As of March 22, 2020, schools have been closed for over a week where we live and the entire state is only allowed to do anything essential. This is my perspective from my own experience.
This post includes a little about a lot – I hope it’s helpful to you. If you happen upon this post after 2020, I hope it might have some tips you can apply if it’s applicable. I have included helpful links sprinkled throughout the post – ask questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.
First things first, this is uncharted territory. None of us know how it will turn out, how long it will last, and no one really has the perfect plan for how to navigate this new kind of life at home. I’m choosing to realize that I have no control over what goes on outside our home – when the kids go back to school, when activities will be rescheduled, when church will be open again, when we can go out in public and do those little things that suddenly seem dangerous. What I can control? What goes on inside our home, how our house feels, how I face and react to uncertainty, what we choose to occupy our time doing. We stick to our routine around here. Now that routine has changed a bit, but the Clean Mama Routine is in place and life inside our home is calm and consistently clean. I keep thinking about how I want our kids to remember this crisis – not with fear and uncertainty. I want them to remember the time we spent together at home and I want to see this huge pause as a gift of time.
Do you need a mindset shift? A little direction and routine? I have always argued that regardless of how busy you are, you need a cleaning routine. If you’ve been waiting for the ‘right time’, now is the time to put it to the test and see how it works for your family. Everyone is coming at this from a different angle and it has affected your home and family in a different way. I am not pretending to understand your personal circumstances, but I am merely extending the same advice I always have but maybe you’ll see it a little differently through this experience. Routine, even if it’s loose, is everything in a time like this. It brings a sense of normalcy and you know that your home won’t fall apart even if it feels like everything around you is. Fact: clutter = stress – let’s use this time to bring the stress level down in our homes instead of increase it.
If you are following the Clean Mama Routine, you are already cleaning daily and cleaning some of those most-touched surfaces in your home. This is the time to kick your cleaning up a notch. Of course, I’m doing the Clean Mama Routine with some changes to our ‘house rules’ – I thought you might enjoy seeing them.
If you are NEW here, welcome! If you have followed here for awhile but are now thinking that the Clean Mama Routine might provide a little bit of normalcy in this uncertain time, you’re right! If you’ve been doing the Clean Mama Routine for years, keep going! Routine is helpful when things are good, routine is helpful when things are not so good. I would love to have you join me!
Here are all the ways you can find and DO the Clean Mama Routine:
Start Here Page – this page details the Clean Mama Routine and will also direct you to some of the below places.
Free Printables Page – put your email address in ONE TIME for the password and it will be emailed to you. There are all sorts of free resources for you on this page. First on the page you’ll find these three printables – the first is the Calendar of the Month (the new one comes out a couple days before the next month), the second is a printable that shows how to use the calendar and the third, describes the Daily, Weekly, and Rotating Tasks and the Monthly Focus.
Follow me on Instagram @cleanmama – I share the Clean Mama Daily and Weekly Tasks here and share simple tips and how-tos for cleaning. My hope is that you see my tasks and are reminded to get off your phone and do something 😉
Homekeeping Society – Homekeeping Society is a monthly subscription designed to help you get your home and life in order. This is a great choice if you are suddenly stuck at home and need a little or a lot of direction.
Homekeeping Planner + Paper Goods – It’s undated so you can start on the first page the day you get it! You’ll also see darling notepads and stickers perfect for keeping up with the Clean Mama Routine.
Jumpstart Your Routine Course – Is a complete online course and method designed to FINALLY get started on clearing clutter so you can simplify and do what you really want to be doing.
- No shoes on in the house. Take them off in the garage or mudroom. If you haven’t done this in the past, now is the time to start. You can carry in all sorts of germs, pesticides, and just plain dirt on the bottoms of your shoes.
- Wash hands in the powder room upon entering the rest of the house – even if you’ve just been playing outside. Remember, you just removed your shoes. This is a normal household rule for us, but if it isn’t for you, I’d recommend adding it!
- Change clothes when coming in from somewhere else – we’ve been at home for over a week so we aren’t necessarily doing this now but I’ve done it in the past when it’s flu season and when the kids come home from school.
- Change hand and bath towels DAILY. This is something that we already do with hand towels but I’m adding the bath towels in now too. Not everyone takes a daily shower and yes, it might seem excessive but this is what we’re doing at the moment. Do what is right for you. I wash all sheets and towels on Saturday – Sheets + Towels Day.
- Everyone helps! Here’s a post all about how to get the kids involved in cleaning with a free printable chore chart too.
- If someone gets sick, this is what we do. – I wrote this post about a month ago but it still applies, in the case of COVID-19, we would quarantine the sick family member differently than we normally do.
A COUPLE THINGS I’M DOING/ALREADY DO TO PREVENT ILLNESS
- Whole house air filter is running 24/7 – I usually do this during cold/flu season anyway.
- HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners – this is important to get small particles and contain them so you aren’t breathing them in.
- Wipe down most-touched areas frequently/daily – I use rubbing alcohol for most areas and I use Hydrogen Peroxide or Clean Well Disinfecting Wipes on areas where I can’t use rubbing alcohol.
- Using the sanitize option on the dishwasher – I do this all the time anyway, but if you can select that, this is the time to start. If you wash dishes by hand, wash and rinse on the highest water temp you can stand.
- Do at least a load of laundry from washed and dried to folded and put away. This is a Daily Task, but it’s so helpful to keep up with this if it works for you and your family. Now is the time to try it!
- Launder sheets + towels weekly. This is something we do as part of the Clean Mama Routine on Saturday – Sheets + Towels Day. Weekly sheet washing keeps what you spend a third of your life doing, clean. Wash your sheets! I do this on Saturday so everyone can help out and learn how to change sheets, make beds, and keep their spaces clean.
- Launder each family member’s clothes SEPARATELY. This keeps any potential germs contained. Washing on warm/hot and drying on warm/hot will kill most germs naturally. Wash on the warmest temperature you can as stated on the tag and dry on warm if possible. I also use 1/4 cup of white vinegar in each load of laundry to soften the laundry and keep things fresh. You can find the laundry products I use in the shop.
- Clean the washing machine weekly. This is something I normally do on Saturday after all the sheets, towels, and cleaning cloths are laundered. On our machine we have a ‘clean washer’ option.
- Clean laundry baskets. This is especially important if someone is sick. Use steam, take them outside and spray with hydrogen peroxide or wipe with a disinfecting wipe or clean with soap and water and let sit in the sun.
WHAT I’M USING TO CLEAN
- First and foremost, wash hands frequently – before meals, after meals, after using the bathroom, and periodically during the day. Go here for how to make foaming hand soap and hand sanitizer.
- Any of my DIY cleaners will REMOVE germs when applied properly – Even soap and water will remove germs. Check out this post and video on how to make 8 of my favorite DIY cleaners. I recommend spraying and letting sit for 10 minutes and wiping with a clean microfiber cleaning cloth. If you are needing a disinfectant for surfaces, I recommend cleaning the surface with a DIY cleaner or all-purpose cleaner and then spraying with hydrogen peroxide and allowing to dry on the surface or using a disinfecting wipe (see below). I use rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad on those most-touched areas like door handles, light switches, remotes, phones, etc. Personally, I do not use using any cleaners that have harmful chemicals and fragrances in them even in this scenario because they have endocrine and immune disruptors and can contribute to superbugs.
- Clean Mama All-Purpose Spray – this is another great way to clean surfaces – and it smells divine!
- Disinfecting wipes – I use CleanWell Disinfecting Wipes if I do have a situation that needs a disinfecting wipe.
- Steam Cleaning/Sanitizing/Disinfecting – I bought this Dupray Steam Cleaner a couple months ago and love using it to sanitize and disinfect hard and soft surfaces. When we had influenza in February I used it to disinfecting the couch. If you have little ones and are concerned with soft toys or anything that can’t go in the washing machine, this is a great option. Steam to this temperature will kill 99.99% of germs and viruses. It’s pricey but in my opinion, worth it! Look for a post showing how I use it soon.
I hope this post provides a little hope and guidance in this time of uncertainty. Reach out to your loved ones and check in on those who need it most.