5 (Often Overlooked) Green Cleaning Tips to Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

Aromatherapy Diffuser

Distilling essential oils helps disinfect the air. Photo © Karen Peltier

Well, here we are again in the midst of cold and flu season. And as you read this, viruses are probably trying to make themselves at home right now. (Gives me the willies just to think about it!) No doubt you know you need to keep the bathroom and kitchen clean, but maybe you’re not aware of these other handy green cleaning tips that will help keep you and your loved ones healthy? Check ’em out.

(1) Disinfect the air. As you know, one way viruses enter the body is by breathing them in (e.g., from a sneeze or a cough), so having healthy, fresh air around you is essential. If opening a window is not possible, disinfect the air by distilling some essential oils known to kill germs, such as eucalyptus, tea tree, or ravensara. For other natural air freshening ideas, check out the article, “Top 12 Green DIY Air Fresheners.

(2) Disinfect common surfaces. Germs get on our hands, so the first line of defense (besides living in a plastic bubble that is!) is to clean common surfaces that everyone touches on a daily basis, such as doorknobs, phones, remote controls, refrigerator handles, and light switches. Use an eco-friendly disinfecting wipe, such as Seventh Generations’ Disinfecting Wipes or Green Shield Organics Surface Wipes, for a quick solution, or simply spray a cloth with a disinfecting all-purpose spray, such as a DIY vodka or vinegar spray.

(3) Stop germs dead in their tracks. Instead of rolling out the welcome mat for germs to enter your home, stop ’em dead in their tracks. Lay down an outside and inside door mat to help eliminate dirt, pesticides, and more from getting tracked in. Also, wash the mats routinely and encourage everyone to leave their shoes at the front door.

(4) Make a place for everyday items. Germs love hitching a ride on items we carry with us everyday, such as briefcases, purses, keys etc., so when we set them down on our kitchen tables or counter tops — guess what? — we contaminate them. Viruses and bacteria for dinner, anyone? So, find a designated place to set these objects routinely that doesn’t come into contact with eating and food prep areas. You’ll also always be able to find your keys that way!

(5) Use a laundry booster and vinegar rinse to kill bacteria. Keep bedding, pillows, throws, blankets, and more fresh-smelling, naturally soft, and germ-free by using a laundry booster, such as this DIY Bergamot Baking Soda Laundry Booster, and a vinegar rinse. If you use lavender in the vinegar rinse, your laundry will come out smelling as if it were laundered at the spa! By the way, it will also help lift the spirits of someone who is already sick if she has fresh, crisp sheets and bedding with a natural, aromatic scent.

Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014. All rights reserved.

Photos © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2012-2014.