Monday, December 1, 2014

A Clean House Makes a Healthy Home!



It's officially cold and flu (and strep and some other nasty bugs) season. I'm a big believer that a lot of sicknesses are preventable by keeping things clean and sanitary. With four little ones starting to crawl, I try hard to keep our floors clean along with other objects they come in contact to regularly. One sick baby in our house means four sick babies here so it's extra important for mommy's sanity to prevent as much as we can. But it's also the first of the month! Time to remember all those things a new month brings! I use the first of the month as a reminder to clean some of those things that often get overlooked! 

I've been busy this morning cleaning house after having company for a week but I also have a few items that require regular cleaning, some of which I didn't initially think of when it came to cleaning. Here's a few that are on my list:

  • Bottle Maker - I posted previously about my Baby Breeza Formula Pro. I did a lot of research prior to purchasing and read a lot of online reviews. One thing I learned, it that a lot of people complained about clogs and it stopped mixing bottles properly. This is actually not a flaw in the product but due to lack of properly cleaning. Once a day (usually at night when I run the dishwasher with bottles), I was the removable parts by running them through the wash in the top rack. I also wipe down the machine and use a dry paper towel to clean off the dispenser per the directions. However, once a month, the machine requires complete dis-assembly and cleaning including removing the water reservoir and the formula storage.
  • Keurig - Did you know these things need to be cleaned? Me either, until recently. We started noticing our coffee didn't taste right and then there were black flakes floating in our drinks (Gross, I know). Turns out, these things need to be cleaned. They make a special solution to clean them with but I found that running just plain old white vinegar through it works just as well at fraction of the cost. Also, check your machine's specific directions. Mine has a needle area that needs to be cleans and a removable part that was collecting all those black flakes and needed to be removed and cleaned. You can also find some helpful tutorials on YouTube if you need specific directions for cleaning yours.
  • Car Seats - I don't think there's any set guideline here on how often these should be washed but my goodness they can get filthy if you don't pay attention to it. We have a baby with reflux and we don't really put them in the exact seat every time. So before I know, there's a build up of spit up in the liner that has sometimes accumulated between the liner and the seat. Talk about disgusting. I recommended washing the cover at least once a month. Wipe down the seat with a wet rag and mild cleaning solution but be very careful not to use harsh chemicals or submerge the straps in water as this can damage them and cause them not to be as safe. If you get the straps wet, you'll have to order new ones from your manufacturer which in our case, cost $30 each. Ouch! 
  • Baby Swings & Jumper Seats - Just like the car seats, these can accumulate some pretty funky filth. I like to remove the covers once a month and toss them in the washer and then give everything else a good wipe down with an antibacterial wipe.
  • Boppy Pillows - We use these to drink bottles in so it goes without saying, these get a little not so fresh. We have spare covers but I still like to toss the entire pillow into the wash about once a month (or more often when there's accidents). 

While we're at it, I thought I'd take a minute to share a few other items around the house you should be cleaning but might forget (I'm guilty of some of these):
  • Sheets (Once a week) -  Sheets should be washed often to remove a buildup of debris, dust, sweat and other icky things. Use hot water (130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit) and a hot dryer cycle to kill all germs. I find this one to be pretty important especially with the babies' 
  • Mattress (Every six months) - Believe it or not, the big, bulky bedroom essential is one of the easiest-to-clean items in your home—and it should be done twice a year! Simply vacuum the top of the mattress using the upholstery attachment. Then, remove stains by wiping down the surface with a cloth lightly dampened with cold water and a small amount of upholstery shampoo. Be careful not to soak the mattress (moisture can create mold and damage the padding). Protect your mattress from dust mites and stains by buying a quality mattress pad. And guess what: There's no need to flip your mattress! Instead, rotate it head to toe every six months for even wear.
  • Pillow (Once a month) - Don't forget the pillows too! Just like the mattress, pillows accumulate sweat, drool, and all kinds of other funky stuff! If you've got cheap ones, you may choose to replace them but if you're like us, you like to get as much use out of everything as you can. Most pillows can just be tossed in the wash. Use a hot setting in the dryer to be sure to kill all the germs!
  • Trash Can (Every couple of weeks) - No matter how good our aim is, this is probably one of the dirtiest places in our home. And taking out the trash isn't the same as cleaning the trash can. Since little hands will soon be all over our entire house, I'm in the habit now of spraying down the can with disinfectant spray as well as giving it a good wash down every couple of weeks with a bleach based cleaner. 
  • YOUR PHONE, especially your cell phone (OFTEN) - I put that one in all capitals for a reason. Your phone is dirty! Think about everywhere your cell phone goes with you. One recent study actually indicated that the majority of cell phone actually have fecal matter on them. Eww! A few alcohol wipes should take care of your home or office phone, but your cell phone, unless it's protected in a waterproof case like mine is, requires a little more tenderness. Use a microfiber cloth to take care of dirt and oil every couple of days, especially if you have oily fingers. A 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar should handle the rest of the yuckies lurking on there! Personally, since I have a waterproof case on mine, I give it a good wipe down with a disinfecting wipe daily. 
What items are on your list to clean regularly? I'd love to hear any good cleaning tips you've got in your pocket!

Until next time,
Love and prayers,
Misty


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