Sneezing girl

As the leaves start to turn and the temperatures drop day by day, it’s time to remember that it’s not just holiday season approaching; it’s flu season too. More time spent indoors provides the perfect atmosphere for cold and flu viruses to spread from one person to the next.

This flu season, you can prevent the spread of sickness by targeting the most commonly-touched surfaces in your home. Let’s start with one of the worst: light switches!

How Long Do Germs and Viruses Linger?

Depending on the virus or bacteria, contagion can stay on a surface anywhere between a few second to two days! Studies have found that most viruses stay longer on smooth household surfaces such as plastic, marble, or metal than they do on porous surfaces like fabric or carpet. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant about the surfaces in your house that are bound to harbor the most germs.

Experts say that your light switch panels should be cleaned every week. When someone in the house is sick, light switches should actually be cleaned every day in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Tips for Cleaning Light Switches

  • A favorite method of disinfection by professional cleaners is microfiber cloths, which wipe off bacteria without using any chemicals. Just remember to use a different section of the cloth with each surface that you clean.

  • Don’t have any microfiber around? Use a disinfecting solution. If you’re using a store-bought disinfectant, make sure to read the label. Often, you need to leave the solution on the surface for a few seconds for it to be effective. When cleaning, spray the solution onto the cloth you’re using to clean, rather than directly onto the surface.

  • If you’re ready for an advanced solution, get a steam cleaner. This will eliminate the germs, loosen oils, and clean the scum that tends to linger in crevices.

  • Speaking of dirt and scum, it can be gross to see built-up dirt worked into the “on” and “off” letters. This happens because oils from our hands concentrate there and attract dust and grime. To clean this up, use a Q-Tip. Dip the tip in rubbing alcohol and scrub it out.

  • To finish, buff the surface with a dry cloth.

Other Surfaces to Clean

The light switches and switchplates are some of the most commonly-touched surfaces in your house. However, there are other prime spots that you should clean in order to prevent the spread of the cold. Here are a few to include:

  • Car steering wheel

  • Remote control

  • Cell phones and landline phones

  • Faucet handles

  • Doorknobs