13 September, 2020
Hygiene has suddenly found its way back into our lives with a vengeance. Perhaps, we should look at this as one of the positive sides of the pandemic. Hygiene was always important, but somehow we let go of it in many spheres and were ok to maintain what we could. But, since we have started paying attention again if only for the sake of keeping the pandemic at bay, let’s try to make it worth the while.
Some of the measures suggested by experts today to avoid the Coronavirus include washing hands thoroughly across the day, cleaning commonly touched surfaces with disinfectants, discarding and washing clothes once worn outside and taking a bath after a visit out. However, it is also equally essential to ensure a few other hygiene factors within the home. This is needed to ensure that our living environment is healthy, and we can avoid certain other diseases and allergies.
One of the main concerns, especially for seniors, currently is to avoid any unnecessary hospital visits. To achieve this, apart from eating healthy, and staying fit, keeping the surrounding clean is essential as well. This includes changing/cleaning curtains, bed sheets, pillows, changing mattresses and cleaning doors and windows and so on.
Bed Sheets and Pillows
While bed sheets are changed and washed periodically in some households, in others, this is often ignored, or done only when people get time. But, this is an important aspect of hygiene and should be done regularly, and can help prevent many issues, especially allergies. Typically, bed sheets should be changed every week or at least once in fifteen days. Unknown to us, a lot of dead body cells are shed on to the bed sheet every night. Apart from this, there is also the oil, sweat and contamination from any other creams and such things that we apply to the body or head. Also, dust mites get accumulated as well, and this builds up over time.
Ideally, one should dust the bed sheets every day, and change it every week, but can be pushed to fortnightly, if pressed for time. Of course, in the case of immobile people, more care may be needed for the bedsheets ,and they may need a daily change to avoid smell and infection.
Most modern pillows are washable and come with washing instructions, but most often we only change the pillow covers. Pillows should also be washed/ sun-dried or dry cleaned depending on the filling often. Ideally, they should be cleaned at least once in three to six months.
In some homes, curtains are changed only for festivals or some such occasions; this is one of the most ignored household items concerning hygiene. Curtains accumulate a lot of dust and even odour. Also, if you don’t change them, they may fade sooner by being continuously exposed to the sunlight. They should be cleaned every month, at least. It may not appear as if they are dirty to the naked eye, but a lot of dust mites gather on these, and they can contribute to allergies and other issues.
Doors, Windows, Mattresses
It is equally important to clean the doors, and windows of the house, at least once in a couple of months. While the inside surfaces can be dusted every day, and wiped clean, at least once a month or so, the outer surfaces exposed to the weather elements should be cleaned at least once in six months. This will take care of dust, mold and a lot of other issues. Doors have dust accumulated on them as well, even though it may not appear so. The knobs and handles on the doors and windows should also be cleaned thoroughly.
Mattresses should be dusted out once a week at least, and aired once in six months, to avoid any sort unhygienic build-ups. Also, they should be changed at least once in eight to ten years, or if you feel that they have sagged and are causing issues, or affecting your sleep or health in any way.
These are found to be dirty in many homes, as again, it is simply out of sight! So are many of the ceiling and wall fixtures like lampshades, murals, photos and so on. These need periodic cleaning too. Ceiling fans accumulate a lot of dust, and you can clearly see the build-up on the blades. The accumulation is more on top of the blades which is not visible, to the extent that at times, you may find a bit of that dust clump falling down when you switch the fan on. To avoid this, it is best to clean them once a month at least.
Even when we do periodic cleaning, we do not move the furniture often and clean underneath it. There will be a dust build-up under all heavy furniture like cots, sofa sets, tables, etc. These need to be moved and cleaned at least once in six months. In between, vacuum cleaning can be done as often as possible to try and keep the furniture and surrounding clean.
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