My Dirty Family, Getting Rid of Germs, and Staying Healthy in 2014

Staying Healthy in the New Year

Can you identify with this statement?

I have crazy, dirty children, a dirty husband, and 2 dirty cats. I’m forever using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to rid surfaces of grimy fingerprints, nose prints and tongue prints (don’t ask).

I wrote that last month, pitching myself to participate in a Clorox Disinfecting Wipes campaign about staying healthy in the New Year.

Living fully is dirty business.

I encourage my kids to play in paint, sand, mud, and jump in muddy puddles.  We do crafts several times a week in which we paint and glue and glitter and oil and generally make a big mess that we only sometimes clean up.

My 3-year-old is dirty. She pees on her father and the floor. She picks her nose and splatters paint all over the dining room and leaves half-eaten food on the floor.

Which she later picks up and eats.

Her favorite toy right now is a Play-Doh contraption that she calls The Poop Machine.

Because every family needs more poop in their lives.

OHMYWORD.

My 6-year-old is dirty. She projectile vomited across the living room not twenty minutes ago. Even on an un-sick day, she leaves dirty clothes lying wherever she takes them off, picks her nose, chews on her Barbie dolls, and is allergic to running water.

My husband is dirty. He works outside in the earth all day long, sprays food all over the place while he’s cooking, plays Candy Crush on the toilet, and never, ever wipes the grime off of anything without considerable nagging. (He probably picks his nose, too, but he’s discreet about it.)

My cats are dirty. They shed cat hair on every surface of my home and harbor fleas from time to time. They jump up on the table, dig in the plants, and find themselves in all sorts of places in which they do not belong (because I trained them poorly or not at all), and one of them pees on the floor in my bedroom.

Not to be left out, I too am dirty. I keep a not quite dirty enough to wash pile of clothes in the bathroom, pick my nose, bathe less frequently than is socially acceptable, and leave dirty dishes lying around the kitchen. I have about seventy-five plants (which you think is an exaggeration but probably isn’t as much as I would like), and I use the dining room table as a potting bench.

So there you have it.

I bet you’re feeling a lot better about yourself right now than you were a few minutes ago.

In addition to being a bunch of dirty birds, we are a homeschooling family with two parents who work full-time on opposite schedules to avoid daycare. Nobody here has even an hour of free time each day to clean the house (except the cats, and they aren’t much help), and I am not willing to part with the cash required to hire a housekeeper.

So. People don’t join us for meals that often, and we get sick more often than I would like.

{Just kidding.}

{Not really.}

Anyway, back to the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and healthy New Year.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes in the Kitchen

I always have Clorox Disinfecting Wipes on hand, but I picked up a new container for this project. The first thing I noticed was it now says Great on Kitchen Grease on the label. I already use them on banisters, walls, and almost all the bathroom surfaces, but I never thought to use them on grease. I was eager to try out this new claim.

The first project I tackled was the stove. This picture doesn’t do the filth justice.

Once, my mom came over and asked Joe, “What’s the mouse crap on the back of your stove?” (I’m paraphrasing.) (And my mother was never known for keeping her thoughts to herself. If she thought it, she said it.)

Joe was livid, but the reality was that the back of our stove was disgusting. There were food remnants all over it.

That’s pretty much what it looked like when I started at 2:11.

Cleaning the stove with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

By 2:29, the stove was clean (enough). There were a few spots on the cooktop that needed more elbow grease than I was willing to employ, but it looked and smelled clean. All the random food splatters and spills were gone, and I was confident that the germs were gone, too.

Note – Clorox recommends rinsing surfaces that will come in contact with food after using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. I wiped the glass stovetop with a wet paper towel to remove any residue leftover from the wipe.

In case you wanted proof of the Clorox Disinfecting Wipe’s ability to pull up grease and grime, here’s the second (!) wipe I used on my stove top. I think I used 6 or 7 wipes to do the stovetop, back, knobs, top, handle, and front. Like I said, it was very dirty.

Dirty Clorox Wipe

Next, I turned my attention to the grimy refrigerator door.

Our refrigerator door handle broke off some years ago, and my handyman husband never fixed it. I suppose it’s not entirely necessary, so I don’t complain.

As you can see below, grubby fingers open and close the refrigerator very often, and busy parents don’t wash it nearly enough.

I set to work with my Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. They made quick work of the clean-up, removing everything from sticky kid goo to grease to dirt to dry erase marker, and I am confident they also removed the bacteria and viruses that were lurking, too.

Note – Don’t ever buy a refrigerator with a textured surface. They are a pain to clean.

The only two marks remaining in the after photos below are paint (the pink spot at the bottom of the freezer door) and a black chip in the refrigerator’s white finish.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Refrigerator Door

My next project wasn’t visibly dirty, but I’m sure it was covered with germs.

Disinfect the booster seat

We have all been sick this week (reference aforementioned vomit episode), so I thought it would be wise to wipe the dining room chairs and table with Disinfecting Wipes. After I finished the chairs and table, I went over Allie’s booster seat thoroughly – every nook, cranny, and crevice got a close inspection and a wipe.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Around the House

After I finished those three projects, I started to think about other places I could wipe (since Joe and the kids were out selling Girl Scout Cookies and I had the whole house to myself). I remembered an info graphic on Pinterest a few days ago that cited statistics on the number of germs per square inch on various surfaces, comparing things like remote controls (the worst of the worst) with toilet seats and microwaves and telephones.

It’s a dirty, dirty world, and your house is no more immune than mine.

Here are the two statistics that will make you cringe:

Light switches are gross!

I grabbed a couple of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and headed on a tour of all my light switches.

Light switches are dirtier than toilet handles!

I wiped down all the remote controls (check out that info graphic if you want the shudder-inducing details about them).

Keyboards are 60 times dirtier than toilet seats.

I ended with my laptop keyboard, paying attention to the grimy spots in between the keys and especially to the track pad, spacebar, and keys with worn spots.

Keyboards have 60 times more bacteria than toilet seats!

Here are some other spots I clean with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes:

  • Appliance fronts and insides (remember to rinse any surface that will come in contact with food)
  • Kitchen cabinets and drawers, especially the handles and knobs
  • Sinks in the kitchen and bathroom, paying special attention to the area around the drain
  • Faucets
  • The outside of the garbage can, although I have to admit that I make Joe clean the inside
  • Door knobs and handles (We don’t actually have many of these left. I got tired of the kids locking each other in or out of rooms and fighting that I removed them all.)
  • Countertops
  • Walls, especially those high touch spots that seem to collect a dirty haze
  • Banisters and railings
  • Mirrors and windows
  • Our iPhones and iPads (or rather, the cases, not the actual devices inside the cases)
  • Potty
  • Toilet, outside, tank, lid, seat, and even inside, under the rim
  • Toys

I haven’t yet tried it on my front loading washing machine, but I’m going to give it a shot. I have, to this point, wiped it down with a strong bleach solution to stop the mold and mildew growth that inevitably develops, especially inside the detergent dispenser and the rubber gasket around the door. If I could use a nice smelling Clorox Disinfecting Wipe with the same results as the pungent bleach solution, I’m all for that!

I also haven’t tried the wipes on my bathtub or shower doors, but I’m going to try those, too.

Win a $100 Visa Gift Card from Clorox Disinfecting Wipes!

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are going to give a $100 Visa gift card to one lucky Feels Like Home reader! To enter, answer this question in the comments:

What are your tips and tricks for a flu-free winter?
Always use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes as directed.

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/27/14 – 2/24/14.

Be sure to visit the Clorox page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

© 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Cindy says

    As I sit here trying to recover from a rather nasty flu, I must warn you, my tips probably aren’t very useful. ;-) Really, the only tip I have is DON’T let people who have the flu anywhere near your home or family. And how feasible is that, considering that most people don’t run around town yelling “unclean, unclean!” so you’ll know to disinfect the shopping cart they just used. But that’s a good tip. Use the wipes that the grocery store so kindly provides both before you shop (to protect yourself) AND after (to protect the careless soul behind you who never does that. :-)

    Also, I’m glad you admit to picking your nose. I don’t like liars, and anybody who says they never pick their nose is either a liar or lacking a nose.

  2. Kelly D says

    I send my kids to school with the germ wipes for hands in their school bag so they can clean their hands before they eat a snack or lunch. I also use Clorox wipes at home and send them into my kid’s classrooms. Unless they bring a bad cold home, I rarely get sick.

  3. says

    Oh my word. You had my kids and ne cracking up. That was so funny. Anyway, we’ve got twelve dirty people in our house. The things I’m most diligent about are hand washing and using Lysol wipes on drawer handles, doorknobs, faucets, etc. I think most people will remember to wash tables, toilets, and such but will often forget these much used places.

  4. Lauren says

    I don’t know if it’s just luck that we avoid sickness most of the time, or if it’s our habits. Even with my busy schedule, I am always wiping things down right after I notice the mess. I have the kids wash their hands after they use the restroom and before dealing with ANYTHING in the kitchen. We try to stay active with doing exercises during commercial breaks on TV. It seems like a lot to fit in to a busy day, but it’s become habit now!

  5. Lisa Brown says

    To help prevent colds and flu I like to take zinc and vitamin c, and just keep my hands clean. Staying out of large crowds and help greatly, if you can do this.

  6. Tina Reich says

    My family chooses not to get flu vaccines, so we do our best to stay healthy and strong enough to fight off the germs. We eat lots of vegetables and fruits and drink milk and juices. When I’m starting to feel run down, I add in some Emergen-C. We also believe in lots of hand washing. I’ve got a preschooler and two elementary kids and they don’t generally want to wash as thoroughly as they ought to… But if I remind them how they were taught, they do pretty well. We taught them to do the old fashioned finger game of “church and steeple” when washing to get in between the fingers and do a complete job – and it makes it fun as well!

  7. Wild Orchid says

    For a flu free winter we wash our hands a lot; and with hot water for about 30 seconds at a time to ensure germs are killed.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  8. Margot C says

    I always feel like a genius when I remember to wipe down the door knobs and the light switches; I’m sure it helps (it must!).

  9. Susan Smith says

    My tips for a flu free winter are to wash your hands a lot, use Clorox wipes on shopping carts, door knobs get plenty of rest and get a flu shot

  10. says

    I try to protect us in public to keep us safe at home. I use my own pen when I am out, I wash my hands after handling a menu, I clean my hands every time as I get into my car (with wipes) and I wear gloves a lot in public.

  11. says

    My tips to a flu-free winter is keeping the house clean and Clorox Disinfecting Wipes has been a big help. Also, serving lots of fresh fruit and veggies help too.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  12. Wanda McHenry says

    My tips are an annual flu shot, plenty of sleep, eat healthy, wash hands frequently and stay away from sick people.

  13. says

    I’m mostly a homebody, yet I was sick back to back last year, with everything from strep throat and sinus infections to the common cold and flu. It’s common knowledge to disinfect and wash hands regularly, but most don’t mention the doors, carts, and items that we touch while we’re out in the stores. No telling who is sick and have touched these things. This is how we’re mostly introduced to others’ germs. Some of us might even go somewhere to eat after we’re done shopping, yet haven’t washed our hands beforehand. So, that’s why I now bring hand sanitizer with me. I also wash, wash, wash my hands while in public, especially before I eat something. :)

  14. Charlene Drake says

    I try not to open any doors with my bare hands. If no one is there to open the door for me, I usually use part of my sleeve to open it. I also wash my hands often.

  15. Natalie says

    I wash my hands all the time as a health care professional and always wash fruits/vegetables before I eat them.

  16. Jammie says

    Believe it or not germx, we use a lot of hand sanitizer during the flu and cold months. sweepmorey at gmail dot com

  17. Rachel H. says

    Everyone washes their hands when they get home,use the bathroom, or have been cooking. I also use disenfecting wipes on the knobs, sink handles, and tv remotes!

  18. g. penrod says

    I just do what I always do. feel if you hide away from every thing you would be miserable at least I would and being out and around would build up my system. always thought flue an cold germs are in the air. But I do not go were people have it on purpose.

  19. Danielle says

    Washing hands is a must as is disinfecting surfaces that many people touch like doorknobs and counter tops. Also, daily vitamins are a necessity.

  20. Christina G. says

    My tips and tricks for a flu-free winter are to wash your hands often, avoid sick people, and clean your door knobs with disinfecting wipes. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. Suzanne K says

    I try very hard (but it’s hard) to get enough rest… that really helps my resistance. And, I also try to avoid sick people!

  22. Barbara M says

    Most important – frequent hand washing and keep your hands away from your face.
    We also use Thieves essential oil.
    Thank you.

  23. Katherine says

    I also wipe dowwn surfaces with disinfecting wipes, wash our hands many times and carry anitbacterial soap with me when we are out and about

  24. ashley says

    Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. I am diligent about using Clorox spray and wipes to wipe down surfaces. We also keep hand sanitize in backpacks and in the car. Flu shot is always a good idea too :)
    ashleygatewood1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  25. says

    I make sure we have lots of hand sanitizer, load up on vitamin C, and make sure I wipe down door knobs, toilet handles, and light switches whenever I clean!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  26. Diane Baum says

    I encourage my sons to cover their mouth, when they cough or sneeze, frequent hand washing and eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies over sweets.

  27. Terri Moore says

    I make home made Chicken soup with lots of onions and garlic in it which help to boost our immune systems. I wipe down door knobs, the keyboard and anything else that is touched on a daily basis to keep the germ spreading at a minimum. I keep a pan of water simmering on the back of the stove to keep moisture in the air.
    we all drink lots of liquids and try to get outside as much as possible for some fresh air.

  28. April V. says

    Wash hands, keep them away from your face (this is the way most germs get into our bodies) and keep your body healthy enough to fight off the germs by eating right and sleeping well.

  29. Nicole Larsen says

    We make sure we stay on top of hand washing or using the antibacterial gel. I also make sure we take our vitamins daily!

  30. says

    I am forever wiping things down,when I go to the store I wipe the handles,the carts and everything! I got so sick just a few weeks ago,and I swear by these wipes!

  31. Jennifer Reed says

    My tips and tricks for a flu-free winter are to drink plenty of water to flush toxins from body, take Vitamin C tablets daily to boost immunity, wash hands often, and clean with a good disinfectant everyday.

  32. ky2here says

    It’s all about the flu shot augmented with hand washing, hand sanitizing, changing clothes often if I have a cold (to decrease germ load) and vitamins/supplements.

    ky2here at msn dot com

  33. Jaime Cummings says

    Stock up on Vitamin D.

    Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that keeps the body functioning optimally, and especially supports the immune system.

  34. Ellie W says

    First, and most important- my whole family gets the flu vaccine. We have 5 asthmatics in my immediate family, and influenza could be a killer.
    I like to try to avoid crowds as much as possible during flu season. I carry hand sanitizer and wipes in my purse also.

  35. Carolyn Daley says

    My tips for a flu free winter is to avoid coming in contact with sick people. It is important to wash your hands frequently to kill germs and disinfect surfaces in your house. Carry hand sanitizer and Clorox disinfecting wipes to kill germs when you are not home. Sometimes when I go to a restaurant, I will wash my hands in the bathroom. I use toilet paper or paper towels to open the door when exiting the bathroom and sometimes use hand sanitizer right afterwards. There are hundreds of germs on menus when you dine out so be sure to wash your hands and carry disinfecting products with you.

  36. Betty C says

    I wonder if becoming a hermit for the winter season counts as a good tip. Seriously, every crowd has at least one person coughing or sneezing. Going to work every day and hearing three or four people in the room constantly coughing is enough to make me want to move to a desert island. So I try to eat healthier, get lots of rest and keep the Clorox wipes handy for any possible area that may have come in contact with cold or flu germs.

    • says

      It works! Since my husband lost his job in January, we’ve been going only to church (more or less). No sicknesses at all. Then Grace’s music and dance classes started up again, and we all had a cold within a week.

  37. says

    We have a bottle of hand sanitizer in every room of our house and I keep some in my purse as well. I also wipe stuff down with either bleach or antibacterial cleaner all the time. I also use the wipes at the grocery store to wipe down the handle of the cart.

    momof3chaos at gmail dot com

  38. Crystal F says

    Do a lot of handwashing and I really do wipe down everything with clorox wipes. They are my life saver. thank you!

  39. Nadine L says

    I wish I had the answer, I have had the flu each of the last two years which has progressed to bronchitis or pneumonia ….I am missing a step in prevention somewhere, smh

  40. susan smoaks says

    My tips and tricks for a flu free winter are to wash hands every chance you get with hot water and anti-bacterial soap. Avoid touching your face. Sneeze into a tissue and discard and then wash hands.

  41. Shannon S. says

    My tip is first get the flu shot, then properly wash your hand when coming in from outside. I also use Clorox wipes on all my surfaces at least once a week!

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