Let’s face it. Trying to keep a house clean is a tough job for anyone. But for moms with kids, it can be especially stressful when you’re trying to protect your little ones from the coronavirus, too. You know the drill – you’ve just cleaned and sterilised the kitchen, and your toddler trails in with the mud pie he has made especially for you in the garden, or drops his juice all over the floor…
Dr Adè van Heerden, a former Miss South Africa who now practices independently for the South African Defence Force, is a firm advocate for doing “what you can, as best you can,” to ensure longevity and quality of life. In her practice she believes in making things as simple as possible for her patients.
Like many of us, she admits that she, too, got caught up in a cleaning frenzy when South Africa first went into lockdown. “Armed with cleaning materials, I’d try clean the whole house every day, anxious not to miss a single spot that could potentially harbour the virus… It seemed like a never-ending chore until it dawned on me that I wasn’t going about it in the right way. I needed to be more tactical in my approach!”
It was a game-changer.
Dr van Heerden explains that when doctors and nurses scrub up for surgery or any sterile procedure, there’s a very precise, logical procedure they follow: first washing their hands and then moving up the arms just above the elbows, before dressing in a sterile gown and putting on sterile gloves.
In the same way, she says, you need to have a calm, practical course of action when disinfecting your home against coronavirus. “Targeting high-touch areas, like the kettle, the fridge, the microwave, doorkobs and taps each day is far more efficient at protecting your family than following your family around the house all day with an arsenal of cleaning products, a rag and floor mop.”
The benefit of targeted cleaning has been affirmed by both the Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of its 4-pronged approach to fighting COVID-19, namely the practice of social distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask and cleaning high-touch surfaces.
And it doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise, either she says. “The WHO did a study using a simple bleach solution to clean common household areas and found that it killed harmful germs within 60 seconds. And the great part about the study was that it was conducted in ordinary households.”
Dr van Heerden offers these additional cleaning tips and tricks for moms:
- Put a bleaching solution, like Domestos, in a handy spray bottle and spray high-touch areas like the fridge, kettle, microwave, taps and door handles every day. It’s super quick and effective! Just leave it for 60 seconds, then give it a wipe down with a clean cloth.
- If you have little ones, get them to wear plastic gum boots when they go outdoors, or go to school. They’re so easy to clean and disinfect with a spray of the bleaching solution when they step back into the house.
- Alternatively, you can place a shallow bucket of the bleach solution at the entrance door and get your children to step into it with their shoes before they come inside the house.
- Dr van Heerden cautions that you need to take care to prepare the bleach solution according to the instructions on the bottle. This is because bleach can erode things if it’s not diluted properly.
Use a checklist
For more cleaning tips and tricks for your home, including handy checklists, as well as how you can easily clean your baby’s toys, she urges moms to visit https://www.cleanipedia.com/za/home.html.
At the end of the day, moms need to be reassured that you don’t need to be extreme when keeping your family protected from coronavirus at home. “You just have to be practical: make sure everyone washes their hands regularly, and disinfect your home by targeting frequently-touched items each day.”
More about the expert:
Adè van Heerden is a medical doctor and former Miss South Africa. She believes in creating longevity and quality of life for her patients through sharp diagnostic skills, easily implemented care plans and a good patient rapport. Learn more about Adè van Heerden here.
Content editor and writer on Living & Loving, Sonya has over 25 years experience in the media industry. She edited Living & Loving magazine for six-and-a-half years and is the former editor of Longevity magazine. She’s won numerous media industry awards and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of moms and children.
Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.
Learn more about Sonya Naudé.