The Right Way to Clean After a Household Illness

If someone in your house is suffering with a cold, flu or any type of contagious illness, a key responsibility right after getting them healthy is to prevent the illness from spreading to others in the home. Beyond frequent hand washing, proper cleaning is a first line of defense because some viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to two weeks. Let’s take a look at the five areas that need extra attention and how to clean everything correctly to kill germs and bacteria.

  • 01of 06 Necessary Supplies Needed to Clean Properly After an Illness     MIXA / Getty Images Plain water and mild cleaners just won’t do the trick when killing viruses, bacteria and germs. You must use a disinfectant and, following the product’s directions, allow it time to work. A quick swipe may not be enough. If you don’t have a commercial disinfectant product like Method’s Antibac all-purpose cleaner on hand, you can make your own by using chlorine bleach.
    • Add 2 tablespoons of 5.25% – 6% chlorine bleach to 4 cups of water (Read the bottle label to be sure that your product is strong enough to provide disinfecting properties).
    • The solution should be mixed fresh every day because chlorine bleach can lose its cleaning properties when exposed to air for long periods of time.
    How to Use Disinfectant Cleaners at Home If using a commercial cleaner, follow the label directions. For a homemade cleaning solution, dip a clean white cloth or paper towel into the bleach-water solution and apply to the surface that needs cleaning. Let stand for at least three minutes and then rinse the surface with plain clean water. The bleach solution can also be used in a spray bottle. Use a paper towel that can be tossed away or a cotton cloth that be washed after each use. Sponges should not be used for cleaning because they can harbor bacteria in the crevices. For items like remotes and computer keyboards, use a cotton swab dipped in the disinfectant to get into tight areas. NEVER mix disinfectant cleaners with other cleaning products like ammonia because toxic fumes can cause injury or death.
  • 02of 06 Bedroom     @lelia_milaya / Twenty20 When we feel terrible, our beds can bring a bit of comfort and much needed rest. But spending time in bed with the flu or a bad cold leaves germs and bacteria in the fabric. To prevent spreading the illness and reinfecting yourself, it’s important to disinfect the bed linens after using. Sheets and pillowcases need the most attention since they are in the closest contact with the body. Don’t forget pajamas! If a child is holding onto a favorite stuffed animal, it should be cleaned as well. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from catching something is to wear rubber gloves when handling soiled laundry. At the very least, keep the sheets away from your face and body. Always wash the items as soon as possible, and wipe down the hamper to prevent cross-contamination with other clothes–follow these disinfecting tips. Don’t forget to clean often-handled items like phones, remote controls, computers, light switches, door knobs and bedside table items with a disinfectant. This should be done at least once a day while someone is sick and definitely when the worst is past.
  • 03of 06 Bathroom     xefstock / Getty Images Bathrooms harbor plenty of problem areas that only amplify when someone is ill. Vomiting and diarrhea can leave tiny particles everywhere that must be cleaned away. Use a disinfectant cleaner frequently on 
    • Toilet flushing handles, seats and lids
    • Sink and shower handles
    • Light switches
    • Door knobs
    • Trash cans
    • Floors near the toilet
    • Toothpaste tubes and toiletries handled during the illness
    Designate a hand towel to be used only by the sick person and change the hand towel at least daily or switch to paper towels during the illness. Bath and hand towels and bath rugs should be washed in hot water and dried at high heat to kill bacteria. When the worst is past, throw away the sick person’s toothbrush and wash the toothbrush holder with disinfectant.
  • 04of 06 Living Areas     Jessica Peterson / Getty Images It’s hard to confine a sick person–especially a child–to their bedroom. They want to still be part of the family.  To prevent contamination of upholstery and accessories, cover the furniture with washable sheets or blankets and change frequently. Remove decorative pillows or cover with washable pillowcases.  Frequently wipe down hard surfaces like phones, remote controls, light switches and door knobs. If a board game or toy has been used to keep the sick one entertained, they need to be cleaned with a disinfectant. And don’t forget the coffee tables or side tables that are touched often.  
  • 05of 06 Kitchen     RoBeDeRo / Getty Images To prevent spreading the bacteria and germs to others, the sick person should not be in charge of preparing food for the rest of the family. Even careful hand washing may not be enough to protect others, especially from easily spread illnesses like norovirus. All utensils and dishes used by the infected family member should be washed at high heat in an automatic dishwasher or dipped in a disinfectant solution (one-half cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water) if hand washing. Hard surfaces–don’t forget tables, chair backs, refrigerator handles, drawer and cabinet hardware–should be wiped down frequently with disinfectant wipes and sprays. Remember to skip the sponges and use paper towels that can be tossed or cotton cloths that can be washed in hot water.
  • 06of 06 Car     Sally Anscombe / Stocksy United Whether you are a passenger or driving, trips to the doctor or pharmacy can leave viruses in the car. After a trip, take a few minutes to wipe down the steering wheel, inside and outside door handles, dashboard controls, garage door openers and your keys or key fobs. If you have a child in a car seat, it is particularly important to wash the cover and wipe down every nook and 

14 DIY Coffee Bar Ideas to Try at Home

  • We Can’t Stop Buzzing About These 14 DIY Coffee Bar Ideas    Dream Green DIY Many people can’t start their morning without at least one cup of joe. But let’s face it, that daily run to Starbucks or your favorite neighborhood haunt isn’t doing your wallet any favors—especially if you have a penchant for pricey specialty drinks. Good news: You don’t have to give up your caffeine habit (or your deliciously frothy lattes). We’ve rounded up 14 clever ideas for setting up a coffee bar at home. These genius java stations will help you stay organized and on budget. Bonus: You can customize ‘em to suit your needs and design sensibility.  
  • 02of 15   DIY Copper and Wood Coffee Cart    Hey Wanderer This DIY copper and wood coffee cart from Hey Wanderer is so smart—not to mention super stylish. Even better, you can pull off this on-trend project in just two hours! It looks lovely below this beautiful collage of pictures and clippings. Don’t you think?  
  • 03of 15   French Bakery-Inspired Station    Junk Chic Cottage While you may be thousands of miles away from France, you can still inject some Parisian charm into your AM routine with this quaint bakery-inspired vignette from Junk Chic Cottage. Hanging baskets, cute creamers, and a chalkboard add that certain je ne sais quoi.  
  • 04of 15   Reclaimed Wood Hanger    Funky Junk If having your go-to mugs at your fingertips each morning is a must, put your carpentry skills to the test by engineering a heart-shaped sign out of reclaimed wood planks. (Alternatively, you can buy a prefab version on Etsy or at your local craft shop.) Then, all that’s left to do is stencil and affix cast iron hooks. Hanging your mugs also saves counter space for adding in your cream, sugar, and any other fixings.    
  • 05of 15   Shelving Unit Coffee Bar    Crazy Mary More into java than vino? Use your home bar as a dedicated coffee area. A built-in shelving unit provides plenty of room to store your provisions and equipment as well as a few decorations for added flair.    
  • 06of 15   DIY Mini Chalkboard    Stylizimo Blog Easy access to the essentials—an espresso machine, single-serve pods, homemade vanilla syrup—plus a DIY mini chalkboard and playful tip jar is the recipe for success in this convenient and compact system.  
  • 07of 15   Norwegian “Kaffe” Corner    Only Deco Love How stunning is this streamlined setup from Only Deco Love? The monochromatic palette and curated accents exudes Scandinavian simplicity. And can we talk about that greenery?   
  • 08of 15 Style Your Bar Cart for Coffee Service

Making Business Cards Great Again and Improving Efficiency

Sometimes you just can’t get any work done as neighbors come by to ask for a card or quote.

That was my experience as a tech, and what my techs still relay to me to today.  Yes it is awesome to pick up additional sales simply from your presence in a community, but it does come at the expense of productivity on your project.

Assuming neighbors take the step to initiate contact on a job site; your employee’s (or yourself) may not be mentally prepared to engage with a prospect and leave them with a positive impression. Hot, tired, and frustrated with a project has turned into more than you estimated, it’s easy to not be on your friendly game when approached.

But what about all the neighbors that see your truck but don’t quite work up the courage to drop in the job site?  You could hope they call the number on the side of your truck, or remember your name for future purposes.

Or you could leave them with something tangible to walk away with should they chose to… your business card.

That’s what this nifty device does.  For only $10, you have little to lose.  One sale resulting from a business card grab will easily pay for itself.

For those contractors that operate in areas with high foot track or an older demographic (I’ve seen many baby boomers still rolodex their business cards) this could be $$$!

Amazon links to order (not affiliated with me):

  • The one pictured above for $9.99
  • Another option for $7.99

One bit of feedback provided from a member of the Home Pro Sales & Marketing Lounge Facebook Group is that the cards can get wet which may make these useless during our rainy season, but that is only 5 months of the year.

I look forward to getting these on my trucks, of course with a unique call tracking number so that I can assess the cost per lead.

Best 19 Kids Playroom Ideas for Every Taste and Space

    • No matter your home’s size, you can keep your children entertained in their very own playroom. These delightful and stylish solutions will inspire you to create a fun space even adults will love.  
    • 02of 20   Chic Playroom That Does Not Skimp on Sophistication    Tracie Butler Design This space proves that playrooms can be chic. Created by Tracie Butler Design based in West Hollywood, California the room packs plenty of features for keeping kids busy. The navy blue walls and rustic wood floors are what makes the room feel more sophisticated than juvenile.  
    • 03of 20   Modern White Basement Playroom    Eisner Design A crisp, white basement playroom by New York firm Eisner Design may be the most stylish place for kids ever. At the center of the space is a cloud-soft gym set. The built-in shelving on the right features a kidney-shaped orange lounger. The back wall is for climbing. Afterward, tuckered out kids can kick back in one of the three cocoon hanging chairs.    
    • 04of 20   Treehouse Inspired Basement Playroom    Thinkterior We adore this treehouse inspired playroom by the interior designers at Thinkterior based in Ashburn, Virginia. The “treehouse” is a favorite spot for sleepovers. The stage area features built-in floor storage. A faux tree adds to the room’s outdoorsy vibe. Not shown in the photo is the rustic home theater and indoor swing.  
    • 05of 20   Beach House With an Attic Playroom    Chango & Company In a New York beach house by Brooklyn design firm Chango & Company an attic becomes the ultimate playroom. Moroccan floor cushions and dozens of accents pillows lend comfort. The carpeted floor provides a soft space to play. Ceiling mounted swings get little hearts thumping.    
    • 06of 20   DIY Kids Playhouse    Alvhem Makleri Ignite your child’s imagination with this smart idea spotted on the Swedish site, Alvhem Makleri. Black washi tape and a small shelving system turn an untapped corner in a kid’s bedroom into a playhouse. Notice the second shelf? Thanks to a power tool called a router, it is now a tiny toy kitchen.  
    • 07of 20   Balcony With a Teepee for Kids    Martelka A small apartment balcony can become an outdoor playroom. This space featured on the Polish décor blog Martelka is outfitted with a teepee. A bathmat adds a little comfort underfoot. A blackboard covering the railing provides a spot to write and draw, plus additional privacy.      
    • 08of 20   Transitional Playroom Brimming With Style    Dragon Fly Interior Designs This transitional playroom by Dragon Fly Interior Designs out of the Rocky Mountain Region is easy on adult eyes. Beautiful gray cabinetry with a built-in window seat anchors the space. A flirty IKEA Maskros pendant light adds a whimsical touch. Colorful carpet tiles spice up the floor. Pint-size furniture makes the room more inviting to wee ones.