Just Got Over Being Sick? What to Keep and What to Toss

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You're finally feeling better after that nasty flu or cold, and the last thing you want is to get sick again or infect someone else. Therefore, it's time to do a serious assessment of the five main areas where you and your "bug" hung out together.


  • Strip sheets and blankets off the bed and wash them in hot water along with your pajamas and any other "sick clothes."
  • Put non-machine washable bedding in the dryer or take them to the dry-cleaner.
  • Toss out the tissues lying around your bedside table and floor. Buy a new box (the old one got covered in germs after you clutched it in your lap).
  • Empty the trash and spray it with an antibacterial household cleaner.
  • Wipe off your phone, laptop, iPod, and other technological toys you used while sick.


  • Collect the dishes and wash them in hot water in the dishwasher or add bleach to your hand-washing dishwater.
  • Wipe down the teapot, light switch, refrigerator handle, doorknobs, tables, drawer-pulls and other surfaces you touched while sick.
  • Get rid of that germy box of orange juice, half-empty bottle of ginger ale, and any other bottles or cans that came in contact with your hands or mouth.

Many stomach ailments are caused by food poisoning, especially from eggs, chicken, and other sources of salmonella.

  • Get rid of whatever you ate before you got sick.
  • Wash all the counters, cutting boards, pots, and pans.


  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the toilet, sink, counters, tub, faucet, and handles.
  • Start with a fresh roll of toilet paper, and clean the area around the holder
  • Toss out your toothbrush and buy a new one. If you use an electric toothbrush, clean the handle and boil the brush or buy a new brush-head.
  • Buy new toothpaste (your germy toothbrush touched the old one).
  • Clean your razor handle and switch to a fresh blade or a new disposable razor. This is especially important after skin outbreaks or rashes.
  • If you wear disposable contact lenses, start with a fresh pair. If you wear non-disposable lenses, disinfect them and use a new case (or toss your old one in the dishwasher). Clean your glasses.

If you bothered wearing makeup while you were sick:

  • Buy new mascara
  • Clean your makeup brushes with hot soap and water.
  • Wipe lipstick with antibacterial wipes
  • Sharpen eye pencils to get a fresh surface and wipe them with antibacterial wipes.


  • Clean your keyboard, phone, mouse, and desk surface with antibacterial cleaner.


  • Wipe down your door handles, steering wheel, stereo buttons, and seat belt.

As a general rule: To avoid getting sick again, throw out personal care objects you can't clean thoroughly or easily replace. Clean everything else. It might be a lot more work than your freshly recovered body wants to do, but you'll thank yourself for the fresh start.

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