Unless you’ve been living on your own private island, in the middle of the south Pacific, with a coconut drink in your hand, you definitely know this year’s flu season is abnormally bad. According to Dr. Dan Jernigan, CDC Influenza Division Director, “This is the first year we had the entire continental U.S. be the same color on the graph, meaning there’s widespread activity in all of the continental U.S. at this point.” Aside from getting a flu vaccine, here are some common things that you should disinfect immediately. 


Cell Phones 

Deep Clean your Cell Phone With the amount we use our phones, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a 2012 study by the University of Arizona found that cell phones have more germs than toilet seats. Yuck! Keep your hands clean, wipe down the surface with an antibacterial microfiber cloth, and spray cleansers onto a cloth rather than directly on the screen to prevent damage. 


Kitchen Counters and Faucets 

Since the kitchen is usually the familial gathering spot, the counter and faucet get touched by germy hands constantly. To keep this area bacteria-free, spritz porous stone (like granite) with a disinfecting spray. To unearth stuck-on gunk around the faucet try Mrs. Meyer’s Vinegar Gel Cleanser and let sit for three minutes before wiping away. 


Don’t Forget the Doorknobs 

Germs last longer on surfaces than you might think. To sanitize the doorknobs around your house (focus on high-traffic spots, like the bathroom door), cleanse them with a germ-destroying wipe, such as Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. 


Disinfect Stuffed Animals and Blankets 

If the kiddos have been sick, make sure their favorite stuffed animal isn’t holding onto their germs. Check the tag on stuffed animals to see if it can go in the washing machine, then place it inside a pillowcase secured with a twist tie. Use Woolite, wash on the gentle cycle and tumble dry on a cool setting. Throw their blankets in there as well. 


Toothbrush and Toothbrush Holder 

It is particularly important to clean your holder regularly if it has a closed bottom, like a cup. Wash your toothbrush holder or cup with soap and water. Your toothbrush can be put into the silverware compartment of the dishwasher to be sanitized. You can also soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash; rinse thoroughly before next use.