How To Clean Your House After Norovirus (& Why Bleach Is Your New BFF)

If anyone in your family has been hit by norovirus, you likely want to take as many precautions as possible in order to prevent that nasty stomach bug from lingering, infecting new victims and re-infecting the previously afflicted. Throwing up for days on end? No thanks, not again. Thus, a clean home is key to stop the virus in its tracks. Here are some tips on how to clean your house after norovirus — get ready to use lots of bleach.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends bleach as your key defense against norovirus, diluting anywhere from 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach per each gallon of water. The potency of the bleach and water solution will depend on the type of surface being cleaned: "Stainless steel and similar surfaces need less, while more porous surfaces need more," the website notes. In order to fully kill the norovirus, the CDC suggests that surfaces should be left wet for at least five minutes (though the Cleveland Clinic recommends 10 minutes) before they're rinsed again with plain water and are left to dry.

Through out this trying task of cleaning every surface and doorknob in sight, "use disposable gloves, a mask, a form of eye protection and protective clothing" insists the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Also, hands should be washed with soap and water constantly, as opposed to hand sanitizer, which might not kill the virus, shares the CDC.

Clothing, towels, and sheets all need to be taken care of as well. Separate the laundry while wearing gloves and be sure to wash everything with the hottest water possible. If you can use a little bit of bleach, even better. After putting everything through a lengthy wash cycle, machine dry all of it.

Seeing as, according to the Mayo Clinic, norovirus is "commonly spread through food or water that is contaminated during preparation on contaminated surfaces," cleaning said surfaces is absolutely key to preventing the excruciatingly uncomfortable vomiting and diarrhea that can consume the infected for an average of one to three days. In cleaning your kitchen counter and table with bleach, not only are you preventing you and yours from repeated infection, but you're ensuring that the virus doesn't extend outside your home. Direct contact with a norovirus carrier also causes infection, so be as prudent as possible. Small actions have a huge impact; In addition of having your cleaned surfaces and laundry under control, frequent hand washing can prevent norovirus' spread. So grab your gloves and bleach and get to work!