Update: the world is kinda gross.

I know we’re all terrified of the flu and the potential germs that are floating around our homes, schools and public places – especially with all that’s happening in the world right now. 

So what can we do? 

Well, I don’t know about you, but I currently can’t stock up on hand sanitizer or paper products because every single retailer in my ‘hood is sold out, so I thought we should discuss a handful of simple, easy steps we can take to protect our school aged and nursery-going littles from big germs.
If you’re like me, you feel better actively doing something in the face of a giant problem so I’ve been putting the following into practice around my house:

1. Wash lunch boxes twice a week and back packs weekly

It’s crazy easy to forget how much those backpacks and lunch boxes come into contact with throughout the day. The end up on the ground, around tons of other children and pass through endless hands. Hell, they may even end up in the bathroom. 
We have the Pottery Barn Kids lunch boxes and back packs and I wash them both in the washing machine on a quick cycle every Friday. Once they’re clean I hang them up to dry and they’re ready to be packed up on Sunday evening. 
I also send the lunchbox through the upper rack of the dishwasher for a bonus round of cleaning during the week, just to be sure it’s nice and clean (it does house food after all!). 
It’s absolutely up to you to determine if your lunch box and back pack can handle a machine washing but I can say that ours are no worse for wear after being washed this way many, many times. 

2. Jackets

Jackets and outerwear are another item that might be overlooked for their germ hoarding potential. I know my kids use their sleeves as tissues, so it’s clear to me that a solid hot wash is needed regularly. 
Jackets also end up on the ground, dragging through the dirt, on busses and balled up in random places, so even when it isn’t cold and flu central, they deserve regular attention.

3. Tablets, iPads, phones and screens

I can think of nothing grosser than my kid’s tablets, yet I let them place them on the table, their beds, the sofa and Lord knows where else. 
Make sure you wipe those babies down at night – every night. These individually wrapped cleansing wipes are meant to sanitize screens, glasses and keyboards. Throw some in your purse, your car console, wherever – and use them to wipe down your own photo screen, too!

4. Security Blankets, stuffed animals and pacis

I am absolutely guilty of overlooking the germ potential of the stuffed animals my kids sleep with. Think about this: my kids come right home from school and hop in their beds to snuggle those stuffed animals during rest time. 


 I get my youngest (who is most attached to her stuffies) to help me “give her babies a bath” and she loads her stuffed animals into the washing machine, watches them take a few spins and then helps me get them back out to dry. 
Security blankets are also germ culprits but nothing really tops the list quite like pacifiers. Both of my kids have been paci babies and we have them stashed everywhere – and certainly none of those spots are germ free. 
We have this dishwasher rack for pacis but also have used these steamer bags for a quicker (but as effective clean).

5. Your own purse or diaper bag

Don’t even think about it, just go ahead and take a full Clorox wipe to the outside of your bag, focusing on the base. 
Yep, it’s gross and I bet you don’t think twice about tossing it up onto your kitchen counter or in your lap when you need to dig through it. 

I know, I don’t want to think about it either, but none of us are perfect – and neither is this messy world we live in. 

Ultimately, I hope we don’t have to truly slide into panic mode when it comes to keeping our kids healthy this year. I do hope that we can all take quick and easy steps to keep our babes healthy and happy – and before you know it, it will be Spring! 

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