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Happy  long-haired woman wiping the   table

Fall is prime time for the flu and this year, the Enterovirus D68 is making people ill in more than 28 states nationwide according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Couple that with the start of school and it all adds up to germs and lots of them.

So, how can a busy mom help prevent her children from becoming ill?

As a working mother of three, I’ve developed my own common-sense cleaning tips and routines to stop seasonal viruses from lingering in my home. Here is a list of my fab five green cleaning tips for flu season, along with two of the best natural cleaning solutions to help combat nasty germs and the flu.

Green Cleaning Tips to Combat Fall Germs and the Flu

  1. Wash your hands – Wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water after time at school, trips to the store, and definitely before eating and after using the bathroom. Teach children to wash between their fingers and around fingernails.
  1. Stock up on germ-combating natural cleaning supplies – The two ingredients I use most to disinfect against viruses at home are hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Hydrogen peroxide in its proper formulation and dilution is considered an effective sanitizer and disinfectant. White vinegar is a disinfectant.
  1. Drop backpacks by the door – Designate a drop spot by the door, not on the kitchen table or counter. Remove schoolbooks and other frequently used items to clean daily. Wash backpacks once per week. Clean the outside and the inside of lunchboxes daily before putting them away or repacking. Use sealed containers that can be put in the dishwasher for lunches and snacks.
  1. No sharing – Water bottles, ear buds, and food are off limits for sharing. If school rules require sharing of sports equipment, remind kids to wash their hands afterward. And encourage them to stay away from water fountains at school – one of the biggest germ hot spots.
  1. Close the lid and clean the seat – Every time you flush your toilet with the seat up, bacteria and germs spray into the air. Toothbrush nearby? Well, you get the picture. Teach your kids to close the seat before flushing. Make toilet disinfection a priority on your cleaning list even when no one in the house is sick.

Below are two of my favorite natural cleaning solutions to help fight the flu.

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon borax, 1 tablespoon washing soda (sodium carbonate), 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap, 1 cup vinegar, 4 cups hot water, 25-30 drops essential oil (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together well in a large bowl, then pour into a spray bottle. Spray on surface and let sit for at least 2-3 minutes before wiping the surface with a damp cloth.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Ingredients: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup vinegar, 10 drops essential oil (optional)

Pour baking soda in toilet bowl, and then slowly pour in vinegar, being sure to get vinegar to cover as much of the bowl surface as possible.  Add essential oil.  Scrub surface to remove any rings or stains. Flush.