Households can now welcome friends and family into their homes (from Monday 17th May the 'rule of six' or two households will apply for indoor gatherings and overnight stays can take place) – but is your humble abode guest-ready?
Here are some practical tips to help you prepare your home for guests.
As the entrance to your home, the hallway is the best place to tackle any unwanted 'hangers on' such as viruses, germs and bacteria. Protect both yourself and your guests by setting up a sanitising station by your door. If you have a console table it's the perfect spot for setting up antibacterial hand gel and wipes for guests as soon as they walk through the door.
'We’ve all got into the habit of using hand sanitiser before we enter a shop. It’s a ritual that we should absolutely echo within our homes as we start to invite guests indoors,' says George Ratcliffe, Chief Operating Officer at global healthcare provider INEOS Hygienics. 'Our hands are a hotbed for germs and bacteria. Remove this threat from the front door and you’ll reap the benefits throughout the whole house.'
INEOS Hygienics, one of the leading producers of hospital grade hand sanitiser, has launched the INEOS Sanitiser Dispenser. With an aluminium frame and touchless sensor, you can place the sanitiser dispenser in several positions: table-top, wall mounted or free-standing. Using high-purity synthetic ethanol, INEOS Hygienics pass rigorous safety standards with 75 per cent pharmaceutical grade alcohol that kills 99.9 per cent of viruses and bacteria.
Also ensure the hallway is uncluttered – clear any pile up of shoes from the floor and remove any bulky items that can be placed elsewhere. Also designate a clear spot to place bags and hang coats.
As well as yourself, guests may be apprehensive about cleanliness, so go the extra mile to give them that peace of mind. At a basic level, ensure you give your bathroom a thorough clean before guests arrive.
Richard Roberts, Director of Sanctuary Bathrooms, advises: 'A neat trick to reassure guests about hygiene, and avoid risk of germs, is to provide separate miniature or refillable soaps and hand gels, as well as different coloured or patterned fresh towels, so that the guest ones are different to the main household users.'
Whether you're pulling out the sofa bed or converting the home office back into the spare bedroom, adapt your space for guests if they are staying overnight.
For ultimate comfort, Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design at Christy, explains: 'Opt for 100 per cent cotton bedding which is naturally breathable and can help to regulate temperature and moisture levels, guaranteeing your guests a great night's sleep. High quality cotton products have great durability and lifespan, making them a really worthwhile investment too.
'Alongside your bed linen, make sure to select good quality, well-filled inner duvets and pillows to create that full, cosy, "can't wait to dive in" feeling.'
Washing bedsheets should be part of a weekly cleaning routine, but the mattress often gets neglected.
'Regardless of the quality of your bed sheets and mattress protector, it’s really important that you also pay attention to the mattress to avoid unhygienic sleeping conditions and poor air quality,' says Jonathan Warren, director at bed specialist, Time4Sleep. 'Remove your bed linen and vacuum the surface of your mattress to get rid of any dirt or debris. For a real deep clean, sprinkle baking soda over your mattress and leave it for up to 24 hours before vacuuming again. This will act as a deodoriser and will help to get rid of any long-lasting smells.'
And while you're at it, if you have an upholstered headboard, give it a clean too. 'A weekly hoover and spritz of fabric spray will keep your headboard free from dirt and dust, as well as smelling nice and fresh,' says Jonathan.
Crucially, when having guests indoors, remember to make sure your home is well ventilated – this means opening windows or doors to let in plenty of fresh air.
Official government guidance via gov.uk states: 'Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that may contain virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.'
Ensure you and your guests wash hands regularly, and you should also be in the habit of cleaning surfaces regularly to remove virus particles. Pay attention to regular touch points, like door handles, light switches, chairs, stair rails, remote controls, laptops, screens etc.
Marks & Spencer recently launched a new Antiviral Antibacterial Fresh Linen Fragrance Fabric Freshener and disinfectant spray which are 100 per cent recyclable, cruelty free and kill viruses, including Coronavirus and 99.9 per cent of bacteria.
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