Stop the spread of germs in your home with this handy checkpoint.

By Jessica Bennett
December 14, 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our routines for leaving and entering our homes. Face masks and hand sanitizer are now essential on-the-go accessories, and hand-washing has become the first thing to do once inside. Whether you're returning from work or a grocery-store run, it's important to take precautions to avoid tracking viruses or bacteria into the rest of your home. Especially now that cold and flu season is in full swing, adding a few extra barriers against germs can help protect your family's health. One way to do that is by setting up a sanitizing station just inside your main entryway. Ideally, this area will include everything you need to safely leave and come back, including disinfecting products, convenient storage for masks, an area to kick off shoes, and more. Use these ideas to create your own sanitizing station at home and leave germs at the door.

Credit: John Granen

1. Choose your point of entry.

If your home has multiple points of entry, such as both a front and side door, identify one that makes the most sense for safe, convenient entry. The area for your sanitizing station might not be the same as your preferred entrance pre-pandemic. If one door provides closer access to a sink, for example, that could be the best choice. This area should have enough space to store a few sanitizing essentials as well as a surface to set down whatever you're holding when you walk in the door, if necessary.

2. Provide sanitizing and disinfecting products.

Establish a handy way to clean as soon as you get home. If your chosen entry opens into a laundry room with a utility sink, for example, plan to wash your hands immediately upon return. Otherwise, provide hand sanitizer in an easily accessible spot, such as on a wall-mounted shelf or inside a caddy of cleaning products on an entryway bench. Choose a touchless hand sanitizer dispenser ($60, Bed Bath & Beyond) to help curb the spread of germs further. If desired, keep a container of disinfecting wipes close by so you can easily sanitize your phone, keys, doorknob, light switch, and other high-touch areas.

3. Create a cleaning system for masks.

Set up a system that helps you remember your face mask when you leave and safely deal with used masks once you get back home. First, mount a set of hooks or utilize self-adhesive hooks ($6, Target) right inside the door where you can hang clean ready-to-wear masks. If possible, position the hooks within your line of sight to make it less likely you'll forget your mask on your way out. For dirty masks, place a small basket near the door. This makes it easy to take worn masks directly to the laundry, so you can dump the basket's contents directly into the washing machine and return the basket to the entry.

4. Designate a shoe drop zone.

Designate a spot to kick off your shoes when you get home so you don't track germs and dirt throughout the house. Place a plastic boot tray ($10, The Container Store) or a machine-washable shoe mat ($20, Bed Bath & Beyond) near the door to gather footwear. Whichever shoe solution you choose, make sure it's easy to clean, either by wiping down the surface or tossing it into the laundry.

A sanitizing station provides the supplies you need for safe comings and goings amid the coronavirus pandemic, and you can customize it any way you like. Use these ideas as a starting point to outfit your entryway and set yourself up for a healthier home.

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