Housekeeping And AIDS

Keeping the house as clean as possible can help make your loved one with AIDS feel more comfortable and prevent the development of further infections and diseases.

Cleaning House

Cleaning kills germs that may be dangerous to your loved one with AIDS. About 1/4 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water makes a good disinfectant for floors, showers, tubs, sinks, mops, and sponges. (Or 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 quart of water for small jobs.) You may also want to:

  • Clean and dust the house weekly.
  • Clean tubs, showers, and sinks with household cleaners, and then rinse with fresh water.
  • Mop floors weekly.
  • Clean the toilet often, using bleach mixed with water or a commercial toilet bowl cleaner. You may clean urinals and bedpans with bleach after each use. Replace plastic urinals and bedpans monthly.
  • Make a new batch each time you clean; bleach mix stops working after about 24 hours.


Clothes and bed sheets used by someone with AIDS can be washed the same way as other laundry—in a washing machine, using either hot or cold water and regular laundry detergent. A normal wash cycle will kill the virus, but if you wish, you can add bleach as an extra precaution. For laundry or furniture soiled with bodily fluids, consider the following suggestions.

  • If clothes or sheets have blood, vomit, semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces on them, use disposable gloves, and handle the clothes or sheets as little as possible. Put them in plastic bags until you can wash them.
  • If stains from blood, semen, or vaginal fluids are present, soak clothes in cold water before washing to help remove the stains.
  • Stained fabrics and furniture can be cleaned with soap and water or other common cleansers; just follow the directions on the box.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from Caring for Someone with AIDS at Home: A Guide, ACTIS Publication No. D817, United States Department of Health and Human Services, AIDS Clinical Trial Information Service.

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