Carers guide to cleaning up bodily fluids
For many of us, cleaning up is actually a huge part of our caring role. From soiled sheets, sofas and clothing. To wiping down floors, windows and furniture. And let’s not forget hovering and sweeping up breakages.
I figured I wasn’t the only one, and opened up a chat in our community, for us to share practical and emotional tips and a sense of ‘we’re in it together’ to help lift our spirits.
For many of us, cleaning comes a close second to our primary caring role. In terms of the time, energy and emotional toll it can take. Especially when our caring role involves personal care. On a tough day, another bodily fluid clear up can be a tipping point for some of us.
So here’s our carers’ guide to staying sane and safe in the world of bodily fluids.
Emotional tips from our community:
Sense of humour needed - fair enough, sometimes our sense of humour can fail us - particularly after a long night or a long run of soiling. But, when we can find something to giggle about, it really can help. Sometimes we can be heard saying:
“We appear to have a shituation”,
which can release the pressure and give us a little giggle.
Play some music while we clear up - whatever genre makes us feel good.
Reframe the situation:
“As I change the bedding for the fifth time that week, I’ll think of it as an extra workout!”
Find something to be grateful for:
“I shift my focus away from ‘what’s wrong’ to I’m grateful for my washing machine or a sunny day to use the washing line”
“I’m grateful I’m physically able to do this for my loved-one”
And let's not forget to give ourselves a pat on the back for doing something pretty unpleasant. Even reward ourselves even if it’s a just a cup of tea in our favourite mug, with our biscuit of choice. ;o)
Practical tips from our community:
Use single waterproof sheets to cover sofa cushions, topped with a pretty outdoor rug. All easily washable, but still looks attractive.
Replace the back cushions of the sofa with outdoor, waterproof cushions.
You can get single waterproof mattress protectors that the mattress fits entirely inside. Washable and removes the risk of leaks at the edges.
Waterproof duvets are fluid proof and hygienic. As they can be wiped down, they rarely need washing.
Waterproof mattresses are also available, like those used in hospitals.
“I pop a drop of washing-up liquid in with my washing powder, which catches any grease spots I may have missed’.
Napisan in your wash, to kill those extra germs!
“A shot of vinegar in the last rinse of our washing will kill bacteria and keep our machine free of germs”
Marigold re-usable cleaning gloves (we are for sustainability!)
The classic Dettol antibacterial spray and cleaning cloths that we can pop into the washing machine after.
Floors and carpets
Vanish powder was recommended for freshening up carpets.
Outdoor rugs are waterproof!
“We replaced our downstairs carpet with laminate”
"Dr Beckmann carpet cleaner is pure magic - and comes with a brush!" Other brands also available.
We have our own “Carers’ guide to bladder and bowel incontinence”
Getting a referral from our GP to the incontinence clinic who can provide us with equipment such as (for men) sheaths and urine bags, (and women) pads for day and night time incontinence.
You local council can often offer a larger black bin or a special 'personal care waste' collection.
We’d love to continue growing this resource. If you have a tip to share, please do email us!