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

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.




Practical tips

Practical tips from our community:


Sofas

  • 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.



Beds

  • We 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.



Washing tips

  • “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.

  • "Air Wick or Febreze plug in air fresheners are also life-savers". They can be plugged in for an hour or so and we won't need to worry about smell!



Useful resources


We’d love to continue growing this resource. If you have a tip to share, please do email us!