Though it's too early to call it spring cleaning, a bad cold and flu season is a good reason to sanitize the homestead.

An outbreak of influenza-like virus was reported this month in Lake City schools in southeastern Minnesota. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled the geographic spread of influenza as "widespread" this month in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

RiverTown Multimedia corresponded with Nicholas Moore of You've Got Maids of Hudson, a professional home cleaning company in the St. Croix County area, about cleaning tips and tricks.

Here's what he had to say:

In your experience, what are the dirtiest objects in our homes that people may overlook?

Baseboards and door frames are important areas and often missed. Also, door and window screens — which are easy to vacuum off and sanitize — act as filters, but catch a scary amount of germs and other unwanted things that you don't want blowing into your home when it is finally time to open up the house again.

How best to go about cleaning them?

We scrub and sanitize all of the baseboards in the home or small office and then maintain that level of clean during recurring services — weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. For screens, we use HEPA-filtered backpack vacuums to remove most of the contaminants and follow that up with an environmentally friendly peroxide-based disinfecting cleaner. Lastly, we ensure that the entire casing of each window, including as much of the track as we can get to, are sanitized also.

What are the common cleaning mistakes or misconceptions?

As is well known, colds and flu are very contagious through contact and also through the air. A common mistake that is made is to only wipe down door handles and large areas. From experience, we know that while we have a cold or the flu, we don't much feel up to grabbing a simple disinfecting wipe and getting all of the things that are commonly touched or breathed onto: remotes, light switches, cell phones, the insides of appliance handles and where you grab furniture, etc. Other mistakes are to not switch to a new toothbrush and linens; and to not quarantine your used tissues and food wrappers. You get the idea. Dig deep and disinfect!

Any tips for keeping a routine than can make spring cleaning seem a little less daunting?

If it is in your budget, professional cleaning and maids services truly do have the expertise and know-how to clean your space from top to bottom, getting areas you may not think of or where germs and bacteria hide. Be sure to hire a licensed, bonded and insured service for piece of mind and one that can prove to you that their staff is in fact professionally trained. If you go it alone, be sure to use effective products and supplies, and be ready to take the time needed to do a thorough deep clean. Although we can all think of better things to do with our free time, it can be a very accomplishing feeling knowing that your home is truly clean and rid of the flu and cold germs that may be lurking.