Germs, they’re literally everywhere! These tiny, squiggly creatures are on our skin, in our gut and all over our homes.
For most of us this isn’t an issue, we try to keep things clean when we can and don’t lose any sleep over it. But for some of us, germs and their eradication can become somewhat of a quest, an obsession if you like.
Called Mysophobia in extreme cases or even “germaphobe” for those whose preoccupation is not a medical condition, this may remind you of the detective on the TV show “Monk” or even the real life case of Donald Trump, who often won’t shake hands due to his phobia.
Clearly Mysophobia is a crippling affliction, but perhaps there are some tips all of us can use to prevent and eliminate the most harmful germs from our homes and protect ourselves and our families. The dangerous E Coli, Salmonella, Streptococcus and even the various strains of the Influenza virus can all be deadly and commonly pop up in any household. In fact in Europe 40% of food-related outbreaks of infection occur in the home, so it makes sense to be aware of what you can do to prevent getting sick.
Top Places Dirt And Germs Like To Lurk And How Best To Clean Them
Some places we think are the most filthy are actually not as bad as we thought. Door knobs, toilet seats and even your dog’s saliva are all not the germ hotspots you think they are.
But here are the places that are dirtier than we realise, often because we forget about them and instead repeatedly clean the same old spots. So it’s time you paid attention to the items on this list for smarter and safer cleaning.
Your Kitchen Floor
Dropped food, dirty shoes and even an old broom will deposit dirt and germs onto your kitchen floor, making it one of the dirtiest places in the home! If you rely on the five second rule, you’d be better off eating out of the garbage – a study found that the kitchen floor in front of the sink contains more germs (830 million per square inch) than the rubbish bin (411 million per square inch). That is also worse than the floor in front of the toilet (764 million per square inch)!
For this germ haven, an antibacterial mop which is fast and easy to use that also won’t allow dirt to build up as it cleans is a must. The new Vileda AttrActive System comes with disposable antibacterial wipes that clip into the double sided mop head which has the ability to flip over so you can continue cleaning without spreading germs. If you have a crawling baby, curious toddler or partner that believes in the 5 second rule, an antibacterial and disposable mopping system is essential for the germiest floors in your home.
Improperly washed hands are the number one culprit transferring germs to other people and objects. The best way to wash your hands is by scrubbing with soap for at least 30 seconds, paying attention between all the fingers, after using the toilet and also before and after preparing food. Hot water makes no difference to germ removal unless the temperature is over 100 degrees centigrade (no thanks!) and repeatedly washing in hot water may even damage hands, leading to fragile skin and small abrasions that leave you vulnerable to infection. If you’d prefer to wash your hands less often, using gloves for food preparation so you can simply throw away all the bacteria is a sensible option.
Your Chopping Boards
It might have just gone through the dishwasher, but all those tiny cuts are probably still harbouring millions of germs and just waiting to infect their next victim – your next meal! Even if you have separate chopping boards for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables, they will still contain bacteria. Clean them by soaking in a disinfectant solution and letting them dry thoroughly with each use. But if they’re covered in thousands of tiny cuts and are discoloured, replace them.
Your Cloths and Sponges
A cloth or sponge must be clean because you rinse it out, right? Wrong! The dampness is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which is why a study found 60% of home dishcloths tested positive for Influenza; 32% for MRSA; 10% for Salmonella and 32% for E. coli. Disinfect your cloths and sponges daily either by soaking in a disinfectant solution, zapping in the microwave for 2 minutes or machine washing them (the Vileda range of cloths is all machine washable). For those really germy surfaces, using a disposable cleaning wipe will both remove more germs and stop the danger of cross-contamination lingering on your cloths. Replacing them regularly is essential, reusing an old grimy sponge for weeks on end could be costing your family’s health.
You keep all your fresh food in here so you want it to be clean and healthy yet mould is a common danger lurking in many fridges, with 83% of fridge seals testing positive for common moulds. To stop the threat of fridge germs, place your food in order from top to bottom of least to most bacteria prolific items, so the worst offenders don’t drip down onto the untainted items. Wipe out all the gunk from your fridge seals, handle and internal surfaces regularly with a disinfecting wipe to be sure you’re keeping your family’s food safe.
You take it everywhere; many even take theirs to the toilet, so it’s no surprise that this comes out on top for dangerous bacteria. Turn them off weekly (or more often if you feel the need to take it to the loo with you!) and wipe them down with a disinfecting wipe so you don’t spread germs to your face and cause mystery skin or eye infections.
Places You Wouldn’t Expect
Sure, we all expect there to be germs in a toilet, which is why most of us regularly scrub down and wipe our toilet surfaces. But did you know the toilet roll holder is the number one harbourer of germs in the room, with 150% more bacteria than the toilet seat? We often forget this but it is just as regularly touched as the flush button and door handle, which we often do think to clean. Other uncommonly cleaned but filthy areas include remote controls, computer keyboards and handbags (particularly the bottom). If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned these items, get a wipe and get to work!
The bottom line is you can’t prevent or eliminate all types of germs, and neither should you. But removing the most dangerous types from the places they are likely to cause your family harm should be common sense. Follow our tips and you’ll have a clean and safe home that you know is cleaner than your neighbours’!