With the news exploding with stories about Enterovirus-D68 and Ebola, it’s no wonder folks are in a panic about killing germs. The truth is, even if an illness didn’t make the daily headlines, it’s a perfect reminder to take stock of your daily hygiene and home sanitizing habits. Whether it’s the flu, the common cold or something more severe, here are five places germs may be hiding in your home and how to fight back.
The hotbed of dramatic transmissions isn’t on your television; it’s on your remote. The one piece of equipment in the house that nearly everyone touches (when they can find it,) the remote control is riddled with germs. Clean it by wiping it down with a bleach or alcohol wipe, or spraying a microfiber cloth with a disinfecting solution and scrubbing it down from there. Encourage frequent hand washing of all family members (20 seconds, plenty of friction, just enough soap) as a preventative measure.
The keys to success.
Your computer keyboard could be making you sick, especially if you eat at your desk. Make a point to clean it regularly with a barely damp bleach or alcohol wipe. Make sure to give your track pad or mouse the same attention.
Watch your mouth.
Your toothbrush may make your dentist happy, but chances are your immune system has other ideas. Take proper care of your toothbrush by making sure it can dry out completely between uses (which, ahem, is twice. Each day.) Most importantly, store it as far away from the toilet as you can, and get in the habit of closing your toilet lid prior to flushing to prevent particles from becoming airborne. If you’ve been sick, replace your toothbrush once you feel better or after 48 hours of antibiotics. Also, wash your hands while you are there.
Scrub-a-dub your tub.
When a recent study found staphylococcus bacteria in over one-quarter of all bathtubs tested, it confirmed what most people feared: Where we clean ourselves is often one of the dirtiest places in the home. The case is worse if you own a whirlpool tub, which has even more areas for bacteria to collect and thrive. Clean your tub daily with a bathroom cleaner (green or otherwise), make sure to run your exhaust fans for 20 minutes to accelerate moisture removal, and wipe down the tub when finished. And then wash your hands.
And the kitchen sink.
If your kitchen sink and your toilet bowl were in a germ competition, there is a decent chance your kitchen sink would win. And if this sounds gross, it’s because it is; people have a much higher tendency to disinfect their toilets more often than their sinks. To eliminate germs, wash and rinse the sink first and then hit with a disinfectant solution. And then wash your hands.
Of course, these are the less-than-obvious germ sources in your home. To thoroughly protect yourself against the flu, colds and viruses, make sure to clean and sanitize doorknobs, toilet handles, toys and high touch surfaces. Create your own sanitizing solution with bleach and water (one tablespoon to one quart is an effective concentration that is safe enough for baby toys, as long as you give the bleach at least five minutes to evaporate.) Vinegar is also safe and highly effective as a disinfectant.
Also, makes sure to wash your hands. Not sure I can say that enough.
These are just a few things you can do to keep you and your family healthy. What else do you do?