Well, the cold and flu season is here, and it’s already made its first visit to our house. Luckily, only me and my husband have caught it so far (knock on wood) . . . which is funny because I’m the one always washing my hands and trying to keep the place as cold-germ-free as possible! Here are some places in the home that are full of those germs, and how you can keep these areas as clean as possible so that you can hopefully keep cold season’s affects to a minimum.
You might be thinking I’m going to mention the toilet . . . but I am actually going to say all of those toothbrushes! As long as you aren’t sharing a toothbrush with someone else, and let it dry completely between uses, it should be just fine. However, my kids are constantly swapping toothbrushes, so I’ve since had to put them out of reaching distance just to avoid the kids using each other’s brushes.
If you catch a stomach flu or strep throat, you should replace your toothbrush.
We all know washing our hands is a must, but think about it . . . how dirty do those sink faucet handles get?! Germs love wet places (like faucet handles), so it’s smart to wipe them down with disinfectant wipes daily to get rid of those germs. Same with those bathroom hand towels . . . the germs love them! Change those as often as possible.
We all take the time to wash the kitchen counters and the kitchen table diligently every day, but what about the sink? Bits of food from plates that you leave to soak in the sink or rinse before putting them in the dishwasher makes the sink’s surface a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella, and these bacterias can remain on hard surfaces for days. From there, they can get on your hands or spread to foods that you might later rinse in the sink before preparing them.
The easiest way to sanitize your sink daily (or after putting raw meats in it) is to use a solution of bleach and water (I just keep a spray bottle full of it) once a day and then letting the solution run down the drain. Easy, and something I do after cleaning up the evening’s dinner dishes.
The Laundry Room
The laundry room?! Yep, according to an article in Woman’s Day magazine, the laundry room is full of them, and how you wash your laundry and in what kind of water does make a difference. Most people have moved to washing their laundry in cold or warm water, but that only kills about 80% of bacteria, according to Dr. Charles Gerba.
His suggestion to avoiding spreading more germs? Wash high-risk items (like bathroom towels and dish towels) separately from the rest of your laundry on hot and dry them in the dryer completely.
It’s also a good practice to decontaminate your washer by running a load (or an empty cycle) with a capful of bleach once a month.
Other dirty places you might not realize are the remote control, your computer keyboard, and salt and pepper shakers. Try to wipe these items with disinfecting wipes daily, as well . . . just don’t use the same wipe on all of the items; use a separate one for each to prevent spreading germs from one place to another.
Where else do germs hide in your home and what do you do to get rid of them?
photo source: Flickr