If the recent pandemic has left you extra cautious about the germs lurking around, you are not alone. No matter how hard you try to keep your homes spotless, those mini-monsters can find endless nooks and corners to hide and play.
While you may be diligent about sanitizing common surfaces like toilet seats and kitchen countertops, many unexpected hotbeds of germs around you usually go unnoticed. These common household items are often-overlooked, but should be disinfected regularly for a healthier and safer living environment.
Yes, we know your cell phone isn't something you frequently share with others, and it doesn't involve the risk of bacterial transmission from shared surface contact. However, it's something that stays in your hands for the most part of your day. We use it constantly, carry it everywhere, and also leave it in contact with other surfaces likely to be covered in germs (like tables, kitchen countertops, restaurant tables, shelves, and clothes).
Germs on the hands and other surfaces can be easily transferred to your phone. These germs enter your breathing space when you use your phone, especially when you’re taking a call. You should definitely disinfect it at least once a day or after any extended use, with a disinfectant wipe or a soft cloth sprayed with a disinfectant solution.
Note: Make sure you check the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning because some surfaces may be sensitive to certain cleaning solutions.
Sponges and Dish Towels
The tools you use to clean things, especially sponges and dish towels, also need cleaning. It's a proven fact that used dish sponges and towels are densely packed with various kinds of microorganisms. Ideally, they should be discarded after each use or at least after a day. However, if that seems too much, you can disinfect them by microwaving them for a few minutes or running them through the dishwasher. Note: Don't microwave a metallic or a dry sponge - they can catch fire.
Doorknobs & Handles
Here's a rule of thumb: the more frequently a surface is touched, the more regularly you must disinfect it. You and others in your family touch the doorknobs and handles repeatedly throughout the day, causing germs and bacteria to accumulate and spread to others. Disinfecting them regularly, especially during flu and cold season or during outbreaks of infectious diseases, can help reduce the risk of transmission of germs and bacteria. You can wipe them with a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner every now and then to keep them germ-free.
Yes, those tiny little holes in the showerheads are perfect places for mold, mildew, and bacteria to breed. The germs keep building up in those holes to the extent that hardly any water comes out. You may not think much of it, but inhaling these pathogens or coming into contact with them while showering can lead to respiratory and skin infections. Don't know how to clean or disinfect a shower head? A detergent and soap are not enough to eliminate the germs and mold buildup in the nozzles. Try keeping it immersed in vinegar for a few hours instead. Once you take it out of the solution, wash it with clean water. The nozzle will be as good as new.
You may be thinking, why bother cleaning toothbrush holders when we don't really need to touch them? Well, a recent study by the University of Arizona (published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology) says that the fecal bacteria lurking in the air after you flush your toilet can settle on anything nearby. Since toothbrush holders usually come within the radius of the toilet, they are likely to become an ideal settling ground for all those airborne microorganisms.
Check your local grocery or drug store for these common products able to kill bacteria and germs:
· Alcohol solutions at least 70% alcohol
· Diluted bleach (5 tbsp per gallon of water)
· Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
· Clorox Disinfecting Spray
· Lysol Clean & Fresh Surface Cleaner