Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Germs in your house Part 2

In addition to the kitchen here are some of the other germ laden areas in your house.

Bathrooms: Bathrooms can be very dirty. The biggest preventative is to make sure that the lid of the toilet is down when you flush. When a toilet flushes, it sprays a fine mist of toilet water and what ever is in the toilet water up to 5 feet away. If the lid is down, it prevents that spray from escaping up and out.   Faucet handles are very dirty, think about it you grab the handle with your dirty hands to turn the water on. I recommend using an antibacterial wipe or a paper towel with some bleach solution on it to wipe down counters and faucet handles and toilet seats each day. I grab a wipe and do a quick wipe down in the morning. It takes less than 3 minutes to do all the bathrooms. Time well spent.

The other dirty item in your bathroom is the hand towel. Unless you are washing your hands with lots of soap while you sing happy birthday to time yourself, your hands aren't getting completely clean. You then wipe them on the hand towel and the next person who uses the towel has their germs and now adds yours. At my house I've placed cute paper towel holders in each of my bathrooms so that every person has a clean paper towel to wipe their hands with.

The place that you would think is the cleanest is actually very dirty and infected with the highest count of e coli. That would be your washing machine. One pair of underwear will contaminate an entire load of laundry. If the owner of those shorts happens to have a stomach virus then your entire load of towels and clothes is contaminated. Even if your drier is on the hottest setting, some of that bacteria can survive to infect the rest of the household. Think about it as the towel you are drying your face with is like using dirty underware! Gross.  The way to solve this problem is to add a small amount of bleach to every load of laundry. For a front loader, 3 Tbs of bleach to a load of darks will kill the germs without harming or fading your colors. A full 1/2 cup for whites will kill germs and whiten the load.

Once or twice a week, take the time to wipe down all the switchplates, doorknobs and any buttons you use- like an alarm pad. Make sure to get the doorknobs going into the house too.

If you have pets, their food and water bowls are a cesspool. The dog or cat licks their body in inappropriate ways and then they lick the bowl over and over again. Your pet dishes should go through the dishwasher at least 2 times a week.

Controlling germs in the house is really about maintenance on a regular basis.  Start in your bathroom and wipe down the faucet and counter, now move to the toilet and wipe down the seat, the handle and then the rim. Toss that cloth and pull another one out. Wipe down the switch plates and door knobs as you head into the next bathroom, repeat and continue on until you've hit them all. It takes me 10 minutes to do a quick wipedown of al the bathrooms each morning. 

Tomorrow I'll be writing about strategies to keep everyone healthy when one person gets sick.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the info. on the washer had no idea