There are germaphobes, and there are people who study germs scientifically. Then there are those of us who just want to know how to avoid them as much as possible.
It’s not your bathroom you need to worry about – it’s your kitchen. It’s not that bathrooms are cleaner than kitchens by default. In a natural state, both rooms are actually pretty dirty. Bathrooms are only cleaner because that is where we concentrate more attention and effort. It’s natural to think it needs more cleaning in there, but where does that leave our kitchens? It leaves them full of germs.
This has been scientifically proven. Let’s take a look at some things we can do to help remove, and prevent the buildup of, germs in our kitchen areas.
Clean your kitchen like it’s a toilet.
We wash our hands after we use the toilet. But before we do, we touch our belts, the sink faucets to turn on the water, the soap dispenser and more. So unless we clean our sink handles and doorknobs and belt buckles instantly, we’re really transferring germs, including fecal matter, from the bathroom to wherever we go and touch something, next.
Wiping down and sterilizing doorknobs, handles, towel racks and refrigerator handles is essential to clean living and good health.
Dish sponges are horrible at staying clean. Replace your sponge once a week and every night, microwave it while wet for 30 seconds, put it in the dishwasher or soak it in rubbing alcohol with lemon.
Wooden cutting boards also trap germs in their grains. Don’t use the same board for meats as you do for vegetables, and store them separately and covered/wrapped.
What’s in your refrigerator is yummy and important. What’s at the bottom of it is potentially dangerous.
Those bottom drawers are like the sewers of the refrigerator world. Cartons leak. Condensation drips. Onion peels shed and fall. So many things can find their way to the bottom drawer and become a breeding ground for E-Coli and other bacteria. And on its way down, liquids and wet food can brush across other items on higher shelves. Once a week you really should empty out the crisper drawers, remove all debris and trays, and clean out that fridge.
Ladies, please…hang your purses on hooks.
Purses go on floors. Purses go on car seats, and on booths in restaurants. They’re set down at work and on counters at banks. So why, oh why do we set them on kitchen tables and counters? Scientist found that 25% of purses are actually carrying E-Coli on them. So ladies, please, hang your purses on hooks and wipe them off with a sterilizing wipe once a week.
Don’t be floored anymore.
Floors are really dirty. The kitchen floor is hard to keep up with but a daily sweeping with a broom and mopping once a month does wonder. Different floor types require different care techniques so be sure to use the appropriate solutions when mopping.
Also, wear house shoes or slippers/ Take your work or party shoes off at the door and have a mat and/or designated place to put them. Never wear your outside shoes in the bathroom or bedroom. And never get in bed wearing socks you just wore to walk on the floor. If that is too excessive for you, then at least ban all shoes from being worn in the parts of your home leading to your bath and bedrooms. If you keep your nearby floors clean enough with regular maintenance, socks into bed aren’t as big deal. You can also try using a vacuum cleaner to maintain your floor clean as you wish. Visit https://www.vacuumjudge.com/ to find out more about vacuum cleaners.
Reusable doesn’t mean invincible.
I like reusable grocery bags for all the reason one should like them. They’re sturdy they help save trees and (supposedly) keep prices down. But they also get really, really dirty. Half the people who use reusable bags don’t wash them. It’s been proven that reusable grocery bags carry more than just food. They carry more bacteria than your dirty underwear. You don’t put your food in your underwear, I imagine. But you do wash your underwear regularly. Wash your reusable grocery bags every week, and keep a few on hand so you can separate meat, vegetables and other items.
Saving trees is noble. Saving lives is too. Strike a balance.
I really use a lot of paper towels. Dish and bathroom hand towels carry so many germs it’s hard to think about. I don’t like to waste, I truly don’t. I also don’t like to get sick. Find a balance you can live with, literally. Change hand towels daily and wash in hot water with vinegar or baking soda and a lemon essential oil. Use paper towels for counter messes and for drying your hands after doing dishes. It’s important to be environmentally conscientious. It’s also important to not get a bacterial infection.
Wipes vs. Sprays
Using an antibacterial wipe is more convenient than using a spray. Sprays need time to sink in. Wipes don’t. Just be sure to use multiple, fresh wipes when cleaning. It doesn’t do any good to wipe down one section of your counter then just move those collected germs to the next section by using the same wipe. Change it up to keep it cleaner.
Stock up on hand sanitizer.
Research clearly shows that you get sick less if you use hand sanitizers. Avoid the ones with triclosan in them. That nasty compound has been known to cease hormonal defects and resistance to fighting infections. But the ones that are alcohol-based are fine.
Washing our hands properly is an effort than frequently gets shorted in the end. We need to use really hot water and scrub our hands for at least 15-20 seconds before they’re actually clean. Then we go right to touching the doorknobs and faucets where we put the germs in the first place.
Hand sanitizer is your friend. Just don’t let it be that friend that always comes over at the worst times, eats all your food and needs a right to the bank again.
Clean your hands after handling clean laundry.
Yes, even your clean laundry isn’t clean. Wet laundry still has bacteria on it so when you transfer it from your washer to your dryer you’re putting germs onto your hands. Laundry soap doesn’t kill bacteria the way we think it would. Super hot water, bleach, vinegar, and essential oils are needed for that.
So keep a bottle of hand sanitizer near your laundry machines for good measure.
And for pretty much every other time you touch anything else.
Playgrounds are off limits? You know, they’re not. But they are really dirty. It’s like a multi-gender rest room for birds and animals. Kids sit on the swings and touch the bars and rides that animals use as waste disposal units.
Pack some hand sanitizer in your kid’s backpack and have them use it after recess. Make them wash up as soon as they get home as well.
Look, things can be overdone. I get it, and we all have to live outside a hyperbolic bubble. Well, most of us do, anyway.
But it can’t hurt to be careful and take some preventative measures seriously when combating germs. Germs have no mercy on us, so we’ll have to have it for ourselves and stay as clean as we can. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go use some hand sanitizer after typing this article.
A millenial mom (of two boys) who has passion in makeup and motherhood in between.