It’s hardly Where the Wild Things Are, but where the germs live is a story you’ll want to pay attention to in your home.
The household environment contains a staggering amount of germs. You might already know that. Yet they don’t always hide out where you most expect.
If you’re sick of the wild rumpus of germs in your house, then here’s how to kill the bad bacteria and viruses in your home.
The kitchen is, inevitably, one of the most dangerous spots for bacteria and viruses in the home. Don’t panic, as there are many things you can do to keep it under control.
The first is to ensure that hygiene remains easy in the kitchen. Keep plenty of dish soap, anti-bacterial spray, and liquid or gel hand sanitizer on hand. This will mean the right tools are always available to keep the kitchen clean.
Ensure you store food away in the proper place, in sealed containers or in the refrigerator (or both). Clean dishes away after use to stop them from becoming breeding grounds for bacteria.
Wash your hands before prepping food, and follow food hygiene guidance for handling raw meat. Ensure your countertops are clean before you start cooking.
After you’re done, wipe down your countertops again with anti-bacterial spray.
The Germ Cupboard
Ah, the refrigerator: or, to put it another way, the germ cupboard.
We sometimes like to think of the refrigerator as kind of self-cleaning. It’s a crisp, fresh place, with germs kept at bay by low temperatures. In a clean fridge, that’s even true.
However, many of us fall into bad habits with fridge hygiene, with old stains and spillage, forgotten vegetables hiding in corners, and a general lack of maintenance. This can all turn a fridge into a horror story of germs.
To avoid this fate, clean your fridge often. Pull all the produce out of there and use anti-bacterial sprays to wipe everything up.
Also, ensure that your fridge properly drains moisture. Older fridges are susceptible to moisture buildup (often pooling in the drainage areas at the bottom of the fridge), which increases humidity and allows bacteria to breed.
Sorry to have to say it, but when you go to sleep, you’re sleeping in a nest of germs. Beds are warm, damp, and dark, which make them a prime breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Then there’s the matter of dust mites and everything they leave behind.
Getting mattress and pillow covers is one of the easiest things you can do to sanitize the bed. You should also regularly wash your bedding at high temperatures to kill off germs. Be sure to also open curtains during the day, as bright, hot, direct light is a natural sterilizing agent.
Cell phones are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria. They come with us everywhere—yes, even to the toilet. Phones can host unbelievable amounts of germs and particles of things we don’t like to think about.
So wipe down your phone on a regular basis with anti-bacterial agents. Be sure to remove your phone’s case when you do this, as the dark places inside the case are some of the best places for germs to spawn.
Towels are another set of silent germ farms in the home. The hand towel is often overlooked as a source of germs, even though the whole family might share it. Can you guarantee your family members all take the time to wash their hands properly?
So you’ll need to change your hand towel often to ensure it’s germ-free, and that you’re not just re-applying all those germs when you dry your hands after washing.
Likewise, larger towels will often go through many cycles of use between washes. Even if they air dry completely between uses, bacteria will still build up when the towel is warm and wet, and those bacteria will spring back to life when conditions are right again.
Luckily, this one is easy to tackle. Change your towels often and wash them on a hot wash, and you can keep your towels smelling fresh and free of germs.
For an item we put in our mouths and all over our teeth and gums, we don’t give a lot of thought to the humble toothbrush.
Yet, for obvious reasons, they can harbor insane amounts of germs. Good toothbrush hygiene involves cleaning your toothbrush at high temperatures with anti-bacterial agents and letting it completely air dry between uses. You should also change your toothbrush every few months.
Since toothbrushes are usually kept in a bathroom with a toilet nearby, you should try to protect them from the inevitable results of flushing a toilet with the lid up.
Alongside all the other things we mentioned, your home has a grab-bag of generally “handy places.”
By that, we mean all those places hands go. Stair rails, door handles, TV remotes, game consoles, and so on. We can’t list them all here, but you might want to sit down and make a list of all the items that receive a regular fondling.
Then, institute a regular clean of these areas. A cloth wipe with an anti-bacterial cleaning solution is usually enough to keep the worst at bay.
Create a Culture
To keep on top of germs in your home, create a culture—but not a bacterial culture, obviously.
Creating a culture of cleanliness means making everyone in the family aware of their responsibilities to fight germs. That way, it becomes everyone’s job, and everyone’s job becomes easier in turn.
For instance, if you’re all on the same page about putting the toilet lid down, then your bathroom will be cleaner overall. Or someone will think to throw a towel into the wash. Consider having a family roundtable discussion about hygiene and come up with some basic ideas for what you can all do better.
Bad Bacteria Be Gone
With these tips in mind, you should be able to bust the bad bacteria and viruses in your home down to safer levels. You can never completely eliminate germs and nor should you, but controlling their levels can help to keep your family safe.
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