There are “good germs” and “bad germs,” and many of those little critters can make us sick. Our homes and offices all have bacteria, so let’s talk a little bit about how to clean up some of the stuff that harbors them. One of the germiest items in your home is the remote control. You should use a disinfectant swipe on it at least every two days, or if someone in your house is sick, every day. Wait to do your channel surfing after you have prepared dinner because during food prep, you can transfer microbes like E.coli or salmonella to your clicker.
We women love purses, so much so that they go everywhere we go. That purse can pick up staph, salmonella, and even E.coli. Don’t keep loose cash in your bag. Paper money is the dirtiest thing there is. Experts say that the flu virus can live on paper money for seventeen days. Clean the inside of your purse with a vacuum crevice attachment, or a long bristled suede brush and dump crumbs into the trash. Another good idea is to hang your purse up rather than placing it on restaurant or bathroom floors, where germs are just waiting to catch a ride.
Here is a list of some of the germiest places in our lives:
- Phones. Cell phones carry 500 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, according to Kelly Reynolds, PhD., an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona. Many disease-causing microbes can survive for weeks on your rarely cleaned office or cell phone. Swipe with a disinfecting wipe daily.
- Soap dispensers. Ironically, this germ-fighting tool is a hot spot for E.coli and other bacteria. Lathering your hands with soap and singing one round of “Happy Birthday” while washing them, will give you time to get rid of all the bugs.
- Keyboard and mouse. A co-worker’s germs can linger on your computer. Rhinovirus, (cause of the common cold), can survive from hours to days on surfaces like keyboards. Even if you are the only one who uses your computer, wipe these down weekly with a disinfectant.
- Lobby elevator buttons. These little knobs are loaded with everyone’s germs. Let someone else press the button, or use your knuckle, and apply hand sanitizer.
- Shopping cart handles. Up to 8 in 10 may have E.coli, so use the hand sanitizer the store offers for free, or keep some in your car or purse to use after shopping. (I keep a bottle in the side pocket of my car door).
Here are some ingredients that you probably have in your pantry that are good for cleaning:
- Rubbing alcohol. Dilute with one-half water to wipe down remotes and remove fingerprints on appliances, including stainless.
- Lemon juice. Mix with cream of tartar to make a paste, then scrub into rust stains on bathtubs – leave it on for a few hours until the stain disappears.
- Fresh lemon. Cut one in half, sprinkle with salt, and use it to clean cutting boards and bring shine back to copper pots and pans.
- White vinegar. This rivals the disinfecting power of bleach. Mix equal parts vinegar and water to clean mirrors. Dip a cloth in the mixture, wipe, and buff dry.
- Baking soda. Use to remove marks from hard surfaces and deodorize your fridge. Make it into a paste with hydrogen peroxide (1/3 c. soda to 2/3 c. peroxide) to remove underarm stains from white clothing.
There are many earth-friendly cleaning products that will kill almost 100 per cent of germs for house or office cleaning. Remember, practicing good hand hygiene is very important for the prevention of disease. Teach your children to get into the habit of washing their hands often.