Try as you may, germs are always around us. They linger in the nooks and crannies, but the biggest surprise is where they like to party in plain sight. This horror is the stuff that keeps me up at night now that I know what I know.
Let’s talk turkey, tuna, and chicken salad, shall we? Let me tell you about an NSF International study back in 2011. In this study, it revealed your kitchen is crawling with Coliform bacteria. That would be the family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli if you were wondering. These food prep areas are crawling with creepy germs, and this is at home and the office alike.
Even if you rinse everything down your kitchen sink, 99% of us aren’t giving it a thorough sanitizing after every use. Think of it this way – you are rinsing off the gunk from your hands and your Tupperware and dishes “before” you clean them. The food particles slipped off of your plate onto the sink, slid around a little and finally dropped into the drain. What is left behind are the germs that hung behind to fester and multiply. A spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide or bleach and water will give you a fighting chance against these creepy crawlies.
Now let’s move along the sink to the porous materials, like your dish sponges and rags. These are easily the most significant contributors of bacteria in the home and office. Leave them damp with limited opportunity to dry completely, and the bacteria rave continues well into the night. You can easily sanitize them every couple of days by microwaving or boiling for 30 seconds. If you want to use the sponge at the office, take my advice and give it a quick zap every time you use it.
Your coffee maker is the next item that needs regular cleaning too, especially if yours is left overnight with the gunky coffee grounds behind. Either way, mold can hide in the piping and grow where you can’t see it. To clean and refresh your coffee maker, send 4 cups of vinegar (without coffee) through the cycle for proper cleaning.
This room is a no-brainer for most germ-conscious individuals, especially in the office. You KNOW not everyone is washing their hands as they should. Then they go touching all of the surfaces on the way to the door. Then they proceed to the elevator and, well, you know the rest.
Let’s circle back home for a minute, though, where the bathroom is a warm and humid environment of joy for bacteria. Think of it as a day spa for your everyday germs, and boy do they enjoy a good party when it gets good and humid. You probably already think of the surfaces, like your sink, counter, toilet, and tub. However, don’t forget about the soft and porous items in your bathroom, too.
The germs love to sink and snuggle into a good towel that doesn’t get enough ventilation to dry. Hanging towels too close together or bunched up creates a happy home for germs and bacteria. If you like to keep a hand towel by the sink, change it daily. It is the germiest towel in the room on any given day.
Another discovery from the NSF International study was that 27% of toothbrush holders contain Coliform bacteria. Remove your toothbrush holder from the bathroom sink right next to the toilet, and move it right now to a new location, and don’t forget to put it on the list for more frequent cleaning and replace your toothbrushes. Just for reference, mine is behind cupboard doors and away from overspray ick).
Of course, we saved the best for last. If you ever wanted a good reason to force everyone to remove their shoes upon entry to your home, you can print this paragraph and thank me later. Think of all the things your family steps on, over, and into as they are walking from a building to their car, through parking lots, and it all gets tracked into your home. You may remove surface stains, but the germs may remain after that and get tracked farther and farther into the house.
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