The next time you cut up chicken for dinner, use a clean surface. Like your toilet seat! That’s a direct quote from one of my favorite germ guys, microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba. Gerba says your home toilet seat has the least amount of bacteria of all the spots in your home! Why? Because it’s cleaned regularly. Want to know what else is scary? In a recent study, a whopping 28% of households were found to be heavily contaminated with bacteria – which can live on surfaces anywhere from days to months! Before you start spraying bleach on everything, just being consistent about cleaning key items – ones you may have never thought about cleaning before – can keep a lid on bacteria.
- As an example, let’s talk about your towels. Every time you use them, skin cells slough off your body and onto the towel, and those skin cells are food for bacteria. So when you reuse a towel, the bacteria can transfer back to you and cause skin infections. That’s why you need to wash your towel at least once a week if you’re the only person using it. If you share a towel, use a fresh one daily. Anything that gets soaked, like a washcloth, should be washed after every use.
- Now let’s move onto your eco-friendly reusable water bottle. It can be a bacteria bomb. Researchers from the University of Calgary found significant levels of coliform bacteria in 9% of the water bottles they tested. That means, when you’re thirsty and you open the bottle with dirty hands, you transfer fecal bacteria into the water. When the bottle is empty, the damp, warm closed space becomes the perfect breeding ground for germs. The fix? Wash your bottle daily in warm, soapy water using a bottle brush, and air dry the bottle and cap completely.
- Lastly, how about your watchband? Have you ever thought about cleaning it? Well, if you’ve ever wondered why watchbands start to stink after a few months, the answer is bacteria, and possibly staph bacteria that can cause skin infections. Harvard microbiologists say leather is the worst, because it’s porous and absorbs sweat and skin cells. If you have a scrape on your wrist, it’s an infection waiting to happen. The experts recommend cleaning leather watch bands monthly with a leather cleaner – and plastic or metal bands with soapy water.