As a rule, we try to avoid touching or using things that are obviously dirty or unhygienic. We know many of the obvious germ-filled places that surround us day to day, but there are also many unknown threats that we come into contact with as well, which we’re completely oblivious of.
In an effort to stay clean and healthy, we wanted to highlight ten surprisingly dirty places we come in contact with every day and what you can do about them:
1. Mobile phones
We all carry our mobile phones with us all the time and you might be one of many individuals who takes their mobile phones to the bathroom! As a result, you’re at more risk of infections and getting sick from touching your mobile phone if it has been in the bathroom as studies have found one in six mobile phones were contaminated with faecal bacteria! With that in mind, make sure you power down your mobile phone once a week and wipe it down thoroughly with an antibacterial wipe or disinfectant.
Usually attached to your mobile phone are your headphones. We use headphones every day, sometimes for hours at a time. Research shows that using headphones for an hour continuously coats the buds with bacteria, and leaving your headphones laying around at the bottom of your gym bag doesn’t help either!
A recent study found that women’s handbags were amongst the top three dirtiest things they touched every day – surprising right?!? A smaller study found E.coli on 25% of handbags from its study sample, which is quite a lot considering that every woman carries some type of a handbag. Make sure you don’t leave your handbag on dirty floors, especially when you’re in the bathroom. Also, opt for handbags made out of leather or other materials that are easier to wipe and which can be laundered regularly.
One thing you’ll find in every handbag is makeup! Ladies you’d be surprised at the amount of germs that are in your makeup bag & cosmetics. Items such as lipstick, mascara, and even makeup brushes are a breeding ground for germs. Sharing and borrowing makeup also doesn’t help as it leads to the growth of bacteria, often contaminating makeup and causing pink eyes or pimples. To prevent spreading germs through your makeup, make sure you clean brushes and applicators before and after use.
5. Shopping Cart Handles
One of the filthiest public objects you will touch are shopping cart handles – so many people use them without washing their hands! Research has found that shopping cart handles are full of saliva, bacteria & much, much more. Some shops are considerate enough to place sanitary wipes for customers to use on the handles. We recommend you take them up on their offer, especially when you’re placing young children in the carts.
6. ATM Machine
Similar to shopping cart handles, a lot of people touch ATM buttons with dirty hands. Unfortunately, there aren’t any wipes at the bank machines to wipe down the buttons before use so your best bet is to use a hand sanitiser after every use.
7. Office Microwave
The microwave in your office is used multiple times every day to warm all different types of food. Because so many people use it, the office microwave is prone to accumulate germs quickly. Make sure you wipe down the surface and the inside of the microwave before use and wash your hands after you have used it.
8. Kitchen Sink & Sponges
You’d be surprised at the amount of bacteria that builds up in your kitchen sink, especially when you wash meat and poultry in it. Kitchen sponges are also another target for bacteria growth as they’re prone to spread bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella. Make sure you clean your kitchen sink with soap and warm water after every use and disinfect sponges by soaking them in a bleach solution once a week.
9. Laundry Basket
Our laundry baskets have piles & piles of dirty clothes thrown into them every day — sweaty gym clothes, football uniforms, soiled baby clothes and much, much more. It’s no surprise that your laundry basket collects a load of germs. To avoid spreading the germs, make sure you carry heavily soiled or dirty laundry in plastic bags, wash your hands immediately after carrying the laundry and use a separate container to carry your clean laundry.
Even though pillows are used by single individuals or shared by spouses, they are surprisingly full of fungi & bacteria. Because we sweat, shed skin and even drool all over their pillows, they tend to be packed with allergy-inflaming fungi and dust mites. To prevent your pillows from accumulating germs, regularly launder them and use anti-allergen covers.
Surprising isn’t it how all these day to day items can be so dirty! Now that you’re aware, you can be prepared to clean & sterilise against them…