Guess what? Even if you drink green juice, work out daily, and take vitamins, you can still get sick. Because there are germs hiding in your home patiently waiting for their moment to pounce. “Germs can survive for a longer period of time on non-porous surfaces (like stainless steel and plastics), than porous surfaces (such as fabrics and tissues),” said Dr. Rossana Rosa, M.D., of UnityPoint Health. “It’s estimated viruses can live anywhere from one to seven days on non-porous surfaces.”
A 2014 study found more than 340 different bacteria on 30 different items in a single environment, which means it’s time to start cleaning now.
There are the obvious areas that are filled with germs, like counters and toilets, but there are some sneaky parts of your home collecting a ton of bacteria without you even realizing. Here are some places germs are lurking and how you can get rid of them.
You’re on your phone, tablet, and computers all the time, which makes these devices the perfect place your germs to hang out. Especially remote controls, something everyone typically touches at home when it’s not buried in the couch or on the floor. To keep germs down on these devices, sanitize your devices with wipes for electronics.
HANDLES, KNOBS, AND SWITCHES
Think about how many times, you open doors, use appliances, and adjust lighting. Every single time you take one of those actions and touch everything from a handle to a knob to a switch, you’re spreading grime, dust, and bacteria. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: Use a disinfectant wipe for small but obvious places throughout your home (like the toilet bowl flush handle, all light switches, stove knobs, microwave, and refrigerator handles and doorknobs). Tip: Be sure to apply a new cloth or cleaning wipe every time to minimize germs moving from one place to another.
SCARVES, HATS, AND GLOVES
When is the last time you washed your scarf or gloves? If you can’t remember that is a problem. Was these items every week or so to balance out the number of times you sneeze, drop food, and cough on them. The same goes for hats or any other piece of semi-exterior clothing you wear regularly.
PET TOYS AND BOWLS
We love our pets so much we often forget where their paws and mouths have been. If you own a pet, make sure to toss any of their fabric toys in the washing machine and wipe down the rubber toys with sanitizer. Also, clean out pet bowls using hot water and soap at least once a week to avoid any bacteria growth; water dishes more often due to standing water, and most pet bowls are on the floor, where dirt tends to quickly collect
How often do you clean your gym bag? If the answer is “not very often,” start adding this one to your usual routine. Be sure to either wipe down or toss these in the wash every other week. (Here are some quick tips on how to care for nylon, insulated, fabric, and recycled plastic bags.) And be sure to remove stinky clothes from your bag as soon as you get home.