|(photo © by La Caseta de Paper)|
Here you have a list of six usually forgotten surfaces in the house that we don't always remember to clean, and some recommendations on how we can keep them fresh and safe.
- Small electronics with buttons to push (the phone, the MP3 player, the computer keyboard, the TV remote, the calculator). There's a bunch of articles on the Internet stating the fact that toilet seats are WAY cleaner that phones. Surprising? Not really, we carry the phones everywhere around, we touch them with both clean and dirty hands, we place them on places that haven't been cleaned in a long time. Sometimes we even touch them while we're cooking, or eating, and it sounds so normal for us that often we don't realize about all the bacteria that we're touching while doing this. It doesn't matter if you're eating your food in a perfectly clean plate, because if then you answer the phone while eating, you're probably swallowing as many bacteria as if your dishes had been dirty. And the same goes for the TV remote, or the laptop, or your electronic book. We always wash our hands before eating, but we sometimes eat in front of the laptop without having cleaned the keyboard in the past four weeks, which makes the hand washing totally pointless. Change that habit to avoid getting in touch with thousands and thousands of germs and bacteria. How to clean them: a good way to clean it is using isopropyl alcohol applied with a Q-tip (you can see a more detailed explanation here).
- Door knobs and door handles. They're one of the surfaces more touched in the house during the day, with both clean and dirty hands. It must be common to think that the door handles that need to be cleaned more often are the bathroom ones, but in fact those are usually the cleanest ones of the home, since most of the time we wash our hands before leaving the bathroom and touching them. The chances of bacteria populating and reproducing in door handles increase when there's more people living under the same roof, not to mention when it's a big family living in the house with kids included. The same can be applied to light switches, which we always use but we don't always remember to clean. How to clean them: Mostly in depends on the material they're made but a good solution can be a mix of vinegar and lemon juice, and rub the surface with it until it looks clean and shinny.
- Bed pillows. If you've been sleeping with the same pillow for months and you've never washed it, you're sleeping with tons and tons of bacteria. The good news, through, are that these organisms that are usually found in bed pillows are harmless bacteria that live naturally on your skin, yet with time other not so harmless bacteria also gathers in the pillow, making it pretty unsanitary to sleep against it. If you bother washing your bed sheets often because you like to sleep in a clean bed, why don't you do the same with the pillow? How to clean them: Of course you can't wash the pillow stuffing, but most of the bed pillows come with a protective case. If you wash them (following the instructions of washing in the label) you'll create a barrier that will separate your skin from the stuffing material of the pillow, which is already a big step.
- Make up, including the bags and storage boxes where you keep it. Make up is a huge attraction to germs and bacteria, because it offers them the perfect conditions to freely reproduce and live, specially when it comes to the sponges or little brushes. That's how we can end up with pimples (bacteria trapped in the pores), or even with pinkeye, a bacterial infection caused by staphylococcus. How to clean them: The easiest solution for make up that you apply directly with your fingers is to wash your hands before using it.When it comes to sponges wash them with a solution of water and soft hand soap, and for brushes wipe them with a little bit of alcohol if you don't have time to wash them. And remember, never ever share your make up, that's a sure way to pass germs from one person to another.
- Dish sponges. Sometimes there's pans or kitchenware that we don't put in the dishwasher because they're too delicate, because our dishwasher is already working and we need them now, or because we prefer to wash them by hand. The problem is that we don't always remember to wash also the washing sponge, which means that we're rubbing the germs against the utensils that later we're going to use to cook. And sometimes we think it's enough to wash the sponge once per week, or change it for a new one every month, but that's far from being enough. The sponge needs to be washed every other day! How to clean them: Put the sponge directly in the dishwasher when you run it. Or put it for 45 seconds in the microwave to kill totally the germs with the heat (warning: make sure that your sponge is NOT metallic before putting it in the microwave!).
- The toothbrush. After using a toothbrush we usually make sure to rinse it well, and that's about it, mostly because we consider that the toothpaste that we used on it already killed the possible germs and water helped with it. The problem, through, is that water that reminds on the toothbrush after being used makes a very good environment for bacteria and germs to grow on it. Don't forget, also, that when the brush is not protected with a cap keeps gathering dust and bacteria during the day, and when it's protected with a cap if the cap is not perfectly clean and the brush perfectly dry we're risking it too. Do you want to wash your teeth with a solution of toothpaste and bacteria? No, right? Make sure to clean it often! How to clean them: Dip the brush into a cup containing mouthwash (like Listerine) once every week to make sure you're killing all the bacteria in it. Rubbing it with force under the water should always be done before and after using your toothbrush, and you should also shake it to dry it as much as possible after the use. Place it as far away from the toilet as possible to avoid small particles going to it when you flush the water (it sounds gross and scary, but believe me, it happens).
Are you cleaning all these surfaces already? There's other surfaces that you forget to clean often? Share your thoughts on the comments!