Spotlight On: Germs In Public Places
by Rachael O'Halloran
Published on August 21, 2014
You can't see germs, but ....
Always flush the toilet with the lid down.
Every time you flush the toilet, the spray from the flush water can shoot up as much as six (6) feet into the air around you.
If you use one of those over the rim toilet fresheners or any type of bleach product in the water to keep the bowl clean, you are breathing that in too.
Put the lid down and you have eliminated a good portion of the millions of germs you breathe in every day.
It should be written into everyone's marriage (or co-habitation) vows!
Your cellphone is ten times more germier than your toilet.
Get in the habit of disinfecting your phones (cell and land lines) by wiping them off a couple of times per week.
Use a Lysol (or any brand) handi-wipe, an antibacterial wipe, or a dampened paper towel with half water and half bleach to disinfect the phone.
Wipe off your remote controls several times per week.
Germs can live on surfaces for days.
If you have multiple people in your home handling the remote controls, it only takes one person to be sick with a cough, cold, sinus infection, etc. or if they don’t wash their hands when leaving the bathroom, to spread germs to anyone who handles the remotes.
Don’t think you are immune to germs because you are always in good health.
You are most likely immune to many of the familiar germs in your daily life, but each new store or building you enter to run an errand is a new environment. Your body doesn’t have time to build up immunity to the new germs you are being exposed to for the amount of time it takes to get done your errand.
Carry small bottles of antibacterial sanitizer or wipes with you (in car, purse, etc.) so you can cleanse your hands as you go from store to store, and whenever you leave a restaurant or a gas station. There are some good remedies in the Amazon ads in the sidebar of this article...as low as one cent.
Everyone should keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car anyway, especially if your family goes on long trips.
You should have access to the wipes before you touch a cart, not after
Have you noticed the containers of antibacterial wipes at the door of Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and other big name stores?
They are there for you to wipe off the shopping cart handles, basket and cart rims before using the cart, especially if you put your child or your purse in the top seat.
You don’t know who handled the cart before you or what germs they might be leaving behind because of the manner in which they used the cart.
Go out of your way to "locate" the wipes before you even touch a cart.
My Walmart had them so far behind the lined up carts, you couldn't get to them. One little chat with the store manager took care of that problem.
The pictures I found while researching this article were enough to make me want to start a petition to require stores to sanitize their carts daily.
I could do a whole article just on germy shopping carts, but instead I'll just leave you with a few pictures.
You can pick up a strain of e-coli from almost any place.
Yes, they even do that in shopping carts
How do you know where your cart has been?
To the public, these are not "Happy Feet"
Germ transfer - not just to the cart but how about to the shoes he might be trying on.
Just think, if this kid's mother brought him to the store to try shoes on him - with no socks and dirty feet - the transfer of germs from his feet to any shoe he tries on is too yucky to even think about.
It's bad enough he is sitting with filthy feet in the basket part of this cart (which he is obviously too big for in the first place), you can only imagine the germ transfer from his hands and clothes.
Who washes the cart after pets used them?
Animals in shopping carts
While "service dogs" are permitted in most stores, this may or may not be a service dog. But I'll bet you that this Bed Bath & Beyond cart will probably not undergo any type of cleaning between the time it is deposited back in the cart corral when this shopper is finished shopping and the time the next person comes into the store to use it.
Think about all the "service animals" who are brought into supermarkets, and stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, etc. And what about PetSmart where they are welcomed with open arms? Do you think those carts are cleaned before the next customer takes a cart from the cart corral?
Cheaper version of shopping cart handle cover
Shopping Cart Handle Cover
Would you let your baby put his mouth here?
Babies will be babies
Many babies put their mouths on the cart handle. Just think of the germs present on this cart handle and the possible e-coli that this baby could be getting in his mouth.
If you at least wipe the cart off, your child will pick up considerably less germs.
A lot of parents are opting for shopping cart covers like this one
Instead of buying expensive remedies, always ....
Always launder your underwear separately from your other clothes.
Your underwear can hold on to E-coli germs which gets on your hands when you transfer wet clothes to the dryer.
If you wash your underwear in a separate load in at least 175 degree hot water, and use bleach on your whites, you can significantly cut your exposure to E-coli.
"Up to" two minutes
Microwave your kitchen sponge every day.
Your kitchen sink has more germs than your bathroom, about 500,000 bacteria per square inch in just the kitchen sink and drain.
Your faucets, garbage disposal, sink basin and sponge are also full of bacteria. Bleach your sink every day with a spray bottle of 1 part bleach to 2 parts water. Sanitize your garbage disposal once a week with an over the counter garbage disposal cleanser.
Nuke your moistened sponge every day for up to two minutes or run it through your dishwasher to keep the sponge germ free.
Change your kitchen towel and washcloth every day so you aren’t transferring germs from one day to the next and from one surface to another with its use.
Never allow children to wipe their mouths, faces and hands on your kitchen towel or washcloth. Not only does your kitchen towel and washcloth have germs (like e-coli from wiping up raw meat and chicken juices, food debris and milk spills), your kids can also be carrying many germs with them that they have picked up during the course of their day.
By wiping mouths and hands on your towel or washcloth, they will depositing the germs back on them, as well as transferring them to the rest of your house. You will spread those germs around your kitchen with continued use of towel and washcloth.
Give children moistened paper towel to wipe their face and hands.
Sing Happy Birthday at normal pace. When you are done singing, you're clean!
When you are washing your hands, sing the song “Happy Birthday To You” slowly all the way through.
It should take you almost 30 seconds to get through the song. If you get done singing before 30 seconds, sing it again.
To adequately wash your hands, use warm water and an antibacterial soap to rub hands vigorously, causing friction to make a decent amount of suds. Rinse in warm water. Use paper towel to dry hands, then use the paper towel to turn off faucets.
How To Wash Your Hands
Public Fountains (mold)
Never use public water fountains. Carry your own bottled water.
Drinking fountains are germy with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch and that’s just on the spigot.
The button to turn it on is touched by people whose hands are dirtier than their mouths. Some people say a dog's mouth is pretty clean, but think about whether you'd want to drink from a water fountain right after the dog did.
Carrying a supply of bottled water for man and beast is best.
He thinks this is funny, but a mother wouldn't look at it that way
Always carry bottled water so you don't have to use public water fountains
Use a clean towel for each day.
Change your bath towels and washcloth every day, your bedsheets every week and clean your bathroom at least twice a week.
If you use a body wash sponge, toss the moistened sponge in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds every week. At the end of the month throw it out, then put out a clean one. If you do it on the last day of every month, you won’t forget to change the sponge.
By using a clean towel and wash cloth every day, you cut down the risk of staphylococcus bacteria, which causes skin and sinus infections. Don't put wet towels or washcloths in the hamper - it creates the perfect environment for germs.
Your bed sheets are a breeding ground for mites and bedbugs, so change them every week.
Put your bedspread or blanket out on the clothesline to air once a week or toss in the dryer on low heat with a fabric softener sheet for 10 minutes (make sure you use low heat setting, not air fluff which has no heat).
Always take a shower before getting into bed (especially a freshly changed bed) so you are not bringing the day’s germs to your sleeping environment.
To clean your sink, tub/shower, toilet and floor, use a disinfectant type cleaner and really make sure you pay special attention to the faucets and vanity surfaces (including mirrors, toothbrush holders and cup holders).
If you use plastic dixie cups to rinse after brushing your teeth, it is easy to think it's a waste of money to throw them away after one use. Many people use them a full week before tossing them in trash. Try not to go more than two days of use, then discard.
Most people forget to wash the bathroom floor when they clean the bathroom and there are just as many germs on the floor as there are in the toilet. Use half bleach and half hot water, rinse in warm water so the floor is not sticky when you walk on it with rubber soles or bare feet.
Use a bath mat whenever you step out of the shower or bathtub and always put out a clean one mid-week.
If you use one of those antibacterial bathmats, wash it in warm soapy water once a month. Rinse twice - once in warm water, then rinse in cold water which cuts down the suds and gets the rest of the soap out. You can also run it through the rinse cycle of your washer, then toss it in the dryer for 10 minutes. Allow mat to air dry in the sun until completely dry.
Cost: one penny
Shower curtain liner
Clean your shower curtain liner (or shower doors) weekly
First put on a paper mouth mask - the kind that covers your nose and mouth, and has elastic that hooks over your ears. Use your shower sprayer and wet your shower door or curtain down with warm water only.
Stand in the tub (or shower) and spray the inside of your shower curtain with Windex. Totally saturate it. Step out. Now, let it stand for two full minutes.
Then take your shower sprayer and rinse with hot water for at least two minutes, making sure you rinse well between the folds. This will clean your shower curtain or door and also the floor of your shower.
Wash your shower curtain every six months and always change the liner at the same time. I change mine on 4th of July weekend and New Years Eve weekend, so I remember to do it.
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© Rachael O'Halloran August 21, 2014
© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran