The pandemic has made the whole world pay close attention to cleanliness and sanitation. Now, maintaining a clean house and environment is the only thing that stands between us and a lethal virus. With that being said, we will go through some parts of your home which, when left unchecked, may cause serious medical risks to you and your loved ones.
Door Handles or Knobs
Door handles are the first thing the members of our family touch when coming into your house. They are considered one of the top five dirtiest things in your home and can be a breeding ground for at least five types of virus and bacteria, including COVID-19, E. coli, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.
Common symptoms you’ll get from exposure to E. coli are bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Sicknesses that can be acquired from MRSA range from skin infections to lung infections, such as pneumonia. When left untreated, MRSA can lead to blood infection, also known as sepsis.
Touching doorknobs is one of the fastest ways to spread viruses and bacteria. In fact, even after wiping it down with a cloth, 20% of door handles are still found to carry bacteria. The material of the knob also plays an important role. For example, stainless steel is considered one of the materials that allow bacteria to thrive. For a deeper clean, experts say that it’s best to wipe our doorknobs every single day with alcohol that is at least 70%.
The sink and countertops are two of the dirtiest places in your house because these are where you place grocery bags, prepare raw food, and clean dirty dishes.
Did you know that the seemingly innocent sponge that you use to wipe down excess water and dirt in your countertops and sink contains an average of 362 different bacteria? Yes, three hundred and sixty-two. Two of them are salmonella and E. coli, which cause vomiting, diarrhea, and food poisoning.
Another kitchen gadget you have to pay close attention to is the chopping board. This daily cooking necessity is home to 200 types of fecal bacteria that can only be found in raw meat. Although you wash them after using, proper disinfection is the only way to get rid of salmonella and campylobacter.
Around 40% of food poisoning occurs at home and as a parent, this is the last thing that you would want for your kids. You can easily replace sponges. But when it comes to chopping boards, try mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid unscented bleach to one gallon of water. Pour it on the chopping board and let it sit for a few minutes then finish off by giving it a thorough rinse under running water.
A recent microbiology study showed that 26% of bathtubs contain staphylococcus, which is a type of bacteria commonly found in damp and wet areas. It can cause several symptoms, such as high fever, nausea, vomiting, rashes on the hands and feet, red eyes, and muscle aches.
Since we soak and scrub ourselves while in the tub, there are also large quantities of dead skin cells found in it. E. coli, fecal bacteria, salmonella, and norovirus are also the other types of bacteria that lurk in your tub.
To properly clean the bathtub, you can mix equal parts of bleach to equal parts of water. Splash it on the ceramic and let it sit for a few minutes. You can also use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to remove the dark grime on the grout. Just be sure to wear cleaning gloves and a face mask when handling these mixtures to prevent any accidents.
Washer and Dryer
The residue, chemicals, and minerals that come from detergents create a thin film inside your washer and dryer that traps bacteria. Aside from clogging the mechanism on the inside, these nasty microbes also transfer to your clothes even after their washed and dried. If your unit is sitting in a humid and hot area like the basement, they will become magnets to bacteria, such as E. coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, and salmonella. All three can cause sicknesses, such as skin infections, vomiting, and diarrhea, compromised immune system, and pneumonia.
So you may be thinking, how often should I clean my washer and dryer? Generally speaking, the outside and inside of these units should be cleaned at least once a month. If you are not comfortable using store-bought cleaning chemicals, you can try mixing your own cleaning agent. The most effective mixture is white vinegar and baking soda. The acid in the vinegar will eat up all the dirt and deodorize the washer at the same time.
You also need to pay attention to the dryer. Aside from health concerns, dirty driers often cause fires that can be fatal and cause damage to property. To clean the unit, you must unplug it first from the power source and perform a routine dryer vent cleaning. You also need to clean the lint trap screen by washing it with running water.
There are still many items and places in your home that need your attention. However, these three are some of the dirtiest on the list. Now that our health is more important than ever, you can begin keeping yourself and your family safe by focusing on these items in your home. Do the basics, then work your way on other items as your cleaning journey progresses.