Think about all the dirty dishes that have lounged around in your kitchen sink before being put away into the dishwasher. Now think about that moist sponge that sits in or above your sink that you’ve used over and over to scrub the counter after cooking. Well, food particles from dirty dishes left to soak before being rinsed and put away into the dishwasher can certainly serve as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria which can include E. coli and salmonella. Bacteria-caused food poisoning illnesses can range from mild and can include stomach cramps and diarrhea to very serious infections that can even be fatal for people who are at a higher risk (i.e. children). Without extra precaution, the scary bacteria can be easily spread to your hands and into your family’s food.
Solution: Sanitize your sink and faucet every day with a bleach and hot water solution, allowing the solution to run down the drain to disinfect the disposal too. Use disposable, disinfectant wipes to clean your counters and make sure you wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap while cooking (especially with raw meats) and after cleaning.
Whether it’s a shared computer or just your personal laptop, your keyboard could be a host to all kinds of germs including E. coli and even staph! “Four of 33 sampled keyboards had enough germs to be considered health hazards. One had levels of germs five times higher than that found on a toilet seat.”
Solution: Try to wash your hands before AND after using the computer. Be careful not to drop food crumbs onto the keyboard if you eat while sending out that evening email. As for cleaning the keyboard, gently shake out the crumbs or vacuum it. Use a clean cloth or tissue with alcohol to disinfect the keys and mouse.
Door Knobs, Handles, and Light Switches
You would think this one is pretty obvious but how often do we do a thorough walk through our entire home, wiping and disinfecting all of these?
Solution: Use disinfectant wipes for all of these once a week, but make sure you use a fresh one after just a few of these objects so that you don’t end up spreading the germs instead of removing them. Here is a list of knobs and handles for disinfecting: Front door knobs, all other in-door knobs including bathroom, bedroom, and closet door knobs, all light switches, kitchen cabinet knobs and refrigerator and microwave door handles, kitchen and bathroom faucet handles, toilet handles, and washer, dryer, and stove-top knobs.
Yes, the items listed above may be great breeding grounds for bacteria on their own but you are the one who leaves and returns to your home several times a day after having interacted with germs from the office, day care, grocery store, and anywhere else.
Solution: Wash your hands properly! We’ve said this before but we will say it again because it is just so important in keeping you and everyone around you healthy, lowering your chances of getting sick, and reducing the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illnesses. “Experts advise that friction (especially between the fingers) and duration [of hand washing] are both important (CDC, 2013). Wash for 20 to 30 seconds, or the amount of time it takes to sing “The Alphabet Song” or a couple of rounds of “Row Your Boat.”