While we are now more conscious about washing and sanitising our hands to avoid contracting any communicable diseases, what many of us don’t realise is that some everyday things are filled with germs & bacteria — even more so than a toilet seat.
Here are some surprising things that could make you sick, and more importantly, how to clean them:
1) MOBILE PHONES
Mobile phones are a germ magnet, especially considering how often we use them now. As our fingers and thumbs are scrolling & typing away, the germs & bacteria gets transferred from our hands onto our phones & accumulates there.
How to clean: simply wipe down thoroughly with an alcohol wipe every few days.
2) COMPUTER KEYBOARD
This statistic might surprise you — your computer keyboard could contain FIVE times more germs than your toilet seat. Those minute & inaccessible spaces are often overlooked, but they collect & retain a ton of dirt & bacteria.
How to clean: Turn your keyboard upside down & shake it to remove loose debris. Then, use a vacuum cleaner suck up the smaller dirt particles. Lastly, use cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol to sanitise the gaps in the keyboard.
3) REMOTE CONTROLS
Similarly to mobile phones, your remote controls are germ magnets too. They’ve been through a lot — they collect dust while idling on your couch, get sat on, and get touched by unwashed hands.
How to clean: While doing your regular cleaning routine at home, don’t neglect them. Simply wipe them down with an alcohol wipe to sanitise them.
When we put our bags on the floors and seats of offices, schools, restaurants, public transport, etc — the bacteria, dirt and germs accumulated from everything else that have touched them gets passed on to them.
In fact, an average handbag contains 3 times more dirt than an office toilet seat.
How to clean: For cloth bags, wash them thoroughly at least once a month. For plastic and leather bags, use alcohol swaps or disinfectant wipes once every 2 weeks.
Be it faucet handles, door handles or handles in public transportation, they all contain the bacteria of countless people who touched them before you did — some of whom did not wash their hands. Bacteria such as e.coli can spread to you when you touch this handles.
How to clean: For handles in your own home or office, wipe them down regularly with disinfectant wipes. If you touch a handle in public places, do not touch your face until you’ve washed your hands thoroughly with soap.
6) RESTAURANT MENUS
This might come as a surprise to some, but restaurant menus are shockingly laden with germs & bacteria. They get touched by the hands of many customers, left in an environment where food is stored & cooked, and do not get wiped down unlike tables and chairs.
How to clean: Cleaning restaurant menus might be out of your jurisdiction, but you can minimise hand contact with the menu, and sanitise your hands before eating with a hand sanitiser.
7) KITCHEN SPONGE
Even though they are doused with dish detergents often, the pores of a kitchen sponge contains bacteria such as salmonella & e.coli, both of which could give you a bad stomach upset.
How to clean: Soak in a bucket of disinfectant & boiling water every week. Or, it’s easier to just replace your sponge every other week.
8) PETROL PUMPS
While it’s widely known that public surfaces such as elevator lift buttons & ATM keypads are breeding grounds for germs & bacteria, not many know that petrol pumps are hotbeds too.
They’re touched by many car drivers who reach out straight to the pumps after their hands have been on their steering wheels — which isn’t exactly very sanitary in the first place.
How to clean: Similarly to restaurant menus, cleaning the pumps might be out of your control. Keep a hand sanitiser in your car & apply them after you’ve filled up your tank. If you run out, you can always buy it at the petrol kiosk.
Carpets collect the dead skin cells which we shed, which bacteria such as e.coli & salmonella feed off. Apart from that, they contain many other nasty things such as dirt, food particles, liquids, etc, making it the ultimate hotbed for bacteria and germs.
How to clean: Vacuum your carpets once a week. If you have a steam mop, use it to wash the carpet & kill any bacteria living deep in its fibres. If not, hire a professional carpet cleaner to deep clean it at least once a year.