Your home is a potential hotbed of bacterial. Show often should you clean, and what's the best way?
Home is where the heart is, but everyday life means it's also a haven for germs. And it's not just your toilet that poses a threat when it comes to bacteria - you towels, taps and sink may need attention too. These pesky bugs can be the cause of everything from stomach upsets and colds to fever and athlete's foot. It's time to discover how to clean to stay healthy. Here's what to do.
Every Day or Two
Benchtops and chopping boards: Use different chopping boards for meat and chicken so bacteria don't contaminate other food. After each use, wipe chopping boards with an anti-bacterial product that's safe for use in food preparation areas. Benchtops can be cleaned with mix of bleach and water everyday.
Mobile phone: We touch our mobile phone about 150 times a day so it's easy to see how it can carry bacteria from our fingertips - the type that can cause sore throats and infections. Giving your mobile a quick clean with an anti-bacterial wipe everyday or two will reduce germs.
Tea towels and kitchen cloths: A US study found 89 per cent of kitchen cloths contain bacteria that can cause health problems like diarrhoea. But using each dishcloth for one purpose only around the kitchen will reduce bacteria. Soak cloths and tea towels in bleach overnight, and try to change your tea towels daily.
Every One to Two Weeks
Toilet: Hand hygiene in the bathroom can be haphazard, according to Professor Lindsay Grayson, director of Hand Hygiene Australia. "Even when you pass urine you handle the toilet seat." Reduce bacteria by wiping the toilet clean every couple of days - squirt toilet cleaner under the rim and scrub with toilet brush. If you can't clean it that often, aim to clean you bathroom weekly.
Fridge: Your fridge needs to be at 5°C to keep bacteria at bay, and it need a quick weekly wipe-down to clear food scraps and drips. "Look in the crispers and vegetable drawer and clean them, too. Bugs such as listeria that are found in milk and cheese products can spread", says Professor Grayson. Use disinfectant and a damp cloth and rinse out the cloth frequently as you clean - and don't forget the fridge handle.
Bathroom towels: Bacteria love moist conditions so a damp bathroom towel can harbour the type of bacteria that causes the type of bacteria that causes diarrhoea and athlete's foot. A musty smell is a telltale sing that your towel is less than fresh. So don't share towels and hang towels to dry after every use. Change your towels at least every week and wash them at 90°C to kill any bacteria.
Floors: Kitchen and bathroom floors need a thorough weekly clean - if you have a textured tiled floor, use a rag or string mop, for a smooth floor, use a sponge mop. Sweep or vacuum first and pre-wash sticky spots. Use hot water and floors cleaner - mop in straight lines with sponge mop and in figure eight with a rag mop.
Pet bowls: "Pets can spread bacteria through faeces and saliva", says Professor Hartland. "If you have a cat, keep the litter tray clean and wash your hands after you pat your dog."
A US study named pet bowls as the fourth dirties item in the home. Once a week, soak your pets' bowls in one cap of bleach to 3.5L of water.
Toothbrush holder: These collect germs from splashes from the sink, shower and toilet. So wash your toothbrush holder once a week with hot, soapy water, and wipe it with it with an antibacterial wipe once or twice a week.
Every Two to Six Months
Mattress: Over time your mattress collects skin cells, sweat and bacteria - some of which can survive for up to six weeks. Vacuum or steam and air-dry the mattress every six months, paying attention to seams and crevices where dirt, dust and dead skin tend to collect. You can reduce the amount of bacteria by using a well-fitted mattress protector.
Pillows: Up to a third of the weight of a pillow can be skin and dustmites. Washing your pillows every few months in hot water and mild detergent will keep them clean. Put a couple of tenis balls in the washing machine to keep pillows fluffy, and dry them thoroughly to avoid mould growth. Foam pillows can be vacuumed.
By: Sarah Marinos
As Featured in Good Health Magazine - October 2017 edition