April 28th, 2017 11:29 AM by Dan Howard
This is a post that I am scratching my head about writing. The question is whether I should risk grossing you out.
On the one hand: “fore warned is for armed.” On the other hand: “ignorance is bliss.” If you read down the list, you will get grossed out as you hit some of the places that there are nasty contaminations, like the ones in your bathtub.
The short story, anything that people touch can have germs that may make you sick on it. Anything that people can cough or sneeze onto has germs that can make you ill. Anytime you flush, spray or splash, you can spread germs onto things that you trust are clean.
By the way, not only are all germs are bad, the presence of the ones that are not bad resists the growth of ones that are bad. Think about the good germs as being a rich, full grass lawn. Weeds have a more difficult time growing in a healthy lawn than one that isn’t full and healthy. It’s the same for germs. There are actually proven studies that adding good germs (Probiotics) to surfaces helps resist the growth of harmful germs, bacteria and viruses.
Dirty Places in the Home
Railings: People need railings, particularly the ones that are most susceptible to getting sick from germ exposure. We grab them when we are sick, but very few people ever clean them. Even when we are not sick, we deposit oil and debris from our skin onto the railings which are rich nutrients for when someone who has germs on their hands touched the railing.
Kitchen Sink: Imagine you drop a piece of fruit into the kitchen sink. Most people would pick it up and eat it without washing it first. Remember draining the “juice” from the raw chicken or beef into the sink last night? How about the food from rinsing your plates before popping them into the dishwasher? The food which can grow bad germs can sit out all night and grow Salmonella or E. coli. Wet dish clothes and sponges are even better places from germs to grow than sink surfaces. Many people use these for days of not weeks at a time without disinfection.
Very often, people do a better job of disinfecting their toilet than they do their kitchen sink. The solution is to sanitize your sink with bleach or other disinfection product. To answer the obvious question, yes, toilet bowl cleaner would do the job. Just make sure you rinse out the residue of the cleaner.
Tooth Brushes: Every time you flush the toilet, small particles of moisture go into the bathroom air. They settle on things that are exposed in the bathroom, including your toothbrush. You also have the contamination of the germs in your mouth growing on your toothbrush which can make you ill when your immune system is lowered. Keep tooth brushes away from aerosolized germs and replace toothbrushes often.
Touch Points: So, when was the last time that you cleaned your light switches? It’s a pretty good bet that someone has had a cold or other contamination and turned on the lights since that time. This is one of the many touch points in your home. The handle on the refrigerator, the salt and pepper shakers, the door knobs, the part of chair that you grab to pull out the chair are all touch points. Let’s add a few more like your computer keyboard, remote control, phone, faucets, handle to flush the commode. It would be an impossible battle to keep up with disinfecting all of the touch points. What you can do is wash your hands OFTEN!
Bathtub: Thank you WEBMD for pointing this one out. I had ever thought about the fact wiping with paper does not remove every last bit of fecal matter from the skin. They tell us that: “The place where you clean yourself is not so clean itself. A recent study found staphylococcus bacteria in 26% of the tubs tested. A separate study had even worse findings for whirlpool tubs. When Texas A&M University microbiologist Rita Moyes, PhD tested 43 water samples from whirlpools, she found that all 43 had mild to dangerous bacterial growth. Almost all showed bacteria from fecal matter; 81% had fungi, and 34% contained staph bacteria.”
Fixtures that Spray Water: This includes your sink spigots, hand sprayers, garden hoses and bathroom tub spouts and showers. The screens and other surfaces of these items accumulate a biofilm that can grow bacteria and other contaminants. The fixtures always spray a fine mist into the air around the fixture We constantly breath those fine mists that we can’t see in and can have the contagions settle and grow in our lungs. We also battle the contaminations that live in the water system. As an example, Legionella can live in hot water tanks set below 140 degrees F.
The bottom line is that we need to be aware of the places germs and other contaminants can live. We need to clean and disinfect these areas, particularly whenever we are avoiding germs from another household member who is ill. In the end, our best defense is to regularly wash our hands.