We all know the importance of keeping certain areas of the house sanitary, like the kitchen and bathroom, but there are a lot of items that we use every day that are also harboring large amounts of germs and bacteria. Because we can’t actually see germs, it’s easy to forget that they are everywhere and can live on specific surfaces for a very long time.
Any item that we use and touch on the daily is susceptible to bacteria, which is why it’s important to be mindful and clean these items off as much as we can, particularly accessories and items that we wear like gold chains, electronics, and even our reusable water bottles. Here are some common items that you definitely should be disinfecting on the reg.
Many of us clean our jewelry regularly to prevent it from tarnishing and keep it in good condition, but disinfecting these items is important too. Simply cleaning your gold chains and other accessories with jewelry cleaner will keep them looking nice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the bacteria living on the surface has been eliminated.
The reason our jewelry is so susceptible to trapping germs is because we wear it on us everywhere we go, which means it can easily be exposed to dirt, dust, grease, and other grime. Some bacteria can live for a very long time on metal surfaces, so jewelry is an ideal place for them to stay. To disinfect your jewelry, warm water and antibacterial soap should do the trick (be sure to use a soft brush to scrub), but you can also use stronger chemicals like ammonia mixed with water to ensure that your items are bacteria-free.
This is a super important one. Most of us interact with our electronic devices all day long, whether we’re using our phones or working on our laptops, which means these items are literal breeding grounds for germs.
Think about it. Your hands are touching things and people all the time throughout the day, so any germ that has made its way onto your hands will be transferred to your devices. The next time you use them, these germs can spread back on to your hands, creating a vicious cycle of germ-spreading.
Using a disinfectant spray that is safe for electronics is the best way to keep them clean. Power down your devices and give them a good wipe—and don’t forget to wash your hands before using your squeaky-clean computer again. Ideally, you should be doing this every day, but every few days is okay too.
Reusable Water Bottles
Many people have turned to reusable water bottles over disposable plastic ones in an effort to reduce plastic pollution and cut down on our carbon footprint, which is great. Reusable water bottles have a lot of perks. They often can keep water and other liquids cold for hours, and they help us remember to drink water if we carry them with us throughout the day, but they are another place that germs will live.
Reusable bottles are often made of metal, like jewelry, meaning bacteria can live here for a while. Plus, we’re always touching these items, just like we do our electronics, and filling them with liquids or even fresh fruit, which can also harbor bacteria if left in the bottle too long. Disinfect the outside of your bottle with a wipe, and then be sure that you’re washing the inside very well with detergent and a scrub brush often to avoid letting those bacteria build up.
Exercise equipment, in general, is a great place for germs, which is why gyms always have disinfectant wipes out to encourage people to wipe down their machines before and after use to avoid contracting or spreading germs. However, if you work out at home a lot and you use things like weights, exercise bands, or even yoga mats, it’s likely that germs are sticking to these items too. You should use a disinfectant wipe after every use, much like at the regular gym, and maybe even beforehand in case any germs came in contact with these items during storage.
Bathroom and Kitchen Towels
Towels are meant to be reusable. They can reduce the amount of paper towels that we use, and they’re super absorbant. Plus, we need towels to dry off after a bath or shower. But, you might be surprised to learn how many bacteria can live on this type of fabric. Bacteria love to grow in wet or moist environments, which is why they love towels so much.
You may think that your hands are completely disinfected after a good hand washing sesh, but if you use a towel with bacteria on it, you’ve already come in contact with germs again. This doesn’t mean you should stop using towels altogether, but you should pay attention to how often you’re washing your towels. Try to wash towels every few days in hot water with laundry detergent to rid these fabrics of bacteria. You can also keep a little tray or basket with small hand towels in the bathroom to encourage guests to use a different towel when they wash their hands.
Children’s Toys and Books
Toys and books can become covered in germs because kids are usually playing with these items all the time. And, many children don’t have the same hygiene habits as an adult, so they are not washing their hands thoroughly or as often, meaning they’re constantly contracting and spreading germs on to the things they touch.
Children are more susceptible to becoming sick because their immune systems are weaker, and they often like to put their toys in their mouth—obviously a good way to catch bacteria. Wipe down your children’s toys at night, once they’ve gone to sleep, to prevent them from touching or accidentally ingesting the disinfectant and keeping the toys clean for the next day.
Make Sanitization a Part of Your Routine
Practicing good hygiene is useful to everyone. It keeps you healthy and reduces the chance that you’ll spread germs to someone else, causing them to get sick. Create a routine for yourself to remind you when and which items to disinfect regularly. Accessories like gold chains, reusable water bottles, and electronics are some of the most germ-ridden items, so do your part and keep your accessories bacteria-free with these helpful tips.