More Useful Stuff
You SMS in the Bathroom
Flushing creates an aerosol of microbes, like norovirus and E. coli, that can land on your phone, says Dr Michael Schmidt, vice-chairman of microbiology at the Medical University of South Carolina. Later you’ll hold that phone to your face. Gross.
Pocket your device before flushing the toilet and wipe it daily with a micro fibre cloth. The cloth’s static charge can pull bacteria away, says Schmidt.
You Never Clean Your Coffeemaker
That warm, damp reservoir is a bacteria trap. A study by public health organisation NSF International found both yeast and mould were common and 9% of coffeemakers turned up coliform, a group of faecal bacteria that includes E. coli.
Every month or two, fill the reservoir with white vinegar, wait 30 minutes and run a normal brew cycle. Run a few pots of water until the vinegar smell dissipates.
You Don’t Disassemble the Blender
If you don’t unscrew the blade housing, you haven’t cleaned it – and may be mixing microbes into your smoothie. NSF International found blenders to be among the germiest items in the kitchen.
Easy – unplug and unscrew the base. Then wash and dry each part before reassembling. Or use an immersion blender – these are generally easier to clean.
You Prop Your Feet on the Coffee Table
Germs on your shoes can transfer to your table. “This is trouble when you touch the table and then touch food,” says Schmidt. One small study found faecal bacteria on 70% of bachelors’ coffee tables.
Use the table for food or feet – not both. Wipe it down weekly with a nontoxic cleaner or cleaning wipes. And maybe leave your shoes at the door.
You’re Lazy with Your Lens Care
Sleeping in contacts, reusing solution – improper care can put you at risk of infection. And don’t forget your lens case. Scientists in Turkey found 94% of cases were contaminated with at least one microorganism.
Use a case with a smooth interior. To clean it, fill with lens solution, rub for 10 seconds and drain. Wipe with a tissue and air-dry facedown. Replace seasonally.