10 Hygiene Facts and Tips You've Probably Never Heard Of

by - 8:00 AM

People who know me really well know that I am a total germophobe. When my friends on my dance team would offer to share water bottles, I would hard pass. Someone wants me to try their food? Off the fork they have already put their mouth on? No thanks. If I'm using a public restroom, I flush with my foot. I use a barrier between my hand and the gas pump, like a glove or plastic bag. I ALWAYS have hand sanitizer on me. I wash my hands religiously. I could type like seven paragraphs about all of my weird germophobe tendencies. But I'll spare you.

This whole pandemic has just baffled me in more ways than one, but a major one being people's sudden determination to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS NOW. So... you mean to tell me that you haven't been cleaning your kitchen sinks regularly this whole time? You don't wipe down your buggy (yes, I say buggy, not "shopping cart") with sanitzing wipes each time you shop? YOU DON'T WASH YOUR HANDS EVERY TIME YOU USE THE BATHROOM, OR BEFORE YOU COOK?? I mean WHO ARE YOU?? Ick. Ick ick ick. Yuck, yucky gross. I hope everyone learns better health habits during this time and implements them into their regular, daily lives, even when this is over. Including staying home even when they think they could be ill. Holy guacamole this is just unreal.

ANYWAY. I'll save the ranting for another post because I'm sure that's not what you came here for.

I wanted to share a few things that I just recently discovered myself, along with some facts I live my life by. You may want to sit down if you aren't already because some of these are bound to shock you.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

  1. You should always flush the toilet with the seat down!! This one is HUGE. Those lids weren't just made for sitting on while you clip your toenails. It acts as a protective barrier between you, everything else in your bathroom, and whatever you just dropped off at the "super bowl". When you flush the toilet, particles from the bowl can shoot up to SIX FEET in the air. Uh, GROSS. Bacteria from that lovely toilet mist can latch on to your clothes, your counter, YOUR TOOTHBRUSH... just do yourself and everyone else a favor and flush with the lid down. You're welcome.
  2. Switch to rags instead of sponges. I did this last year for multiple reasons. One being my transition into a zero-waste lifestyle (more on this later--so excited to talk about it), but probably the biggest reason is this: your kitchen sponge can contain thousands of bacteria per square inch including E. coli and Salmonella. Sick. Ditch your porous, squishy breeding ground for bacteria now, sis. You can get a fat pack of cheap rags at Walmart for just a buck or two. I keep two large stacks in my kitchen drawer for cleaning up messes, and for dishes. I use one a day, then toss it in the laundry basket. The next day, I get to start with a fresh, clean rag.
  3. Trash your loofah. Similar to the sponge story, your loofah is also the home of cesspool of bacteria. Especially since it likely never dries completely between showers, because you keep it in your shower, which is neither cool nor well ventilated. Switch to washcloths and use a new one each time.
  4. Don't make your bed when you first wake up. You've probably heard before that you sweat when you sleep, or maybe you just experience that firsthand and no one had to tell you. Well, when you make your bed right after getting out of it, you trap in all of that moisture and invite those germs to multiply like bunnies. It also traps dust mites that cause all sorts of problems that I won't go into, so if you're interested, you can read out that here. I just tear off all of my sheets in the morning and let them air out while I go about my morning routine and make my bed before I leave or start work. It may seem like a lot more work but it gives me peace of mind knowing that my bed is cleaner than it would have been otherwise.
  5. Always shower before and after getting into a pool. Especially a public one. Within 15 minutes of entering a pool, a swimmer contributes about .14 grams of fecal matter.
  6. Don't wear shoes inside your home. Or anyone else's home. And don't wear your house slippers outside. All day long, you step in bird poo, dirt, trash--a lot of times without knowing it. And how often do you wash your shoes? That's what I thought. When you wear your shoes inside, naturally, you bring all of that filth with you and place it in your carpets and tile. Then you play games or watch TV on the floor, or fold your laundry there. Or worse, you let your baby play on the ground. Leave your germs at the door.
  7. Sanitize your phone regularly. Your phone goes everywhere you go. You touch dirty shopping carts, door handles, light switches, gas pumps and everything in between. Then you come home and make dinner using a recipe you found on Pinterest and you have to refer to your phone numerous times throughout your cooking time. So all of that bacteria from the cart handle, the items on the shelves, the gas pump, are all about to travel through your body. Yummy! It is estimated that your phone holds more than 10 times as much bacteria than your toilet. So clean it often.
  8. Avoid ice as much as possible. Bacteria and viruses such as E-coli and salmonella can live in freezing temperatures... like on or in your ice cubes. Say no to ice and if you must have it in your drinks at home, make your own using purified water and ice trays that have lids.
  9. Wash your water bottle. If you're a person like me that takes their reusable water bottle everywhere (and uses it often), you should really make sure you're washing it at least every day. You may think "oh, its just water, it can't be that dirty", but using the same concept we've discussed about phones, shoes, etc., you touch things, then the germs from those things touch your water bottle. Which you ingest. And then if you share your water bottle, you're getting even more bacteria from whatever that person has come into contact with. According to this article, your water bottle is likely more dirty than a dog bowl. And dogs eat poop, so...
  10. Clean your belly button! This may sound silly or obvious, but most people don't specifically clean their belly button, and assume that it will get cleaned as they wash the rest of their body. Your belly button is small, dark, and warm, so it's a welcoming breeding ground for bacteria. If not cleaned properly, it can cause body odor, infections, and what's known as a "navel stone" Google it if you're brave. I ain't putting it here on my pretty blog. 

Well if you made it this far, you must have a fairly high "disgusting" tolerance. Have you heard of these things before? Do any of them surprise you? Tell me your thoughts! 

Stay healthy, happy and clean, my friends!

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