- Publish Date
- Monday, 9 October 2017, 12:00PM
Are you constantly getting sick? Well, it turns out these common daily habits could be to blame.
According to microbiologist Professor Sally Bloomfield of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, "People think the toilet bowl and the floor are the dirtiest places around the house."
But there are far more filthy surfaces we should be wary of, she told the Sun. "Instead, think about the places that harbour germs that we regularly come into contact with before we handle food or touch our mouth, eyes, nose and face."
"The main thing is to practise regular hand washing and to keep critical surfaces, such as door handles and mobile phones, as clean as possible," says Sally.
Here are the five dirtiest culprits you need to keep an eye out for.
USING YOUR PHONE WHILE ON THE TOILET
It's an easy habit to get into but using your cell phone when you're on the toilet is actually a very dangerous mistake to make.
"Toilet seats, handles, sinks and taps are covered in germs such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections and intestinal illness, C. diff (Clostridium difficile) which can result in diarrhoea, and acinetobacter which can cause a contagious respiratory infection, " says Dr Paul Matewele from London Metropolitan University.
In order to stop germs from spreading, wash your hands and wipe your phone with an antibacterial wipe regularly.
NOT CLEARING OUT YOUR HANDBAG
Because handbags and wallets come into constant contact with your hands, they're also riddled with germs which could include norovirus, MRSA and E. coli.
"Bags come into regular contact with our hands, money and credit cards (which are notoriously germ-laden), plus people keep food in their bags, which leaves microscopic nutrients that bacteria can feed off, " says Dr Matewele.
Keep germs to a minimum by placing your handbag on a hook when using the bathroom and avoid placing your bag on surfaces you eat from.
Vacuuming inside your bag and wiping down the exterior with an antibacterial cloth will help keep it sanitary.
NOT CLEANING YOUR TV REMOTE
The TV remote ends up all over the house, so keeping it clean should be common sense.
According to Dr Matewele, because of the frequency which they are handled, remote controls can be riddled with germs including E. coli.
In order to avoid getting sick, regular hand washing and ensuring you wipe your remote down when cleaning the house should help hugely.
WEARING YOUR SHOES INSIDE
If you leave your shoes on in your house, you could be inviting all sorts of unwanted bacteria into your home for kids to crawl through.
A University of Houston study found 39.7 per cent of shoes were carrying C. diff which can cause diarrhoea. "When people accidentally ingest C. diff they can get very sick," Dr Matewele explained.
Take your shoes off at the door and pack them in cloth bags when travelling.
NOT WASHING SPONGES PROPERLY
Sponges are supposed to help keep your house clean, but they can actually be a seriously germy culprit.
"Sponges are the ideal breeding grounds for microbes because we supply them with a nourishing, warm, moist environment, along with nutritive material from food waste," explains Dr Matewele.
"I regularly swab kitchen sponges and find that they are carrying salmonella, campylobacter, staphylococcus, E. coli and listeria, all of which can cause mild to severe gut and skin infections."
Replacing sponges every month, or washing at a high temperature in the dishwasher should keep bacterial growth at bay.
This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.