Have you ever read one of those articles describing all the gross stuff found on hotel beds? It’s enough to make you never travel again. But what about your own bed? The good news is that no one has died from a dirty hotel bed (that we know of…) and avoiding all germs actually makes us less resilient to future infections.
Sometimes, though, it’s best not to tempt fate. Children, the elderly and the allergy prone can all benefit from a little more cleanliness. So here’s our list of battles to pick in the war against germs.
Perspiration, body oils, particles and fluids, dirt and whatever else got stuck to your hair or skin ends up deposited on your sheets every night. A little “dirt” never hurt anyone, right? Maybe dirt can’t hurt but fungus and bacteria can. So can mites and other insects that like to eat that stuff and leave their own insect droppings behind to irritate your skin and respiratory tract.
If that’s not bad enough, if left in place long enough this “stuff” travels through the fabric to your mattress and pillow turning them into hotbeds of who knows what. Impervious pillow and matters covers can help stop that, but your sheets are still full of squalor.
The way out of this disgusting mess? A weekly sheet change and a hot water wash for those dirty linens. Mattress pads, pillow covers and the like need regular laundering, too. Cotton or vinyl backed covers and pads should be washed every 2-3 months (follow label directions). Foam pads can be vacuumed weekly and spot cleaned as needed. Or, spray with a solution of liquid detergent, white vinegar and water then hose them down to rinse. If that’s too much trouble, get a cover for foam pads and wash that regularly instead.
And while your linens are in the wash, sprinkle some baking soda on your mattress then vacuum it off. Or, spray it with an anti-bacterial and let dry before putting on pads and linens.
There are two kinds of people in life. Those who want everyone to take their shoes off when entering their house and those who don’t. Rude to make people take off their shoes you say? Actually, they’ve been right all along. Studies of people’s shoes revealed a huge amount of grossness on the soles. Bacteria, dirt, insect and animal “parts” – it’s even worse than a toilet seat. And while you can wipe down toilet seats, door knobs, phones and other hot spots fairly effectively, getting those shoe deposits off of wood, tile, grout, linoleum and carpet isn’t so easy.
Experiencing a little panic as you think about the kids playing or crawling on the floor – with you there with them? Get the steam cleaner, mop and vacuum out, give those floors a thorough cleaning then put a mat by the door for everyone to leave their shoes.
If you’re concerned about the shoe stuff, if you’ve got pets you’re probably freaking out. What are those friends of man doing to the household ecosystem!? When it comes to pets, cleanliness and maintenance are your best defenses. Keeping a handle on pet hair with regular brushing, bathing, dusting and vacuuming keeps whatever is on those hairs from getting out of hand. And keeping up with shots and flea treatments means you don’t have to worry about pet diseases or bugs spreading to the humans in the house.
For pets that do their business inside, daily maintenance is a must and so is regular container cleaning with hot, soapy water. Just don’t do the cleaning in your kitchen skin or bathroom if you can avoid it. If not, wipe down and spray these areas with anti-bacterial cleaning products.
Since you’re now regularly cleaning the floors, paw stuff is less of a problem. Just don’t let pets climb on furniture or counters unless you don’t mind adding those surfaces to your cleaning list. If you’ve got a complaint animal, you might be able to wipe their paws after coming in (hahaha). But at the very least, make sure there’s a big, dirt grabbing mat front of the doors. Clean and spray them regularly.
Stop and think where you might have set down your handbag, tote, backpack or even shopping bag. In a public rest room? On the floor at a restaurant or bar? In the office next to your desk? Under an airplane seat? Like shoes, stuff gets stuck to the bottom of bags. And then you bring that into your house, set it on the counter or bed and, well, you know what happens next.
Scrub or wash the bottoms and sides of these items regularly. Wipe down counters or other surfaces where you’ve placed them. Totes and backpacks may even be machine washable. Treat luggage with anti-bacterial spray before storing. And watch where you put your hands when you’re carrying bags if you’ve put them on the floor.