10 germ-spreading habits you should give up

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 11 May, 2023 07:00 | 3 mins read
10 germ-spreading habits you should give up
Man opens beer bottle using his teeth. Photo/Courtesy

There are some filthy practices that we follow without even realising it. Here are a few of them

1. Eating at your desk

Not to gross you out, but your computer keyboard is most likely home to some serious germs. A study by University of Arizona’s microbiologists found that desktops have become breeding grounds for germs where 20,961 invisible microbes can be found living and breathing on every square inch. If you eat your food on the same surface as your keyboard, you run the risk of ingesting those germs, which are definitely not on the menu!

2. Texting in the rest room

A 2019 UK study showed that nine out of 10 people take their phones with them to the bathroom.

When nature calls, germs are released into the air and can land on surfaces such as your phone. Even if you wash your hands before leaving the bathroom, that bacteria is still stuck on your screen! Leave your phone behind the next time you make a trip to the restroom.

3. Drying hands with the air dryer

Using a public restroom? You may want to skip the air dryer to dry hands. Here’s why: A study published in American Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that they can disperse bacteria throughout the room, including onto just-washed hands. Gross! Your best bet when in public? Use paper towels (and use them to open any doors to avoid picking up germs on your way out). If there are no paper towels, just shake your hands dry.

4. Putting your purse/bag on the floor

Not paying much attention to it, we all put our bags and purses on the floor. But the bag’s exterior is probably home to a lot of germs. A study of handbags by Dr Charles Gerba, of the University of Arizona, found faecal matter on 30 per cent of bags! By putting your bag on the floor, you take home a lot of bacteria along with your bag. So, do not keep your bag on the floor. Also disinfect it often. And don’t forget to clean the handle of your purse, too, since it can collect bacteria from constant exposure to your hands.

5. Opening things with your teeth

Yes, sometimes when you can’t get a package open, or when you can’t find the bottle opener, it may seem more convenient (and, occasionally, more effective!) to get it started using your teeth. However, not only can this be potentially damaging to your teeth, but it can also spread germs. In addition to the germs from your own mouth being transferred to the package, you’re also making contact with any germs that were already present on the packaging.

6. Not disinfecting children’s toys

As any parent knows, children put toys in their mouths, bang them on the ground, and, yes, pick their noses. To make matters worse, their underdeveloped immune systems make them particularly susceptible to illness. So parents, and, really, anyone who looks after little ones, should make sure that they are cleaning and disinfecting toys regularly (every few weeks or so, depending on how often the child plays with the toy).

7. Letting hair accumulate in your hairbrush

If the thought of a hairbrush with a layer of loose hair sitting amid the bristles gives you the heebie-jeebies, you’ve got the right idea. When that hair builds up in your brush, so too do oils from your skin, dead skin cells, and sticky deposits of hair product. When you use that same brush, those things—and the germs they carry—get transferred right back to your coif. You’re best off pulling all of the loose hair out every time you’re finished using the brush and tossing it straight into the garbage. You should also soak the brush in warm, soapy water at least once a month.

8. Making your kitchen sponge do double duty

Your kitchen sponge, a tool you use all the time to keep things clean, is not clean. Unless you wash and/or replace your kitchen sponge weekly, it’s probably home to some unwelcome bacteria. Bacteria that causes foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella and E coli, are the primary culprits. Worse still, if you clean your sink with the same sponge as you use to wash your dishes, you’re transferring all the icky germs from the interior of your sink to your dishes and food. To stop the spread of germs, have two separate sponges, one for each cleaning task.

9. Leaving the toilet lid up when flushing

That lid is there for a reason! According to the American Journal of Infection Control, when you flush, the contents of the toilet (water and otherwise) get tossed around, sending a spray flying into the air that contains microscopic bacteria. If you don’t close the toilet lid, the bacteria can contaminate your hands, bathroom surfaces, and even objects such as toothbrushes.

10. Chewing on pens

Do you know where that pen has been? Even if you do, your mouth should probably not be one of those places. If the pen belongs to you, that still means your maybe-not-so-clean hands have touched it, and since chewing on a pen is usually a nervous habit that you do automatically, chances are you haven’t taken into account the cleanliness of the pen, or of your hands. Plus, gnawing on pens isn’t too good for your teeth either.

Related Topics