I’m sorry to tell you this, but many garbage cans are cleaner than bathtubs, which can ring in at about 100,000 bacteria per square inch.
• Use an anti-bacterial soft scrub (see formula below) once a week, paying special attention to soap scum and bath rings which can be a great breeding ground for germs.
• Also use the soft scrub and a toothbrush for the drain and faucet/handle areas.
• In addition, spray with straight white distilled vinegar weekly, which kills bacteria as well as mold.
The kitchen gets food spills, the bathroom gets toilet bowls splashes–bacteria heaven. Most of us aren’t touching or eating off the floor that often, but are kids might be!
• Wipe us spills immediately to deter bacteria from multiplying.
• Close the toilet seat before flushing to avoid spray.
• Clean your kitchen and bathroom floors a hot-water, hard clean weekly, depending on what type of flooring you have (use the soft scrub below for tile). For more tips, read Easy Greening: Natural Floor Cleaning.
• Spray around the toilet with straight white vinegar.
7. KITCHEN GARBAGE
Not surprisingly, the kitchen garbage can is a germ magnet–food waste and a dark, moist environment makes bacteria so very happy.
• Use a trashcan with a pedal opener to avoid having to touch the can regularly.
• Use a stainless steel trash can–ions in stainless steel actually kill germs!
• Take out the trash regularly.
• Odor equals bacteria. Clean your bin once a week with the soft scrub formula below, and follow with a vinegar rinse.
Oh, kids and germs–they go together like peas and carrots. And once you factor in the germs from all the friends and classmates, that are transported into your home, sick-city.
Solution: Of course there’s always the old weekly bleach-dunk, but not for me, or anyone else concerned about our kids inhaling bleach fumes.
• Opt for toys that are easy to clean.
• Some toys can be put through the dishwasher.
• Try a vinegar dunk.
• Cloth toys can be washed in the washing machine.
• Teach kids the importance of washing their hands.
Hello germs? Hello dirty little phone. Both home phones and mobile phones are ideal places for germs to thrive. Between our hands and our mouth, the top germ transmitters, the phone is tremendously germy. In addition, when was the last time you cleaned your phone?
Solution: Wipe down weekly with very hot water, and wipe with a vinegar saturated paper towel.
10. CUTTING BOARD
Again, gross. According to the ABC report, there are 200 times more fecal bacteria on a cutting board than a toilet seat. Seriously. If you think about it, the toilet seat itself doesn’t have direct contact with a lot of bacteria, while the cutting board hosts a lot of raw food which is often loaded with bacteria.
Solution: Plastic cutting boards may be easier to clean and sanitize, but wooden ones also contain natural oils that can kill bacteria.
• Grooves on your boards can harbor bacteria, so when you have the grooves, throw the board out.
• Invest in different cutting boards for produce, bread and meat.
• Glass and plastic which are not very absorbent are the best for meats because juices don’t seep into the material.
• If they fit and the manufacturer states the material is safe, run your cutting boards through the dishwasher.
• Or, hand wash them with Annie’s method: 3 percent hydrogen peroxide alternated with straight white vinegar. Let each material rest on the cutting board for 10 minutes or so before rinsing.
DIY Antibacterial Soft Scrub (Inspired by Annie’s Homemade Soft Scrubber)
1/2 cup baking soda
Tea tree, lavender, or peppermint Castille soap (see note)
5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as peppermint, tea tree oil, oregano, lemon, thyme, or eucalyptus
Pour the baking soda in a bowl and slowly stir in enough liquid soap until you have a thick paste, add essential oil. Use as you would a commercial soft scrub.
Note: Only use liquid soap if you have soft water. If you have hard water, use liquid dish detergent.