We can all recall the time our health teachers introduced to us the concept of deodorant. When our parents taught us to wash between our fingers and toes and not to eat food that’s been on the floor for five seconds or more. These educational moments are staples in our childhood.
As an adult, can you recall the last conversation you had about cleanliness? And for all the discussions about personal wellness that have been held, how many have included the simple concept of hygiene?
Maintaining proper hygiene is one of those things that everyone is expected to know how to do but no one ever talks about in the post-adolescent world, yet there’s so much more to it than washing our hands and using tissues when we sneeze.
Sure, those well-known habits are important – but what about the lesser known hygiene hacks we aren’t thinking about?
Maybe after reading this week’s blog, you will.
Close your toilet seat
The average person flushes the toilet five times a day. When you pull the lever, your toilet releases something called “toilet plume” into the air — which is basically a spray filled with microscopic bacteria, including E. coli. According to research from 1975, the germs emitted in the spray can linger in the air for up to six hours, and disperse themselves all over your bathroom … including on your toothbrush, towels, beauty products, etc… Need we say more?
Wash your hairbrush
Hairbrushes absorb dirt like a sponge. Every time you use a comb, it’s collecting more and more oil, dust and various products in your hair. All sorts of residue in its bristles, both from your hair and from the environment (and, apparently, your toilet). Without regular cleaning, all this residue can get deposited in your hair each time you use your hairbrush. So wash the dang thing every now and then.
Keep your cell phone clean
The average smartphone owner unlocks his or her phone 150 times daily. We click on our phones 2,617 times per day, and 87% of millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side. Our gadgets have become an extra appendage, and like with all other body parts, they need to be cleaned often. Maybe more. According to a recent study, cell phones are 10 times dirtier than toilet seats. So clean your phone, and while you’re at it…
Check the phone at the door
We’re all guilty of it taking a phone into the bathroom, but we assure you that texts, emails and tweets can wait.
Don’t use loofah more than once
Better yet, stop using them altogether. Fun fact: Loofahs are made from a gourd in the cucumber family, and as it turns out, that material is a haven for bacteria to thrive. According to Gretchen Frieling, a board-certified dermatopathologist in Boston, mold, germs, dead skin cells and remnants of dirt, oil and grime can harbor in loofahs. This bacterial collection can cause infection if used to wash an open cut, can trap bacteria inside your pores and can prevent you from really cleansing yourself from any germs. Stop buying loofahs. Use your hands instead.
Regular soap is just as effective
There’s no need to spend more money on antibacterial soap. According to multiple studies, antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps. They may even render some common antibiotics less effective, according to a University of Michigan public health professor.
In short, keep washing your hands. Bathe regularly and scrub your vegetables. Chances are you’re already doing a good job at keeping yourself clean and hygienic––these tips will just help you go the extra mile.
And for the love of God, shut your toilet seat before you flush.