There are a lot of myths and untruths surrounding ‘dogma’ in home hygiene, but have you actually ever stopped to ask yourself ‘is this actually true?’ Well, good question, and we can expose a few of these myths right now for you! Enjoy:
1. “Bacteria die in the freezer” – nope
Some domestic bacteria can survive at as low as -18°C. Now whilst this isn’t the ideal atmosphere to breed or multiply at, they are still very much alive. As soon as you take the food out to defrost, production will be back up to full output, too – some bacteria doubling their equivalent mass in as little as 20 minutes. Not too hygienic!
2. “Coins and bills are the source of all unfriendly bacteria!” – not exactly
Copper actually has anti-bacterial properties and on bills only small amounts of bacteria exist as they don’t provide proper living conditions for them – meaning a day untouched will render most bills harmless.
3. “No need to wash the dishwasher, it does the job itself” – wrong again
The inside of a dishwasher should be cleaned monthly. It is a perfect stop for nasty fungi like black yeast to flourish – which can be a nasty hygiene risk! Strong vinegar is your friend here – get about 300ml in a mug and leave it upright on a hot cycle – this allows the vinegar to be let out slowly and sterilize continuously, despite any water that gets pumped out.
4. “Wearing gloves is more hygienic than cleaning with bare hands” – nope, not for you anyway
Gloves are often extremely unhygienic. It is crucial that gloves are cleaned and stored dry between usage as a damp glove with pockets of moisture will provide a pretty environment for many unfriendly and unhygienic bacteria.
5. “The more soap the cleaner it gets” – our survey says…
Not really true. Often more soap simply creates more issues – especially for your personal hygiene. Odd as it may sound, soap and detergent can be a great nutrient for some bacteria. We recommend you wash your hands only when appropriate – and not every 5 minutes with soap.
6. “Bacteria are evil! They must be destroyed” – no, just no
On the contrary: many micro-organisms keep us safe, healthy and functioning. In our intestines, mouth, on our skin…. everywhere there are billions of micro-organisms, with only a handful being unwanted.
7. “Cutting boards are also evil and must be purified with bleach regularly” – little unnecessary
If you clean your cutting board properly after use, then it should be fine. Many types of wood contain antibacterial properties in the oils and resins and certain wood types also contain tannic acid – which is germicidal and reduces the hygiene risk considerably. Cook plastic boards at 60°C in the dishwasher.
8. “The toilet is the germ hell-mouth” – false (generally)
Far greater sources and breeding grounds for them are places like the fridge and dishcloths. And don’t forget places like your keyboard and phone – which commonly contain over 400x more bacteria than your average domestic toilet seat….
9. “I can repeatedly use my own bath towel without fear” – seriously, how are you still alive?
Damp towels are ideal habitats for bacteria. Dark and humid conditions really speed up the bacteria growth as well – and bacteria responsible for conditions such as acne are born as a result.
10. “My children need constant protection from germs” – now you’re being silly
A little dirt is good for building their immune systems! Think about your childhood – were you trapped in a sterile bubble? Probably not, I’m guessing. Although the house is best kept clean, don’t be too afraid to let them run wild in the garden and get some grass stains on them.
So now you know! Things aren’t as simple as you may have thought. But don’t worry – if all this talk of proper hygiene is too much for you, fortunately it is our profession to keep your home clean. Find out more about what we do at Helpling.