Cleaning for Your Health

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By Lora Morrow

May 29, 2017


By: Lora Morrow, Director of Environmental Services, Trinity Hospital Twin City

There are many reasons to clean. We clean by the season, for holidays, for guests and more. But the main reason to clean is to promote a healthy environment for our family.

When we enter our homes, we bring with us a host of germs, dirt and allergens. They come into our homes by way of our hands, shoes, clothing, purses, bags and boxes. Did you ever think of what may be on the bottom of your purse, or how many people handled that can at the grocery store? Germs are everywhere!

The best defense for your family is to have them WASH THEIR HANDS and change their clothes as soon as they get home. This will remove 80% of the germs.

Here are some facts for comparison:

  • Toilet seat: 49 germs per sq. in.
  • Keyboard: 3,295 germs per sq in
  • Desktop: 20,961 germs per sq. in.
  • Phone: 25,127 germs per sq. in

We all think of bathrooms being dirty, but the items we touch with our hands actually harbor the most germs!

This is why washing your hands regularly is a good habit. Also, wiping off high-touch areas often, like doorknobs, light switches, telephones, keyboards, remote controls, toys and even your cell phone is a good idea. During cold/flu season, these areas should be disinfected at least daily.

You don’t have to use strong chemicals to clean. Rubbing, scrubbing, wiping and vacuuming also helps remove germs. Microfiber cloths and mops do a great job and use fewer chemicals because the microfibers collect microscopic organisms better than traditional cloths and mops.

Cleaning supplies don’t need to be expensive. Bleach is a good disinfectant, deodorizer and sanitizer for the home. Dilution rates, and what germs or viruses bleach is effective against, are listed on the label.

Vacuuming furniture, carpets, curtains and mattresses regularly is good if you are allergic to dust. Also, minimizing clutter (especially under beds and in corners) reduces dust. Tossing your comforters and pillows into the dryer with a dryer sheet between washes helps to remove dust, and the heat sanitizes and freshens them.

Steam mops are nice if you have small children who are crawling or playing on the floor. Steam mops with a carpet attachment can sanitize your hard floors and your carpets.

If these cleaning tips are overwhelming, remember that to have a healthier home, the most important tips are to wash your hands often and wipe off high-touch items regularly (especially during cold and flu season). Happy Cleaning!

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