As you almost certainly know, maintaining good hygiene in the home is key to staying healthy and avoiding food poisoning and other stomach upsets and infections.
Bacteria and viruses can pass from person to person either through direct contact or by being left on a shared surface or utensil.
Focus on the hubs
Of course, every room in your house should be kept clean, but you should pay particular attention to the so-called hubs of potential infection, where germs are more likely to thrive and cause illness – the kitchen and the bathroom.
The basis of good hygiene is to use soap and water on objects, surfaces and hands, before rinsing and drying them. The soap and water remove and kill most bugs, while drying means that any left behind aren’t able to multiply. This cleaning must be done daily, as you go along, rather than a once-weekly deep clean, as bacteria can multiply very rapidly.
Any cloths or sponges that you may use should be thoroughly cleaned and left to dry after each use, or they can spread bacteria with ease. Just one bacterium left on a sponge, with enough water and food residue, becomes six million bacteria within eight hours!
Many people prefer to use single-use aprons, gloves and cloths from companies like Regal Disposables to clean their work surfaces now, to avoid this sort of contamination.
How to defeat bacteria in the home
Cloths and brushes
- Use disposable cloths or paper towels whenever you can
- Launder reusable cloths after each use, preferably at 60C or at 40C with a bleaching agent
- Clean sponges and washing-up brushes in a dishwasher or in hot water with a strong detergent, before leaving them to dry
Mops and buckets
- When mopping, use two buckets – one for mopping and the other for rinsing
- Both the mop and the buckets should be disinfected and dried after each use.
- Flush after each use
- Clean the toilet and the floor around it at least every other day
- Remove limescale regularly – bugs love to hide in it
- Clean the seat, rim and handle daily
Sinks, showers and baths
- Clean your bathtub at least twice a week, focusing on the edges and the taps
- If someone has been ill, use a disinfectant as well
- Don’t forget the shower tray and shower head, as well as tiles and shower curtains
- Pay attention to the grouting between tiles and make sure it’s cleaned every few months at least
- Either wipe down or launder the shower curtain according to instructions
- Your surfaces should be spotless – before and after cooking
- Use separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables and always wash your hands after handling raw meat
- Clean your floors at least once a week to remove visible dirt
- If there are any contaminants on the floor – spillages, vomit and so on, clean up immediately with a disinfectant and allow the surfaces to dry before walking on them
Pets and animals
- Keep pet food away from yours
- Wash your hands after handling the animals or their bowls and other equipment
- Store pets’ bowls and tin openers separately from yours.
- Wash your hands after touching dirty laundry
- Wash underwear, towels and other linens at 60C or at 40C with a bleaching agent
- Run an empty hot wash once a week to kill any lingering bacteria
- Remove “done” laundry ASAP to avoid bacteria multiplying in it