Back in January, our entire household came down with what I suspect was the flu, and it was not pretty. My husband Dave and oldest son Erik even ended up with pneumonia too (but I’m happy to report we’re all feeling much better now!)
After a couple weeks of being quarantined inside our house, with little to do but shiver and cough and feel terrible, I’m highly motivated to avoid getting sick again! My bottle of Defend Essential Oil Blend has been getting a workout, as I’ve been adding it to my foaming hand soap and homemade hand sanitizer, as well as applying it topically!
And since staying healthy has been on my mind lately, I thought I’d share some information that can help all of us do just that. Here are 13 dirty things that we ought to wash our hands after touching!
13 Dirty Things You Should Wash Your Hands After Touching
1. Cutting Board
Both plastic and wooden cutting boards can harbor all sorts of bacteria, especially if they aren’t getting cleaned properly. Plastic cutting boards can go right in the dishwasher, but wooden ones need to be cleaned more carefully.
Scrub your wood cutting boards with soapy water regularly, and wipe them down with white vinegar to kill germs and neutralize lingering odors. It’s also a good idea to place a thin plastic cutting board over your wooden one when handling raw meat!
2. Hand Towels
Unfortunately, not everyone who dries their hands on your hand towels has perfect hand-washing technique. That means those towels are get dirty over time, so be sure to switch them out with clean ones every few days!
Think about it—have you ever sat down and actually cleaned your car or house keys? (I haven’t either!) But with how frequently we handle them, there’s no doubt they’re covered in all sorts of bacteria!
So break out the disinfecting wipes every once in a while and keep those keys clean.
4. Shopping Carts
Many grocery stores now offer disinfecting wipes near the grocery carts, and for good reason! Shopping cart handles can be hot spots for bacteria, both from other people’s hands and from foods like raw meat.
So take advantage of those free wipes and wipe down your cart handle before you shop!
5. Reusable Grocery Bags
And speaking of groceries, don’t forget about your reusable grocery bags! Between shopping carts, checkout conveyor belts, and other grimy surfaces, bacteria have plenty of opportunities to hitch a ride on those bags.
To clean reusable bags made of vinyl or plastic, wipe them down with hydrogen peroxide to eliminate germs. For bags that are more cloth-like, just toss them in your washer!
According to a 2017 study, used kitchen sponges can house hundreds of millions of bacteria per square centimeter! That’s why it’s important to replace your kitchen sponge regularly, and toss it in the dishwasher to keep it clean between uses. (You can also boil or microwave a wet sponge to kill germs.)
7. Cell Phones
Cell phones are notoriously germ-y, because our hands and faces are constantly transferring germs onto our phones! Wipe down your phone (both front and back) with a disinfecting wipe a few times a week to keep it clean and sanitary.
Between all the times you touch them and set them down every day, eyeglasses can get surprisingly dirty! Gently clean the lenses with a soft microfiber cloth, and wipe the frames with an alcohol wipe to eliminate germs and greasy smudges.
Think of all the different buttons you touch during an average day, like the buttons on AMTs, crosswalks, parking meters, elevators, and more! Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or briefcase to keep germs at bay when you’re out and about.
With as often as money changes hands, it should come as no surprise that cash made this list! A 2017 study of $1 bills in New York City identified hundreds of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and even animal DNA.
However, as long as you’re washing your hands regularly throughout the day, handling cash and coins shouldn’t present a serious threat to your health.
11. Handles & Handrails
Any surface that multiple people touch throughout the day is likely to carry germs, including handrails, handles, and doorknobs. Wash your hands after touching surfaces like these in public locations, and especially after using public transportation.
Everyone handles the menu at a restaurant, and that makes them a magnet for germs! Paper menus aren’t as much of an issue, but plastic menus have plenty of nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide.
13. Waiting Room Items
Considering the amount of sick people who pass through it, the waiting room at any doctor’s office or hospital can be full of germs. From the sign-in pen to the armrests on the chairs, there are dozens of places where bacteria can end up after being handled by someone with a cold (or worse!)
Take a minute after your visit to swing by the restroom to wash your hands!
What do you always wash your hands after handling?