On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Covid-19 a pandemic. With such a widespread outbreak, Singaporeans have been advised to stay calm and take preventive health measures to minimise the risk of infection. As more people are spending more time at home than before, it is important to stay on top of home hygiene.
So, what should you do?
Understanding How Germs Spread
The first step to stay on top of home hygiene is to understand how germs spread. Germs consist mainly of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. When these germs encroach our immune system, they produce toxins that make us sick.
Germs can spread via air, moisture and direct skin contact. Depending on the type of germ, it will multiply when the conditions are right. That is why it is important to sanitise our home to prevent germs from multiplying.
Set Up a Regular Cleaning Schedule
In the previous article, we highlighted some of the dirtiest places at home. High traffic areas at home are a haven for germs because of the constant contact with people and contaminants.
Hence, we can’t stress enough the importance of cleaning these areas regularly using the correct cleaning method.
Sweeping the floor only removes dust. But mopping the floor with a disinfectant solution will remove oils and kill germs.
For your tabletops and countertops, wiping with water and soap will remove most of the grime on the surface. If you own premium natural stone countertops, avoid using abrasive cleaners that will strip away the sealant on the surface.
Don’t forget to wipe all the areas where you frequently touch, such as stair banisters, armrests, handles, knobs, switches and the doorbell.
Separate Dirty and Clean Laundry
When you return home, change into a fresh set of clothes before lazing around. Remember, no outside clothes on the bed. You wouldn’t want to transfer germs that have hitched a ride on your clothes onto your living and sleeping quarters.
Dirty laundry should always be placed into a basket and washed once you have a full load. Most germs can be killed using heat if using bleach isn’t a choice.
According to the New York Times, 60°C or 140°F is an ideal temperature to kill most germs. However, do note that warm water may shrink or damage certain clothing. So read the labels before you put your items to wash.
This applies to your curtains, bed sheets, blankets, dishcloths and other fabric material.
Wipe Your Tech Gadgets
This applies mostly to your handphone because it follows you to more places than you’d admit. Your fingers are constantly touching them while you’re multitasking other activities such as eating, playing with your pet, cooking, etc. Besides that. your hands have been to various places like touching handles and knobs, holding on to the rails of an escalator, to even pushing the toilet door open.
Yes, that’s the same phone that you touch while having a meal and flushing the toilet. The germs from all the places you’ve been to are now stuck to your phone. And when you answer a call, the very same phone is placed beside your face.
That is why keeping your phone sanitised is of utmost importance. It’s as simple as wiping it with a damp microfiber cloth.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to wipe your keyboard, mouse, remote controls and other handheld gadgets.
No Shoes Allowed Inside the House
Singapore may be one of the cleanest countries in the world, but it doesn’t mean that your shoes do not trek dirt and faecal matter. It is important not to wear your shoes into the house. Shoes should be stored in their designated cabinet closest to the doorway.
Another item that constantly touches the ground is your bag. Most times, luggage and work bags are placed on the floor. No matter how brief it touches the ground, it is enough to allow germs to hitch a free ride.
Think twice before leaving your bags on the bed. The base of the bag is often teeming with germs. It’s not the type you’d want to go to bed with.
Staying on Top of Home Hygiene is All About Consistency
When you’re out mingling in the public area, your attire and personal belongings are open to germs. You may not be able to control what’s out there, but you can certainly take charge when you’re at home.
This is important especially when you have young children who tend to put everything into their mouths. You wouldn’t want to contaminate the space where they toddle around.
A clean home is achievable as long as you’re consistent with your housekeeping routine and personal hygiene. Keeping your hands clean at all times and practising good habits go a long way in ensuring a clean and healthy home for your family.