Preoccupation with germs is one thing. A healthy respect for hygiene is another, especially since many people and products travel globally. Microbiologist Anne E. Maczulak, author of The Five-Second Rule and Other Myths About Germs, offers essential cleaning tips.
- HANDS ON Washing your hands after using the restroom eliminates 80 percent of dangerous germs. Use warm water and soap for a full 20 seconds (two rounds of "Happy Birthday" if you prefer humming to counting).
- HANDS OFF Avoid touching your face. Germs enter you via eyes, nose, and mouth. Some adults touch their face up to 100 times a day; children do it even more.
BEWARE HOTSPOTS There are five places in the home where germs love to lurk: kitchen sponges and dish cloths, the air blown from a running vacuum cleaner, the washing machine, a toilet during a flush, and the kitchen trash can. Ideally you should:
Change sponges every week or sanitize them with chlorine and water.