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Its official, half of Brits need a bath. You’ve probably thought it standing in a packed tube, but it turns out that 58% of men skip morning showers and a quarter would rather have an extra ten minutes in bed and the remainder just can’t fit a wash into their hectic lifestyle. So it seems that the modern man is not a clean one, it’s like we’ve gone back to primal ways, the only difference is Fred Flintstone’s car. So why is it that some of us just don’t prioritise cleanliness over timeliness?
An international Dettol HABIT study discovered conscientious and careful personality types developed 10% fewer colds and diarrhoea than others and are more likely to practise better hygiene habits. People with good manners are also two and a half times more likely to have good health. What goes around comes around with germs, literally, as if karma plays a role in cleanliness. Whether or not karma has anything to do with it is up for interpretation, but what is proven is the more conscientious you are, the healthier and cleaner you will be.
A report by ‘The Global Hygiene Council’ found that around half of us Brits just aren’t scrubbing up. With less than 50% of us always washing our hands after visiting the toilet. Another study, carried out by hygiene experts from Queen Mary University London and the London School of Hygiene, found faecal bacteria was present on 26% of hands, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards. Eugh! Three years ago, the UN said that washing hands is the most cost-effective solution to the worldwide control of disease, according to a BBC report. It feels to simple to be true, but the truth is washing hands will lower your chances of getting ill, so it makes sense that the rest of the world will benefit from your hand-washing habits.
Initial Washroom Hygiene completed a survey of 100,000 people on office worker bathroom habits. Finding a staggering 62% of men and 40% of women who do not wash their hands after going to the toilet. This is particularly worrying as germs and bacteria spreads easiest in an office environment, with so many surfaces viable to hand and mouth contact i.e. keyboards, telephones, desks, pens, chairs and doors.
And it’s not just our personal hygiene that is suffering.
Rug Doctor conducted a study of 2,000 people finding more than half would not change their bedsheets for more than two weeks. The survey showed one in ten do not wash their towels weekly, and the same amount of people do not brush their teeth twice a day. Further findings revealed a third of pet owners allowed their pets to sleep in the same bed as them. So our beds are another sanitation security threat, but what else?
There are many undesirable bugs stamped into our carpets without us even knowing. The rug doctor found traces of horse manure, pollen, tar, skin, hair, urine and vomit after studying a cross section of homes in the UK. Following the results, 41% of respondents still insisted that they would not remove their shoes before entering their house.
The Global Hygiene Council also found that 19% of kitchen surfaces were contaminated with E. coli. This food-borne disease is regularly associated with raw red meats, beef in particular. This highlights the importance of careful hygiene in food preparation.
But what is the truth behind these hygiene horrors? Why do people fail to control cleanliness? A study by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners found that most people are unaware of the real household health hazards. With many considering bathrooms the biggest risk when the kitchen is by far more dangerous. The biggest offender were dishcloths, with 86% of them harbouring harmful bacterial levels with kitchen taps, light switches and TV remotes not far behind.
Household hygiene tips:
Keep a lid on it. When flushing, toilet aerosols travel in the air and that means your toothbrush can pick up what’s in your toilet. Who wants that?
Leave your shoes at the door. With all the nasties from outdoors being dragged in on the bottoms of your family’s footwear, make sure all shoes are left on a shoe rack or storage unit. That way, the carpet is easier to clean and keeps out all the bad germs.
10 second rule. And no that’s not the time that food stays edible when dropped on the floor. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people wash their hands for a total of 15 seconds or more after visiting the restroom to kill the 3,000 types of bacteria lurking in lavatories. And the Hygiene Council recommends 20 seconds as optimal time, so start with ten and work from there.
Double up on soap. A bottle of hand soap is not expensive, so no need to be stingy on the squirty stuff. Hand-washing is essential after handling raw foods, blowing your nose or visiting the bathroom, so use twice as much to be safe.
Dump dirty dishcloths. You should change your dishcloth every week at least. But a good tip is to boil used cloths in hot water to sterilise them for continual use.
Disinfect contact areas. Your hands are pretty useful body parts aren’t they, just think of all the places they get to. That’s why you need to disinfect all areas that your hands regularly come into contact with such as TV remotes, phones, light switches, bin lids and door handles etc. to kill nasty bacteria transferring.
Don’t forget the floor. It seems so obvious, but sweeping and mopping hard floor surfaces is actually an oversight for many homeowners. The problem with laminate is that it can look clean when it isn’t because of its shiny finish. Make mopping/sweeping a regular part of your household duties.