Solutions

The truth about 9 common myths about hygiene, germs and bacteria

Bacteria may be lurking in unsuspecting corners - like in your dish-washing gloves, on crockery and cutlery that still have soap on them, and more.
 

hygiene myths

Photo: lightpoet

We get the experts at Helpling to debunk these commonly believed hygiene myths.

Bacteria dies in the freezer: FALSE
Believe it or not, bacteria is still alive at -18 deg C. Putting your food in the freezer only temporarily halts bacterial activity. As soon as you set the food to thaw at room temperature, the bacteria will resume multiplying again.
 
Dishwashers are clean, because they are ‘washers’: FALSE
Contrary to intuition, you need to make time to also clean out your dishwasher every month – the moist environment makes it a prime hotbed for fungi. To give your dishwasher a thorough clean, leave a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run your machine for a full cycle at a high temperature.

Also read: 10 cleaning hacks every busy woman should know

Wearing gloves when doing dishes protects me from germs and is more hygienic too: FALSE
Gloves can be pretty unhygienic if they are not cleaned properly or changed regularly. It is important to clean your gloves and store it in the cupboard once it is fully dried. To clean, soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes with two tablespoons of vinegar and some detergent. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of all suds, then let them dry completely before storing them away. They should also be changed at least once a month to minimise bacteria. (On that note, you might not be replacing these kitchen tools as often as you should).
 
The more soap I use, the cleaner it is: FALSE
Nope, not if there’s a lot of soap residue left; they are great nutrients for bacteria growth, so always, always make sure that you rinse your hands, dishes, and clothes thoroughly.

All bacteria is harmful to humans: FALSE
Did you know that we are in contact with bacteria daily? In fact, there is even more bacteria in the human flora than there are human cells on the body. Bacteria is not just a part of life, we humans are also dependent on good bacteria to aid with digestion, and to protect us from harmful bacteria. 

Scratched Teflon pans causes cancer: FALSE
It is only above 260 deg C that scratched Teflon pans are harmful, when the coating emits toxic fumes. So when you need to use extremely high heat when cooking, you might want skip the non-stick pan in favour of a cast-iron or steel pan.

Also read: 7 toxic chemicals to avoid in your cleaning products

The dirtiest place in the house is the toilet: FALSE
We tend to be so focused on toilet hygiene that we tend to be complacent about keeping other spots around the house clean. Studies have discovered that kitchen sinks are sometimes even more contaminated than bathroom because of the constant contact with food.  And your keyboard (it doesn't matter if you're on a desktop or laptop) is probably home to a whole troop of germs and bacteria too, thanks to our habits of eating at the desk.
 
You can use the same bath towel repeatedly without washing: FALSE
Damp towels are ideal habitats for bacteria.  It is recommended to wash and thoroughly dry your towel after a maximum of three consecutive uses. 
 

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