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Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

shoes

When you put on your shoes, do you ever pause for a moment to think about where those shoes have been? Every time you walk, your shoes pick up a multitude of unwanted substances.  A recent study found nine different species of bacteria on the bottom of people’s shoes.  And what’s even scarier, the study found that bacteria live longer on shoes than many other hard surfaces.

Specific examples found on shoe soles included E coli, tetanus, strep, hepatitis, and C difficile. Researchers also discovered viruses, parasites, fungi, allergens and toxic substances.  Eeuuw.

The substances listed above were picked up from streets, sidewalks, and the floors of office buildings. Included in this toxic mix were:

  • Remnants of feces from dogs, cats, rodents, birds and other wildlife, and humans
  • Urine from the same sources
  • Remains from insects and rodents
  • Remnants of garbage including food waste and toxic cleaning products
  • Excretions such as saliva, mucus, sweat, blood or vomit
  • Residue from insecticides, gasoline, oils and grease
  • Urine and germs from restroom floors
  • Soil contaminated with lead, pesticides, lawn chemicals and/or toxic wood preservatives from lawns and parks

The reason shoes can harbor such a motley assortment of “ick” is because most shoe soles are made from leather, rubber or other porous materials that allow for the absorption of microscopic substances. Once inside your home, contaminated shoes can become a source of disease; spreading germs to carpets and floors.

Tiled floors may be a substantial source of bacteria (90% of floors surveyed found unwanted substances), but are fortunately easy to sanitize. Unfortunately, when you walk on any of your home floors in your bare feet, germs may attach to the bottom of your feet and subsequently end up on furniture and beds.  Children playing on the floor can be exposed to germs through their hands, clothing, and/or mouth.  And pets have the potential to pick up and spread these germs as well.

Takeaway?

The best practice you can institute is to ask everyone to remove their shoes before entering the house to reduce the risk of bringing contaminants into the home.  Clean shoes with a sanitizing shoe mat, sanitizer wipes or a sanitizer sprayed on the bottom of your shoes.   Most importantly, leave your shoes at the door!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources: http://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-015-0082-9

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What is one of the dirtiest items in your purse or pocket besides money?  Probably, your cell phone.  Stop for a minudirty cell phonete and think about where and when you used your cell phone.  We carry them everywhere, rushing to answer or check a text message with dirty hands.  We take it into the bathroom, kitchen and everywhere else.  If you have children you have probably given them your phone to distract them as you shop or drive the car.

One study found cell phones to be 18 times dirtier than toilet handles.  Another study found that 82% of cell phones tested positive for bacteria contamination and 16% had E.coli.

So, how do we clean our phones?

  • Check the directions in your owner’s manual for any specific cleaning instructions.
  • Power down the phone to help protect it as you clean.
  • You can wipe the screen clean with a microfiber cloth daily. This will help remove the dirt your hands left on the phone.cleaning cell phone
  • Use disposable cleaning electronic screens’ wipe but don’t use a regular cleaning wipe on your phone. If you don’t have an electronic screen wipe  use a soft cloth dampened with water.   To get the dirt out of the small corners and nooks use a cotton swab.
  • Dirt and grime can accumulate around the edges of your protective cover. Take the cover off weekly and use a disinfecting wipe on the inside and outside of the case.  Let it dry thoroughly before putting it back on your phone.
  • Wash your hands before using your phone which will prevent germs and dirt from getting on your phone.
  • Keep food and drink away from your phone.
  • Avoid using your phone in the bathroom. Droplets from flushing the toilet can land on your phone.

To avoid ruining the special coatings on some screens, never use any products containing harsh chemicals, like ammonia.

While you are cleaning try cleaning your computer and television remote too.  You can use a cleaning wipe on your keyboard or a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner.  Don’t spray directly onto your keyboard or laptop.  An air duster can help remove things stuck in your keyboard.  For the monitor just use a dry or dampened with clean water microfiber cloth to wipe away the dust and dirt.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer:  Jenny Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension

References:

American Cleaning Institute, (2013).  Cell Phone Cleaning.  Available at http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/cell_phone_cleaning.aspx

Eley, A. (2014). Find out how to clean your cell phone and other dirty gadgets, Available at

http://www.today.com/home/find-out-how-clean-your-cell-phone-other-dirty-gadgets-2D79591843

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Fall Cleaning

Most of us think about cleaning in the Spring when sunlight starts streaming into our house and the accumulated dust bunnies and fingerprints take center stage. Even though this is considered the traditional time for a thorough cleaning, I’ve always been a fan of fall cleaning! After a summer full of open windows and busy schedules, the inside of our homes can use some “TLC”.

Some high-points of a good cleaning should include:                                    wash_cutting_board_lo

• The Kitchen:
o The refrigerator. Remove all of the contents and shelves and wash with an antibacterial cleaner. Check expiration dates on the food items while you have them out. Don’t forget the door seal and the outside of the refrigerator. Use a vacuum cleaner on the coils to keep your refrigerator working at top performance. Clean the top too!
o The stove. If you have a self-cleaning oven follow the directions in your manual. If you don’t have a self-cleaner, you can purchase oven cleaner or leave a cup of ammonia in the oven overnight which will soften the residue. Don’t forget to wear gloves and keep windows open. Follow the recommended suggestions for cleaning the outside surfaces and don’t forget to clean under the stove also.
o The microwave. This can be dirty both inside and out. Boil a cup of water in the microwave to help loosen stuck on foods.
• The Bedrooms
o Wash all bedding – including mattress covers, dust ruffles, blankets and pillow covers.
o Wash curtains and other window coverings such as mini-blinds which tend to be true dust magnets.
o Use the attachments on your vacuum to clean the mattress and box springs and any other upholstered furniture in the bedroom.
o Move and vacuum behind and under the bed and other furniture.
• All rooms
o Clean any ceiling fans and lights in the rooms
o Wipe the inside and outside of your doors – they are touched many times during the day and accumulate fingerprints and dirt.
o Wash inside and outside of windows.

• Lastly, don’t forget your trash cans and recycling bins. Scrub them inside and outside.

Does this feel overwhelming? Too much to accomplish? If so, take it one room or project at a time and conquer your fall cleaning. Your home will be sparkling clean and fresh smelling! The holidays will be here before you know and you will be ahead of the game if you do a thorough cleaning now!


Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu
References:

Clean Ideas: Fall Cleaning. Cleaning Institute
http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/clean_ideas_fall_cleaning.aspx

Household Hints and Help. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension http://lancaster.unl.edu/home/articles/2005/fallcleaning.htm

5 Tips for Cleaning for Fall. How stuff works.com
http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/5-tips-for-cleaning-for-fall.htm

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springhealth

Spring has arrived!  Imagine warmer days, flowers blooming and the smell of fresh cut lawns!  It’s also the perfect time to take inventory of our health.

  • Schedule appointments and health screenings.  Talk with your doctor to determine a health plan that works for you.
  • De-clutter your medicine cabinet.  Medication should be stored in a dry, cool cabinet.  Check the expiration dates of all medications.   Check with the drug stores or police departments to learn how to dispose safely of old medications.
  • Discard old makeup.  Most products have a one year shelf life.  Throw out products that have an odor or separation of ingredients.
  • Find your calm.  Learn to decrease stress instantly.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, envision a place that is peaceful.
  • Choose in-season, local produce.  Visit a farmers’ market and gain nutritional benefits with spring produce.
  • Go outside-talk a walk and benefit from physical activity and the wonders of the arrival of spring.
  •  Improve your happiness – get rid of clothes in your closet that don’t flatter you.  Get rid of the stuff you don’t want.  Research reveals that helping out others improves our happiness.

Take these steps to help improve your overall health and enjoy spring!

Author:  Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD.  Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-clean

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thermometerIt’s that time of year, when the sun comes out and we are ready to rid us from the winter blahs and make it all fresh and clean! How long has it been since you cleaned the refrigerator? This is a food safety issue that sometimes we overlook. Following are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start by checking the temperature. Make sure it is at 40° F or lower. Maybe it’s time to buy a new refrigerator thermometer to leave in the refrigerator.
  • Next, check the packages of food. Perishable foods should be wrapped or covered. Most foods will keep for 3-5 days. Notice the food that is found at the back of the refrigerator shelf has probably been there too long. Eggs should be stored in their original container and not on the door.
  • Wipe up any spills or dirt left on shelves. Don’t forget the door seals. Use clean, warm water. Avoid using detergents, abrasives or any chemical which could leave an odor.
  • Don’t forget to clean the front grill and condenser with a brush or vacuum cleaner. If it has a filtering system for water, now is the time to replace the filter.
  • Place an opened box of baking soda on one of the shelves to keep it fresh smelling. The baking soda will help to absorb odors left behind.
  • The outside surface of the refrigerator can be cleaned with a mild detergent or special surface cleaner depending on your refrigerator. And, don’t forget to clean the handle.

If food has spoiled and leaves a nasty odor, following these steps to clean:

  • Wash with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • Follow with a wash of baking soda and water, making sure to clean gaskets, shelves, drawers and doors.
  • For tough odors, place a cotton ball soaked with vanilla in a dish and set it on a shelf in the refrigerator. Keep it there for at least 24 hours. It will help to absorb lingering odors.

Source: homefoodsafety.org

Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Melinda Hill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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Indoor Allergies

As fall arrives, many of us are thankful that our summer time allergies are going away. We can say good-bye to the sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, etc. for a few months. There are others though who may find that their allergy symptoms are not relieved.sneeze
Current research has shown that people spend almost 90% of their time indoors. Many people have allergic reactions to indoor triggers with dust, mold, and animals being the top three.
• Dust. Allergic reactions to dust are actually caused by our reaction to dust mites. Their droppings and remains become airborne and cause allergy symptoms in people who are sensitive to them.
• Mold. Molds thrive in damp, humid areas such as basements and bathrooms. Once the mold spores begin to bloom and grow and get into the air, they can trigger allergic reactions.
• Pets. Many people believe that they are allergic to the pet’s hair when it is actually it is a substance in the dead skin flakes (dander) that causes the allergic reaction

It is not realistic to think that we can totally eliminate these indoor triggers but there are actions we can take to control the amounts that are present in our homes. Here are a few suggestions:
• Dust. The best way to deal with dust allergies is to simply reduce exposure to dust. If you have dust allergies, you will want to wear a mask when you are cleaning or have someone else do the cleaning for you! A couple of easy ways to reduce dust in your home: wash bedding in hot water once a week, use plastic dust-proof covers on your mattress, box springs, and pillows. If you have carpeting in your home, vacuum once or twice a week and vacuum upholstered furniture often. Remove stuffed animals and drapes. Wash throw rugs in hot water. When it is time to replace flooring – look at cork, hardwood, bamboo, or tile which tend to be more allergy friendly.
• Mold. The most efficient preventative for mold growth is to control moisture. Watch out for wet spots and condensation. Fix leaky plumbing as soon as it is discovered. Increase ventilation and air circulation in your home. Use a dehumidifier if necessary. Indoor humidity should be below 60%. There are inexpensive humidity detectors that you can purchase and use year round to keep an eye on the humidity levels in your home.
• Pets. Some might say that the only way to control this trigger is to remove the pet from the home. However, more realistic steps to take include not allowing the pet in the bedroom. Bedding can become a trap for allergens that are difficult to dislodge. Use a HEPA air filter in your home at all times. Give your pet a weekly bath to reduce the allergen count. While dander and saliva are the source of cat and dog allergens, urine is the source of allergens from rabbits, hamsters, mice and guinea pigs – so ask a non-allergic family member to clean the animal’s cage.A Tabby Cat with Green Eyes
If these suggestions do not help control your allergies, you may choose to visit an allergist. An allergist can help discover what indoor allergens are causing your symptoms and educate you to make changes to avoid them. The right care can help you manage your allergies and feel better year round.

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County
Reviewed by Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties

Sources:
Indoor Air Quality: Dust and Molds http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/pdf/0191.pdf
Tips to control Pet Allergies http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/tips-to-control-pet-allergies
Winter Allergies http://www.webmd.com/allergies/winter-allergies
Indoor Allergens: Tips to Remember http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/indoor-allergens.aspx

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As the weather is getting warmer and nicer outside, summer cleaning and yard work are on the to do list. It is exrtremely important to pay attention to your body if you have had a relatively sedentary winter and spring.  Dehydration can occur when as little as 3% body weight is lost in fluids and results in an emergency medical situation. Listen to your body when it says it is tired. Do not push yourself too far and risk injury. To make the most ouf of time, and to treat your body the right way, follow these fluida and food guidelines.

If you are performing strenous activity, regardless if inside or outside, it is important to stay hydrated. With mild hydration, symptoms may include headaches, light headedness, fatigue and of course thirst.  The main way to present deyhydration is to treat it before it even begins. Before you start any yard work, make sure you have a glass of water even if you are not thirsty. This will ensure your body starts with an adequate amount of fluids and can afford to lose some through sweat. If you are in a hot or humid environment, remember to drink fluid at least every 30 minutes or less to maintain your fluid levels.  The longer you are being physically active, the more this is important. You may only neeed one cup per hour, but it depends upon how much you are sweating and how hot/humid it is.  It may be hard to remember to drink something, but make it a priority to stop for a couple seconds and have a sip of your drink. After you finish your cleaning projects, try to have some more fluids to replace any that you lost. Just about any beverage can be used including water, lemonade, or sports drinks. Try to avoid any drinks with caffeine. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and increases fluid loss through the urine.

Beyond fluids, energy is needed to perform work. Try to have a nice meal before you begin working to provide your body with calories. A light meal can be used to prevent any stomach or GI problems. It just needs to have some carbohydrates (your main source of energy) and a little protein to repair your muscles. If you will be physically active for more than one hour, it may be necessary to have a snack while you work. This can be very small and can be as little as 100 calories or less. Some snack ideas are a granola bar, string cheese, yogurt, crackers and peanut butter or a piece of fruit. This snack will give your body some extra calories so you don’t fatigue as fast.

The best way to be prepared for your summer cleaning is to fuel up before you begin. Ensuring you are at adequate fluid levels, and have eaten within the last couple hours will help you to last longer. Also, don’t force yourself too far. It is the beginning of a long summer and you don’t need to start with an injury. By listening to your body, you can prevent dehydration, have more energy for your muscles and prevent injuries.

Writter: Susan Zies, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Wood County.

Information gathered from:

Mayo Clinic. (August 2, 2011). Dehydration: Symptoms. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms

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