These days, it’s easy to see the importance of cleanliness and proper hygiene. But other than proper hand-washing and physical distancing, there are other ways you can make sure that you stay safe and healthy apart from loading up on your vitamins and supplements and eating your greens—you can take it to the next level and start making sure that the things you use on a daily basis are properly sanitized to prevent the spread of viruses.
Check out how you can clean and disinfect these 10 common items:
What you'll need: rubbing alcohol wipes, toothbrush, cotton bud
You might not think about it a lot, but using your earphones frequently increases the bacterial growth in your ear. In fact, a study found that some earphones could develop yeast and some can even grow gross things like Bacillus, a bacteria that’s found in soil. To clean your earbuds, take an old toothbrush and brush into the earpiece. Make sure it’s facing downwards so the dirt and grime fall off instead of falling deeper into the ear bud. After, take a cotton bud, dampen it with rubbing alcohol, and pat it over the bud to pick up anything that was left behind. Then, take a rubbing alcohol wipe (or a wipe that’s been sprayed with 70% isopropyl alcohol) and really wipe those earphones down. Also, please don’t share your earphones with anyone else—it’s super unhygienic.
What you’ll need: lukewarm water, dishwashing liquid, lint-free towel
Sometimes, it’s easy to think that glasses are an extra layer of protection from debris, but in reality, they can be a source of eye-irritating bacteria if not properly cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning your spectacles is easy—just run it over warm water, add a drop of dishwashing liquid, and wipe dry with a lint-free towel. You may also dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe gently around the lenses and frames. Take note, though, that if you prefer to try the rubbing alcohol option, you might have to check with your eye doctor or the shop where you bought your glasses to make sure that your lenses aren’t treated with special coatings.
What you’ll need: vinegar, towel
You can’t avoid using a doorknob on a daily basis and neither can everyone else in your office building or your household—so it’s no surprise that doorknobs are packed with germs and bacteria. In fact, there’s so much bacteria that one swab will fill an entire petri dish with bacteria—14 different colonies each with over a million bacteria. The good news is that you don’t need a lot to disinfect every doorknob in your home. All you need is some vinegar and a towel. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so just dampen a towel and wipe your doorknobs. It’s a good thing that doorknobs aren’t porous, which means most viruses that can be transferred to a doorknob can only last for up to 24 hours. You might want to consider cleaning it on a daily basis.
4. Mobile Phone
Whether you’re stuck home or not, you’re probably always glued to your phone. Did you know that your phone is three times dirtier than a toilet seat? If you aren’t disinfecting your phone on a regular basis, it’s about time you start. To clean your phone, power it off, spray a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol onto a microfiber cloth, and wipe your entire phone clean. For a thorough scrub down, take a cotton swab, dampen it with a bit of alcohol, and gently dab it over the earpiece, charger ports, and speakers. To keep it clean, make sure you wash your hands regularly.
What you’ll need: chlorine bleach, water
Yup, germs can spread through laundry, so it’s important to disinfect your dirty clothes. In fact, an average person has about one-tenth of a gram of fecal matter in his or her underwear (we know, gross), and in case you didn’t know, a single gram of fecal matter contains millions of viruses. To disinfect, add ¾ cup of chlorine bleach to your bleach-safe laundry. If you’ve got colored pieces, oxygen bleach (or color-safe bleach) is also a good alternative to disinfect dirty clothes.
What you’ll need: disinfecting wipes, lint-free cloth, dishwashing liquid, compressed air
You might not think about it much, but your laptop’s keyboard is actually 20,000 dirtier than a toilet seat. Yup, go ahead and reach out for those disinfecting wipes and get to cleaning—but make sure your laptop’s off first. To clean your laptop, start by mixing a bit of dishwashing liquid into a bowl of warm water. Then, take your lint-free cloth, dip it into the mixture, and wipe your laptop’s lid and bottom panel. Rinse your cloth with clean water, then wipe the surface again. Then, get a dry cloth and wipe your laptop down a third time to avoid water streaks. To clean your keyboard, you’ll need a can of compressed air to remove crumbs and other grime stuck beneath the keys. Then, take your disinfecting wipes and dab over the keys.
What you’ll need: microfiber cloth
There’s a good chance you use your tablet everywhere you go, whether you’re lounging in the living room or, you know, dropping a deuce. So, you shouldn’t be surprised that your tablet’s screen has got a lot of nasties—in fact, it might even contain “hazardous” levels of bacteria that can make you sick. It’s easy to clean your tablet on a regular basis. Just take a micro-fiber cloth and gently wipe around until your tablet is free from fingerprints and other grime. You can also use a damp cloth for stubborn stains and marks—just make sure to wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth to avoid moisture seeping into the tablet.
To disinfect, Google has recommended soap or ordinary household cleaning wipes for their Android gadgets, and Apple's support page assures users they can use 70% isopropyl alcohol or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Another way to keep your tablet in pristine condition is by making sure your hands are clean before using it.
8. Remote Control
What you’ll need: cotton cloth, rubbing alcohol, cotton buds, toothpick, lint free cloth
When was the last time you ever thought about cleaning your remote control? If you haven’t thought about it yet, you most probably have never cleaned it. And here’s why you should: Remote controls are a “major germ hub” and one of the dirtiest things you have at home. It’s a good thing they’re easy to clean. Just remove the batteries, dampen a piece of cloth with rubbing alcohol, and wipe down the entire surface. Then, take a cotton bud, soak it in rubbing alcohol, and clean around the buttons. You can also use a toothpick to lift the grime that gets stuck in the crevices. Then, make sure to dry the remote control with a lint-free cloth before putting the batteries back in.
What you’ll need: rubbing alcohol, cloth or UV light or iron
We all know this: Cash is super filthy. They stay in circulation for five to 15 years which means thousands, if not, millions of people have touched those bills sitting in your wallet. In fact, researchers found hundreds of species of microorganisms living on paper bills. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl, research has also shown that some banknotes carry pathogens E.coli, Salmonella, and more—including COVID-19. To disinfect your bills, dampen a cotton cloth with rubbing alcohol, wipe each banknote down both sides and let it dry. Alternatively, you can place your bills in between clothes or fabric and put an iron over it for a few seconds to allow heat to kill the bacteria. If you have a UV light sterilizer, you can also run your bills under it to destroy the germs and other microbes in your cash.
Or, if that all sounds a bit much, you can just make sure to wash your hands properly every time you handle money!
What you’ll need: cotton buds, rubbing alcohol
If you want your cords to be clean and look good as new (especially white cords that tend to develop some grayness over time), you’d be surprised at how easy it is to make them look pristine again. Just grab a few cotton buds, soak them in rubbing alcohol, and use them to wipe down the cables. Rubbing alcohol is good for disinfecting and removing grease and dirt build-up while the cotton buds make it easy to target smaller, slimmer marks.
* This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.