The cleaning craze has us dusting our skirting boards and wiping down the hinges of our windows.
But a new report from the Royal Society for Public Health suggests we might not be picking our cleaning battles wisely.
The report says that people should worry less about cleaning floors, walls, and furniture, and concentrate more on hygiene hot spots where harmful microbes can thrive.
The experts also want to take down the myth that being ‘too clean’ is bad for health or causes allergies. They say keeping clean is quite important, actually. So take note, grimy housemates who refuse to do a kitchen wipe-down.
The report explains that the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ popular in the 80s, which suggested that overcleanliness lead to allergies in children, has been scientifically disproven.
Instead of rolling around in our own dirt, what we actually need is diverse exposure to microbes that are mostly harmless, such as those we encounter by going outside the house.
What we don’t need is exposure to dangerous pathogens that put us at risk of infection.
So, yes, we should keep the house clean. But if you’re already rushed off your feet worrying about doing the dusting, the report encourages you to go for a ‘targeted hygiene’ approach rather than worrying about scrubbing your grouting.
The report says that the most important areas to clean are surfaces where you prepare food, utensils, and your hands during and after food preparation.
People should also wash their hands with soap and water before eating, after using the toilet (we hope you’re doing that already), after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, after handling dirty clothing, after playing with pets, after putting out the bin bags, and clearing up pets’ waste, and after caring for someone who’s experiencing vomiting or diarrhoea.
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