In case you are wondering, "D" is my husband -- Dave Liu! As you've probably noticed, I don't update this blog often but I may post more as I've linked this to my Google+ account.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Household Hygiene

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry drops his girlfriend's toothbrush in the toilet but doesn't tell her and she uses it? You may be using a similarly contaminated toothbrush without even knowing it.

From a WSJ article today about the results of a Harris poll of daily household-cleaning habits:

"Nearly 46% of the respondents said they have never sanitized their toothbrush, although it is recommended that you do so daily using peroxide or mouthwash, to protect against germs from the toilet bowl. Fecal matter and bacteria, it turns out, can spray as much as 20 feet upward when a toilet is flushed, Dr. Tierno says. So remember to lower the seat cover, and keep toothbrushes off the counter."

The research was funded by Brillo (yep, the sponge maker), and led by Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center and author of "The Secret Life of Germs." Here are the the other findings from the study summarized in a table in the article:

Bacterial Infection Sources in the Home and Preventative Measures
Source How Solution
Sponges/ scrubbers Provide warm, moist breeding ground for bacteria Change weekly; disinfect with antibacterial product or mixture of bleach and water; boil in water
Vacuum cleaners Can recirculate contaminated dust Empty at least once a month; filter with a High Efficiency Particle Arresting , or HEPA, filter.
Tooth- brushes Can be contaminated by fecal matter when toilet is flushed Rinse with peroxide or mouthwash daily to sanitize; put down toilet seat before flushing.
Garbage can Waste and debris can create a breeding ground for bacteria Disinfect once a week, wiping with a disposable sponge; use antibacterial garbage bags.

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