Clean Up Your Act

Five ways to keep your environment clean (and keep yourself healthy).


You know how they say that cleanliness is next to godliness? That old adage may need to be updated for the new millennium to read “cleanliness is next to healthiness.” Here are five easy and effective ways to make sure your home and office stay clean, which means you, and your loved ones, stay healthy.


Dirty dishes=dirty sink

You may be shocked to know how much bacteria stays in your sink even after you have washed those dinner dishes. Germs that breed in the sink can get on your hands, your sponges or scrub brush, or—worse—your food. Clean your sink with a mixture of bleach and water once a day—and make sure it goes down the drain. The germs will, too!


Keep your toothbrush high and dry

Not only does your toothbrush need to dry out after use, but it also needs to be kept well clear of your toilet. This may seem elementary, but did you know flushing the toilet sends germs floating around the bathroom for up to two hours afterward? 

The best place for a toothbrush is a cupboard, where it can air out and be protected. Keep that toothbrush out of sight—and the germs out of mind.

Where the hands go, germs follow

Think of how many things your hands touch each day. Now think about the things that everyone in your household also touches: we are talking about doorknobs, light switches, computer keyboards (both at home and at office), and that almighty remote control. Cleaning these frequently-touched items even more frequently is a smart move on your part…and helps your family’s and co-workers’ health.


Sing happy birthday...twice

Sure, you are vigilant about keeping yourself healthy by washing your hands frequently. But here’s the thing: putting a squirt of soap on your palm and quickly swiping your hands under the faucet is not enough. You need to lather up and rub your hands together  for the length of time it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds. Then your next birthday will be happy and healthy indeed.


Dump stagnant water

Everyone knows to use mosquito spray and netting around bedding areas to avoid attracting mosquitoes, who can spread dengue fever and malaria. But did you know mosquitoes lay thousands of eggs in stagnant water, including the many places in the home that hold water like flower vases, pet water dishes and fish tanks? Change the water in these containers at least once a week to help prevent diseases, and wash them thoroughly. That way you will show those mosquitoes they are not invited into your home!


Anne Walls is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California.