Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.
Many of us are cleaning enthusiasts and we use antibacterials to clean dirty surfaces.
But beyond the environmental cost of using these products, is it money well invested?
There is no doubt that some of the germs that lurk in our homes hurt us.
For example, you must be very careful when preparing raw meat so that dangerous bacteria are not spread.
The old habit of washing a raw chicken is particularly bad since that will not have more impact on the bacteria but the water that touches the chicken can splash and spread through your kitchen without you noticing, which could make you or your family sick .
So do not wash the chickens .
But back to the Antibacterial: how effective they are to clean surfaces?
To find out, the Trust in Me team is a doctor ( Trust Me I’ma Doctor , a BBC television program) recruited three families and gave them a removable kitchen countertop to each.
At the beginning of our test we asked the volunteers to clean their tables with antibacterial wipes.
Then we asked them to use their countertops or countertops as they normally would in their kitchen and to take samples regularly to see how long the surface was still free of germs.
Finally, we sent these samples to the Lynn Dover microbial physiologist at the University of Northumbria, in Newcastle, to analyze them.
What did you find?
“The first samples we analyzed were taken an hour after the tables were cleaned and there was already evidence of the presence of bacteria and fungi,” he said.
That is, almost immediately after disinfecting the surface, the microbes had already begun to recolonize the surfaces.
“The samples taken 12 hours after being cleaned showed quite dramatic growth, with many different types of fungi,” Dover revealed.
So if you’re using antibacterial products in hopes of keeping microbes away, you could be wasting your time and money.
Not only will they grow again , and quickly, but the vast majority of the microbes that live in our homes are harmless and some are even important to maintain a good state of health.
Rags and sponges
Worrying excessively about surfaces does not make much sense anyway since kitchen surfaces are not the place where most harmful microbes hide.
An NSF International investigation in which 22 families were asked to collect samples of the 30 most-used items in their home -from the counter-top to cell phones- found that those most contaminated with coliform bacteria were, ironically, the rags and sponges used to clean.
In fact, it was estimated that 75% of rags and sponges were contaminated with this family of bacteria, which include E. coli.
Other places where they were found were in:
- 45% of kitchen sinks or sinks
- 32% of countertops or countertops
- 18% of the cutting boards
They also took samples in bathrooms where they found coliform bacteria in:
- 27% of toothbrush holders
- 9% of bathroom door handles
Although most coliform bacteria are not particularly dangerous , they are used as a record of the presence of fecal contamination.
They do not normally reach your kitchen through contact with human feces but with raw meat, which is often contaminated with fecal bacteria.
Kitchen rags usually contain many of these bacteria because they are moist and warm , the ideal environment for germs.
Chuck Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona who studies how diseases spread through the environment, agrees that sponges and dish towels are almost always the dirtiest thing you have in your home.
His works have shown that compared to a toilet seat, where there are about 50 bacteria every 6.5 square centimeters, in sponges there are 10 million and in rags a million.
In other words, your kitchen sponge could be 200,000 times as dirty as your toiletseat .
If you are worried about the harmful bugs in your kitchen, the best thing you can do is to keep your sponge and rags as dry as possible and put them in bleach once a week.
Good Housekeeping magazine also has other tips on how to clean your sponges, including putting them in the microwave or the dishwasher to kill germs.
As for the cutting boards it is always a good idea to use one for raw meats and one for everything else.
Personally I use wooden cutting boards that clean after use with nothing but water and detergent, using what I-hope-is a reasonably clean sponge.
For a deeper cleaning you can add a splash of vinegar since acetic acid is a good disinfectant.