Clean what? Seriously?

I’ve been a loyal reader of Prevention magazine for years — starting way back when I was a kid and my parents subscribed. It was kind of a freaky, crunchy, vitamin-obsessed thing then, but has morphed into more of a healthy-lifestyle, woman-oriented magazine today. It has pretty much perfected the “bite-size chunks” approach, offering lots of little health tidbits in addition to short articles, beauty tips, recipes, and exercise regimens.

I look forward to getting it every month, but had to laugh at an article in this month’s issue about how to foil the “10 Worst Germ Hot Spots.” A few pearls (you do these already, right?)…

  • Take the aerator out of your faucet (the little metal screen when you unscrew the tip) and soak it in a diluted bleach solution (here’s the kicker) once a week.
  • While you’re at it, keep the bleach solution out and clean the rubber flange thingy covering your garbage disposal (yes, every week).
  • Squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the ketchup bottle in a restaurant or swipe with a disinfecting wipe (no doubt the salt and pepper shakers too). (Sorry, grabbing it with a napkin isn’t good enough — the little germies squeeze right through.)
  • Don’t trust that public soap dispenser either — germ magnet (actually the article said “fecal matter” UGH.) Wash your hands with soap and hot water and use hand sanitizer to be safer.
  • And of course you’re wiping down your refrigerator seals at least once a week with that bleach or a disinfectant?

Really, I’m used to living on the edge. I still ask for lemon in my water and iced tea at restaurants. But I had no idea I had one foot over the precipice even at home. The heck with having guests remove their shoes — it better be cleanroom suits all around (for your safety, not ours). 250px-cleanroom_suit

In another story this month, a vet offered suggestions for how to break your cat of  bad habits. I skimmed eagerly over how to stop kitty from jumping up on the counters (clearly not a problem at my house, too clean), attacking your ankles (they do this?), or scratching the furniture (only recently a problem, and only with one chair we are planning to get recovered anyway).

But, alas, no advice for how to stop the early-morning wake-up calls (4:00 a.m. this morning, thank you).

If it had told me how to solve that little puzzle (in a way that didn’t involve violence), I’d have renewed my subscription for the next 20 years…and maybe even wiped out my bagless vacuum with diluted bleach and sprayed the doormat with Lysol to boot.

Vacuums don’t clean houses. People clean houses.
~ Marie Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond


  1. Robin said,

    Friday, March 13, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Any tips in that article on how to open in inward-swinging public restroom door when exiting the restroom? Feel kind of silly wrapping the door handle in a paper towel before pulling it open. On the other hand you never know what might be lingering on those door handles. Just a pet peeve I have, and I am not even a germaphobe.

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, March 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I do the paper-towel wrapping myself, and always hope the trashcan is nearby so I can fling the door in wide and toss the towel while sprinting through the doorway. (I have also used the “open with left pinkie” method to minimize contact with handle.)

  3. pawsinsd said,

    Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Hey there, you’re scaring me and we’re in the last throes of packing up and moving and I’ve been tailing my husband with a vaccum cleaner everywhere we go and cleaning every surface, driving him nuts.

    I haven’t heard from you in a while so thought I’d check in. We ‘re moving west of TX, about 1400 miles. Just wanted to check in while my brain and fingers are still moving.

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Dee, just left you a message on your blog. Been following your job search and move and wish you all the best in your new home! It sounds so adventurous to be moving to a new place — I’ve never lived more than 40 miles from home! Maybe someday…

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