As kids, we heard, “Don’t put money in your mouth!” As adults, we forget, but money (coins and bills) carry bacteria. A new investigation, however, reports that ATM keypads may be the mother-of-all germ-carriers.
Who doesn’t love money? But little do we keep in mind that paper cash can carry more bacteria than a public toilet. Germs can survive on most surfaces for a couple of days. According to an article in Time Magazine, paper money can deliver a flu virus for up to 17 days.
So what do we do?
We can wear gloves before touching cash. Or wash our hands with soap and directly afterwards. Or use a squirt of sanitizer. But is that realistic?
One of the biggest germ-delivering culprits, according to a study conducted in New York City, are ATM machines. Keypads from the indoor and outdoor bank machines were swabbed for microbes.
The majority of the microbes discovered were from human skin. Bacteria from household surfaces (kitchen counters, televisions, sinks, and more) were discovered as well. Another large finding was food—several strangers’ fast food lunch transferred from their hands to the keypad. Yuk!
Clean, Disinfect, Sanitize
Aside from keeping our hands away from our faces, we can try to wash them when possible; that will help keep germs at bay. Realistically, however, we can’t avoid some contact with bacteria and/or viruses. Besides, we need to build our immune systems—one way to do so is by having the body naturally fight off unwanted bugs.
Cleaning with soap or detergent removes germs from the surface of objects. It won’t eradicate bacteria, but it lowers the amount of microbes in that location. Disinfecting actually kills germs, but you have to use chemicals or a natural formula comprised of various liquids. Sanitizing means you either clean or disinfect. Any of the three options you choose will lower your risk of catching what’s been hanging around.
What to Disinfect?
Think about all the objects and surfaces your hands touch throughout your home. Then think about all the family members and friends and where their hands have been. When it’s cold and flu season, try to wipe down the following everyday, if possible:
-toilet flushing handle
-refrigerator door handle
-computer keyboard and mouse
What to Use as a Sanitizer
A mixture of antibacterial soap and water can suffice. You might want to use something more potent, but natural. DIY cleaning mixtures can often include vinegar, essential oils, and even vodka!
Try and stay away from bleach products as they’ve shown to cause respiratory issues, exacerbate asthma or headaches, and can cause great distress to skin when on contact.
There are many “green” cleaning products on the market today. Here’s to keeping a healthy home and family (or at least trying our best!)