Posts Tagged ‘disinfectant wipes’

Germ Patrol

March 21, 2016


When we think of spring cleaning, our minds immediately go to purging our closets, uncluttering our cupboards and giving things a good old fashioned scrubbing. While that is a great practice, there are little things that we often overlook that may be harboring nasty germs. When was the last time you cleaned your gym stuff?

Earbuds: They get tossed in your bag or your pocket with who knows-what-else, and then stuck inside your ears. Not only are they covered with bacteria from the bottom of your bag, or inside of your pocket, they are also covered in earwax and sweat from your ears. Take a moment to think about how gross that is, and then take action!
Use a toothpick to gently remove any visable gunk, and then wipe them down with a cloth that has been very lightly saturated in rubbing alcohol. Make sure the cloth is just damp, so that no moisture gets inside the earpiece. They will not only look and feel better, but they will sound better too!

Fitness Tracker:  We wear these items religiously on our wrists, day and night, and especially when we are working up a sweat. Do you ever think about cleaning them? Some trackers are water resistant and can be worn in the shower, like the Nike Fuel Band, while others need to be removed first. Make a habit of wiping down the band with either rubbing alcohol or a disinfectant wipe after hitting the gym. Would you take a shower and then put your used socks back on? Then don’t put your sweat covered tracker back on either. Most devices have manufacturer’s suggested methods for cleaning them. Fitbit suggests using a toothpick in the computer port in the back to gently remove any build up, and then using Q-Tips lightly soaked in alcohol to wipe the back area clean. (Are you seeing a pattern here yet?)

Gym Bag: We lay it on the floor, inside a locker and fill it with sweaty clothes and dirty sneakers, yet we don’t often think about cleaning it. If you use a washable bag, you are in luck. Toss it in the washer and dryer to freshen it up often. For many other bags, it isn’t quite so simple. Nylon bags can be wiped down with a soapy cloth and air dried. Wiping it down inside and out with an antibacterial wipe regularly is a good practice. Don’t forget the handles!

Yoga Mat: If you tote your own, its a good idea to keep it clean. Wipe it down with a solution of water and apple cider vinegar to disinfect it naturally and keep the rubber from degrading. Airdry it fully open and away from direct sunlight. If you use the mats available at the gym or studio that are shared by others, this might not be possible. Tote some antibacterial wipes along to give it good once over before beginning your practice.There are also special mat sprays available from a variety of sources, or you can make your own. Simply fill a small spray bottle with purified water (spring, distilled or filtered,) and a couple of drops of teatree oil and a drop of lavendar oil. Teatree oil is a natural antifungal and antibacterial and lavender helps  relaxation  and relieves tension. While you’re at it, give your sneakers a good squirt.

Phone: This is probably the most handled and germiest thing we own. It goes everywhere we go, and provides tunes to push us through our sweatiest of workouts. Show it some love, and clean it off. Apple does not advise using anything more than a lint free cloth to clean off their iPhones and iPads. Other sites claim a lint free cloth soaked in a little, you guessed it, alcohol is ok once in awhile. Apple also sells something called iKlenz spray, which is approved for use on their products. Using a screen protector is helpful as that can be wiped off, or easily and inexpensively replaced. The cases we use can be cleaned, and depending on the material they are made of, many can be removed and washed with a mild soap and water solution. Check with the manufacturer as to how you can clean your case.

Sneakers: Washing and drying sneakers isn’t a good idea, as it can damage the midsoles. If you do choose to put them in the washing machine, use a gentle cycle, and stuff them with newspaper to hold their shape while air drying. Alternatively, use a toothbrush to get the mud off of them, and a damp sudsy cloth to the uppers. Many companies from Amazon to Foot Locker sell a sneaker cleaning spray that is said to be very effective. A little squirt of mat spray (see above) or sprinkling them with baking soda after wearing them, helps to control the dampness and odor.

Now that you know what to do, get going and freshen up those germy gym accessories  today!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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How To Stay Healthy

February 5, 2015

It’s the height of cold and flu season, and germs are absolutely everywhere. We all know that we should wash our hands thouroughly with soap and water and avoid touching our faces as a precaution. We also know the subway pole at rush hour is probably more germ ridden than a public toilet seat, but sometimes we have to touch it anyways.


But what else do we touch that could potentially be a cesspool of germs?

When was the last time you wiped down both sides of your cell phone, and your earbuds? Do you wipe the light switches and door knobs in your home? How about the refrigerator door handle? Do you ever clean the remote control, or the railings of your staircase? Your key- board and mouse? A no brainer.

You can’t control the air quality when trapped in a plane or train, but you can take a few minutes to disinfect your seat, armrests and tray tables. So what if someone looks at you like you are crazy? If it keeps me healthy, I can take the smirk of a stranger. When I boarded a flight last summer that didn’t smell so good, the row behind me was happy to take a disinfectant wipe when they found traces of vomit on their seats. I can’t even think about what is there that we don’t see. (Shudder.)

Warm, moist environments are breeding grounds for germs. Run your washing machine through a cycle with a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar and hot water to clean the machine itself. You can do the same with the dishwasher.

Walk into the gym at the begining of a class, and everything seems clean and fresh. Check it out at the end of the class when the weights, bikes and mats are covered with sweat. Arrive a little early and wipe down your equipment before using it. Trust me, it’s gross.

Many viruses are airborne. If someone is coughing or sneezing near you, try to hold your breath for at least 10 or 15 seconds and turn away, to avoid breathing in the recently released germs.

Much of our immunity is in our stomachs. Your gut has a barrier of healthy bacteria that can prevent the absorbtion of pathogens. Probiotics can enhance this barrier. In addition to taking a probiotic suppliment, you can eat more fermented foods, drink kumbucha, or eat plain yogurt.

Of course the stronger your immune system is, the healthier you will stay. In addition to employing Howard Hughes like tactics to avoid germs, it’s important to maintain good health by eating well, staying hydrated, getting exercise and sufficient sleep.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Avoiding the Flu

January 14, 2013


My office sounds like the TB ward at a hospital; coughing, sneezing, sniffling and more endless coughing. It’s that time of the year again, and according to the Center for Disease Control, the flu has reached epidemic proportions.

A flu shot makes you 62% less likely to catch this severe version of the seasonal bug, and this year’s vaccine is well matched to the most prevalent strain.
Even with the shot, stringent measures are necessary to protect yourself from the flu virus.

Wash you hands regularly. Use soap, warm water and rub your hands together for the time it takes you to sing happy birthday twice. Dry them well.

If you can’t wash your hands, a hand sanitizer like Purell is the next best thing.

Sneeze into your elbow, use a knuckle to press the elevator buttons, and use your elbow to turn off the faucet. The less you actually touch, the less germs you actually spread.

Avoid touching your face, and especially avoid rubbing your eyes. The eyes are not only the “gateway to your soul,” but also a key entry point for germs to get into your system.

Avoid overly crowded places. Being smashed into a subway car at rush hour nose to nose with hundreds of strangers is a sure fire way to spread germs. Holding onto the pole just takes it to the next level. If you can, walk to your destination instead. You will avoid the risk of infection, lower your stress level, and burn a few calories in the process.

If you must take crowded public transportation, be sure to sanitize your hands immediately.  The rest is just unavoidable.

Airplanes are another hotbed of germs. Take some disinfectant wipes along to wipe down your armrests and try tables. Drink water throughout the flight to stay hydrated and keep nasal passages moist.  I have heard people swear by smearing a little antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin on their noses to form a barrier for germs. Old wives tale, or good idea? You be the judge.

I skip the salad bar, especially this time of year. I realize this is one of my freakish germ phobic issues, but think about it. Everyone that goes through the line is touching the same utensils and breathing on the food. If every single person did not just wash their hands before approaching the salad bar (and you KNOW they didn’t) than it is one of the germiest spots around. Now take those hands that just shared tongs with the entire unwashed population of salad lovers and go eat with them. Yep, now you get the picture.

Unless you intend to wear a HAZMAT suit and mask, some exposure to the virus is unavoidable. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthfully and exercise. All of these are factors in building up your immune system.

If you do get the flu, drink lots of fluids, rest and please, stay away from the rest of us until you get better!

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