Microbes In Your Home: Are They Harmful To Your Health?
A microbe is a microorganism. Most people think they are bacteria, but these days a lot of people know that there is a huge diversity in what counts as a microbe. Most microbes can be found nearly everywhere on Earth: from the rich soil to deep-sea hot vents, from the surface of your skin to inside your intestines, and even frozen down below the South Pole ice sheet! Most life on land is microbial… We wouldn’t want to live without them! They recycle nutrients and play vital roles in many food chains and webs – which we also depend upon for our survival.
The question is, are the microbes in our homes bad for our health, and should we be trying to get rid of them?
Are Microbes In Your Home Dangerous?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many different types of microbes, some good and some bad. Most of them we can’t see anyway, and some don’t make us sick at all. However, there are plenty of microbes that will cause illness and these are the ones that we need to manage. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, for instance, there is a good chance that living in a microbe-rich environment could make your condition worse. Allergens are specific molecules that cause an allergic reaction. They can be found on the surface of microbes and they can enter your body through your skin, mouth, and nose – sometimes even your lungs if you breathe them in.
The stronger your immune system is, the better it will be at managing allergens and keeping you healthy. However, if you suffer from allergies and asthma, this could mean that living with a lot of microbes around might make it more difficult for you to stay healthy. There are certain microorganisms that cause food poisoning too, and we can all be affected by these.
On the other hand, healthy bacteria is crucial for our gut health, which has been shown to be incredibly important to our overall health and wellbeing. So, removing all microbes does not necessarily mean that we will be healthier. The reaction that we have to microbes is often dependent on whether we have an existing allergy or not, and the strength of our immune systems. The key to staying healthy at home is to know where the dangerous microbes are likely to build up, so you can keep those areas clean.
How To Keep Bad Microbes Out Of Your Home
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to keep bad microbes out of your home. When you are out and about, you will pick up microbes on your hands from touching things, which you then carry back into your home.
So, make sure you wash your hands after touching public equipment like cash machines and bus poles, to help stop any bad microbes from entering your home. If you are at school or work for a long period of time, then perhaps consider keeping some hand sanitizer in your bag.
This is something that we have all gotten used to during the pandemic, but it’s good practice to carry on all of the time because it prevents bad microbes from entering your home.
Empty The Dishwasher Filter Regularly
The dishwasher is one of the best ways to thoroughly clean your dishes so that they are hygienic enough for you and your family to eat from. However, if you let it sit for too long, then bad microbes can start to grow in the filter. All of the food that is washed off your plates and bowls catches in the filter. Over time, bacteria will feed on it, breaking it down and multiplying. When you use the dishwasher again, that bacteria is being spread all over utensils and crockery. Emptying the filter regularly stops this build-up of bacteria and prevents any bad smells in the kitchen.
Keep Your HVAC System Clean
One of the biggest problems with the HVAC system in your home is that it can spread germs all over the house when not maintained properly. If you don’t clean it regularly, the filters will be teeming with bacteria, which you are circulating around your home every time you run the HVAC system. That’s why it’s important to call in a professional company like DUCTZ regularly to have the air conditioning unit serviced and cleaned. When it is running properly, your HVAC will actually clean the air and remove microbes, but it does the opposite if you don’t look after it.
Change Sponges and Dishcloths Regularly
Sponges and dishcloths are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, especially if you don’t change them regularly. Sponges have been linked to spreading harmful bacteria such as E. coli because they are so porous and retain a lot of moisture, which is perfect for growing microbes. You need to be especially careful with sponges and cloths used to clean up raw meat. Dangerous bacteria can easily spread around and cause illness. So, make sure that you change your sponges regularly.
You can also put them in the microwave for a minute or so to kill off any bacteria before using them.
Clean Doorknobs and Switches Regularly
These are areas that people often forget when it comes to keeping your home clean. However, doorknobs and switches can be covered in microbes from the hands of visitors over time. So, it’s important to wipe them down regularly to reduce any chance of illness spreading in your home. A simple antibacterial cleaner will kill off any dangerous microbes and stop them from moving around your home. You should also clean your TV remote from time to time, for exactly the same reason.
People often assume that all microbes are bad, but this is not always the case. Some microbes can benefit you, such as in fermented food or probiotics, so there are good and bad ones. However, there are a lot of nasty microbes in your home that cause illness if you do not stay on top of them. Follow these tips to deal with the most common sources of dangerous microbes.