It has been a while since I’ve written about germs and my generally strong feelings about the subject. It’s strange, because I am not what anyone would mistake for a clean freak. But I think I have a good perspective. And I feel even more superior after having read, Everything You Know About Your Personal Hygiene Is Wrong. That’s in reference to you. Not me.
I’m not going to wade through the whole list. If you are interested, I recommend clicking over. There are minor points worth noting like the fact that antibacterial soap is not only bad for your hormonal chemistry, but it’s no better than ordinary soap at keeping you healthy. There is something about how stupid the “5 second rule” is, but you should have already known that. And there is some really interesting information about air dryers and how they are less sanitary because of how long they take; while your hands are wet, they are “bacteria magnets.”
There is also a slide show of things that are dirtier than your toilet. Number 1: your carpet. In fact, the article spends a lot of time noting that just about everything is dirtier than your toilet. It even offers this charming observation, “In most cases, it’s safer to make a salad on a toilet seat than it is to make one on a cutting board.” I’m not sure just how seriously we can take this. For one thing, I wash my cutting board a few times per night. But more to the point: are the worst bacteria really in higher abundances on the cutting board than the toilet seat? I’m skeptical. But it’s probably a good idea to take more care with your kitchen cleaning.
This leads me to an issue that I am absolutely obsessed with: toilet seats. Okay folks, this is so easy. When toilets flush, they spray fecal matter all around the room. The article says up to six feet away, but it really depends upon your toilet. Certainly those industrial ones must spray the stuff out of the bathroom and halfway into the food court. But when you’re out, what are you going to do? At home, you can do something really simple: close the fucking lid! When people use my bathroom at home, I make sure they understand this. Nothing is more important in the bathroom. Also: I would keep your toothbrush inside some enclosure. It isn’t just fecal matter that’s disgusting. Dust is disgusting too. Trust me, you don’t want to know.
Now let’s talk about your body. Your belly button is disgusting! But don’t pick at it; wash it! The same goes for those toes, although the article doesn’t discuss this. Here’s something personally gross: my two feet have different bacteria and fungus growing. I know this because they smell disgusting in completely different ways. Anyway, clean these areas! It’s even more important than your anus, which has been designed by evolution to be in a fairly safe location. Still, clean it too. But what you do instead, is shower every day. You shampoo your hair—some of you fools do it twice! Just stop that. You only need to bathe a couple times a week. So save some time and do it less. But when you do it, get in there and work those disgusting parts. And don’t worry about your hair!
I hope this has been helpful to you. I know it’s made me feel better. There are basically three takeaways here. First, close that toilet lid. Second, clean your kitchen well. And third, wash the disgusting bits of your body more thoroughly less often than you probably want to.
And stay off the floor. It’s disgusting.