Sunday, July 11, 2010

Talk about Dirt

I was reading an article the other day in a new magazine in circulation here in Hurghada. Although most of the magazine consists of ads, no, wait I take that back, the entire magazine is made up of ads, some of them have articles attached.

One such article was done by a home cleaning company, and their idea to attract customers was to completely disgust you by how many beasties are potentially living in your house, sleeping in your bed, chilling on your kitchen counter. Well, for me it worked, I was grossed out, but not jumping at the gun to call this amazing cleaning company. Instead, it inspired me to find out for myself what I can do to eliminate, or at least reduce, these pests in the house. (Did I mention that the article only detailed the beasties, not how to get rid of them? lol. Let's just call up these cleaning people, they must have miraculous means of eliminating mould spores and dust mites from my house. hahahaha).

Let's consider this blog a follow up to the previous beastie blog. :D And before reading, a collective **EWWWWWW** please. ;)

Anyone living in Egypt is fully aware of the fact that it is DUSTY. It is almost impossible to keep your house free of dust, particularly when you're living in areas like Hurghada or Sharm. With the sea and sand on one side, and desert on the other, even the lightest breeze will flick up dust into the air. No big deal, until you consider the beasties that accompany dust, the dust mites.

These things are frigging ugly, not to mention alien looking. And they live pretty much
everywhere. Considering over 80 % of the dust in your house is made up of human "dander" (which is really just a polite way of saying discarded skin), these dust mites have a smörgåsbord of human buffet lying around everywhere. They feast on our dander, so thrive in areas such as couches, beds, cushions, etc. In fact, it is estimated that the weight of a two year old mattress is no less than 10 % dust mite feces and carcasses. (I'm grossed out again already :S).

So what can we do to get rid of this critters. Well, firstly, toss out your feather and down pillows. These provide the perfect environment for dust mites to lay their eggs and nest. Replace them with synthetic material pillows and covers, as these are less "hospitable." Next, make sure you're
changing your bed sheets at least once a week, and that you're washing them in hot water. For those of us with pets, keep the pets off your bed, as dust mites are just as happy to feast on animal dander as they are on human dander, and really, do they need MORE dust to feed on here? :p

For those of us less inclined to make our beds in the morning (as lets face it, talk about a pointless job, you just mess it back up at night haha), leaving your bed unmade in the morning actually helps to dry it out. Dust mites love damp areas, so a dry bed is a "cleaner" bed. Wash curtains, or replace them with vinyl shades and blinds.

But after all this, really what's the deal with dust mites? Although they do not pose any serious health threats, they do contribute to wheezing, and are suspected to worsen asthma in many people. So get rid of the dust mites, and breathe easier.

Next up...your kitchen sink. Keeping in mind that we prepare our meals in the kitchen, in my mind it ranks as the priority place in any home that MUST be kept clean. Bacteria lies in wait for any unsuspecting individual to leave out their bread, or cheese, and voila! Green bread, Crusty Cheese! (Ewww).

While most of us think that regularly wiping down the counter tops and stoves will help keep the beasties at bay, one of the more filthy parts of your kitchen is actually your kitchen sponge. Yes, the sponge that you use to clean your dishes with, may in fact be dirtier than the dishes were in the first place. So what to do?

Firstly, replace your dish sponge every other week, ideally every week if you're doing a buttload of dishes. To sterilize your dish sponge, you can do the following:
  • Rinse sponge in dish soap (anti-bacterial if you can find it)
  • Throw in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (and make sure you watch for it burning haha)
Voila, sterilized dish sponge.

If you're like me, you do not have the amenity of access to a microwave (ahh the wonders of "furnished" apartments in Egypt). But not to worry, just rinse your sponge in a water/bleach solution, and that will do the trick too.

Last but not least, and this one might shock you...

Your computer on average has 400 times more bacteria living on it than a toilet. (no, you did not read that wrong).

This was probably the most disgusting thing I learned. So what can you do?

Firstly, wash your hands. The old idiom that always seems to return to haunt people. In this case, it's true. By ensuring you have clean hands before using your computer, you will help reduce the harmful bacteria that have made a home of your computer.
Next, to clean the keyboard turn it upside down, and shake gently to dislodge stuff stuck underneath. Use compressed air to push out the extra junk. With a cotton swab, use either computer cleaning solution, rubbing alcohol, or a solution of two parts water to one part dish soap, dip your swab in, and run along your keys. Make sure you get to the bits in between each key. Finally, run over the keyboard with an antibacterial wipe.

Now I know that freaking out about every beastie or bacteria that you may encounter is a little excessive, but if you can go just that little bit extra, you may end up improving your overall health, and breathing easier! Now who needs inspiration to clean?!


  1. Re, I believe in building up my immune system...although the kitchen sponge one is a good point, especially seeing as how they begin to pong after a while

  2. Yes! and the kitchen cloth too. haha. I hate how they make your hands smell :S