5 Thoughtless Bad Habits You Don’t Expect

By: Dr. Alwyn Wong | Allergies | Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 02:57 PM

78427400You probably go about your daily routine and don’t give a second thought to all of the thoughtless habits that you have when it comes to taking care of household chores. But, you may want to consider five bad habits that you do thoughtlessly that may be negatively affecting your health by weakening your immune system and increasing your infection risk. Making simple changes and letting go of your bad habits will help to improve your health.

Bad Habit #1 – Washing Your Clothes in Cold Water

While this seems like a great way to save energy and money all while helping the environment, washing your clothes in cold water is hazardous to your health. You may think that your washing machine is clean, when it fact it harbours significant amounts of E.Coli which aren’t killed in cold temperatures. Additionally, your clothes contain germs that you have come into contact with throughout the day, which can range from E.Coli, to Salmonella to Noro virus. If you wash your clothes in cold water, these germs aren’t being killed, which means that they could negatively affect your immune system and increase your infection risk. In order to kill most bacteria, viruses and dust mites, it is recommended that you wash your clothes at a temperature of at least 60 degrees Celsius.

Bad Habit #2 – Washing Your Undies with Household Laundry (tea towels, etc.)

You may be throwing all of your dirty laundry into one load to save time and money, but washing your underwear with dish towels and other similar household laundry is definitely a bad habit that you’re going to want to break immediately. Underwear frequently has E.Coli and Staphylococcus aureus on them. These bugs will be transferred from your underwear to your dish towels and then onto your dishes and utensils which go directly into your mouth, thereby increasing your infection risk. In order to be safe, kitchen laundry and bathroom laundry should be washed separately, both at a high temperature to kill the germs that can negatively affect your immune system.

Bad Habit #3 – Using the Same Utensils from Start to Finish of Meal Preparation

You may not even think about it, but using the same knives, forks, spoons and spatulas throughout the preparation of your family’s dinner is opening up the door to foodborne illness. Raw meat, fish and poultry all contain dangerous bacteria that can make you and your loved ones incredibly sick with food poisoning. For individuals with a weakened immune system, the risk of food poisoning is even greater. Be sure to wash your utensils thoroughly after they have come into contact with raw meat, fish and/or poultry.

Bad Habit #4 – Using Kitchen Clothes or Sponges to Wipe Countertops and Other Kitchen Surfaces

Kitchen countertops are a breeding ground for bacteria. Germs can survive on kitchen surfaces for several hours so it is vital that you clean your countertops, cutting boards, utensils, dish clothes and tea towels clean in order to minimize infection risk. Don’t use sponges or reusable kitchen clothes to clean surfaces as food particles can adhere to these surfaces and make clean up difficult because of the spread of bacteria. Instead use paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces and dispose of them immediately after.

Bad Habit #5 – Using the Same Dish Towel to Dry Dishes and Dry Your Hands

Your hands transport germs throughout your house and using the same towel to dry your hands and dry your dishes contaminates clean dishes with potentially harmful germs from your hands. It may seem inconvenient, but having separate towels available in the kitchen for these two tasks will drastically minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

There you have it – five bad habits that you may not have even realized you were doing that could be negatively affecting your immune system by allowing nasty germs into your body and increasing your infection risk. Changing these five habits is simple and requires minimal effort but will have a long lasting effect on your health.


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