6 ways you’re bringing unwanted germs into your apartment

There are people who take pride in keeping their homes perfectly clean and tidy, and then there are people who couldn’t care less if clutter begins to stack up in the corners of their living room, bedroom and office. If you’re a member of the latter group, cool.

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If you’re a member of the former group, we have some upsetting news for you — even if you’re a self-proclaimed neat freak, there are probably a few ways that germs are sneaking into your apartment. But instead of losing it and running around spraying a can of Lysol everywhere, check out where exactly those ick factors are hiding and learn more about how you can handle them.

1. Your Shoes

Surprise, surprise — the things on your feet that carry you down dirty sidewalks, onto public transportation, into public restrooms and virtually everywhere else are covered in germs and bacteria. Some are harmless, and some honestly help boost your immune system a little bit. But others can get you or your loved ones sick as they’re tracked around your carpets and hardwood floors. So designate a shoe storage spot near the front door (it doesn’t have to look like a haphazard mess!) and ditch those babies the second you walk in. It also wouldn’t hurt to wipe them down with antibacterial wipes from time to time.

2. Your Purse (And Luggage)

So yeah, your purse is literally one of the most germ-infested things you own. Similar to your shoes, the outside of the bag touches all sorts of icky places when you set it down rather than hang it up. And the inside is constantly bombarded by used tissues, dirty pocket change, and well-handled receipts. Considering all of the places your luggage gets stowed as you travel, we’re not surprised that those bags are icky, too. So rather than throwing your bag on the kitchen counter or sofa, designate a hallway hook for it and clean that thing regularly.

3. Your Coat

It’s surprising how filthy outerwear like coats, gloves, hats, and scarves can get. But just think about how often you wear them and expose them to the elements (like how they start on bar benches but eventually fall on the floor), and then think about how infrequently you toss them in the washing machine or drop them off at the dry cleaners. Blegh. These are also items you don’t want to leave chilling on your couch — or even hanging up in your closet next to your other clean clothes. Use a coat rack in your entryway, and be mindful of how many times you get them cleaned.

4. Your Phone

Just because you’re the only one who typically touches your phone doesn’t mean it’s not covered in germs and bacteria. In fact, most mobile phones have 18 times more bacteria than a toilet handle. So imagine what happens when you chuck your phone on your bed, rest it next to your pillow at night or even place it next to your food on the kitchen counter as you cook. We know, we don’t want to think about it, either. So do yourself a favor and wipe down your phone at least once a week with a simple, tech-safe cleaning solution (we use an isopropyl alcohol-based one).

5. Your Reusable Grocery Bags

Yes, reusable shopping bags are a wonderful way to reduce your personal paper and plastic waste. But no, they are not as hygienic as you probably think they are. Again, think about how many times you take them to the store, place in them in the carts everyone else uses, fill them with foods that can leak (like trays of fresh fish and poultry) and drop them in your car. Now ask yourself how many times you’ve wiped them down or run them through a rinse cycle. If the answer is “Um, never,” now’s the time to change that. Otherwise, you’re exposing your new groceries to old germs and bacteria, and you’re consistently exposing your kitchen space to more and more ick.

6. Your Pets

We know how much you love Fido, but we bet you won’t love to learn about all of the potential parasites, fecal bacteria and more he can track into your home on the bottoms of his paws and even in his pretty coat. While some exposure is good for your immune system, you probably don’t want a lot of the things he finds in your backyard to end up in your blankets on your bed (or even on your carpet). So make a point to bathe your pup as often as is safe for his skin and coat (check with your vet!) so your home can keep its germ count under control.

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This article first appeared on Swirled

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