What is the Dirtiest Surface in Your House?

This is Dr. Mercola, and today's video is about how to limit your likelihood of getting an infection.

Now, there's a huge mistake most people make when they consider this topic, and they believe that when they get a cough or cold or flu that it's due to some big, bad bug that got them, some virus or some really horrible bacteria.

And yes, these infectious agents do play a role in getting an infection. But it's really important to understand that it's mostly not related to the infectious agent so much as it is to our behavior, specifically behavioral and lifestyle choices made within the few days preceding the actual development of the infection.

Typical challenges that would contribute to getting sick are not sleeping well, being under a lot of stress or eating lots of sugar. Those are the big ones. So, if you're doing any of those, your risk of an infection will be radically elevated. Nevertheless, we do encounter infectious agents in our environment, and I just wanted to highlight a few of them so that you can be aware of them and potentially avoid them, because it's really not great to be exposed to these agents; it's pretty easy to avoid them.

One very common one that many aren't aware of is encountered in the grocery store. Of course, we all have to purchase food. Most of us get it from the grocery store, and most of us use shopping carts. Typically, shopping cart handles in either grocery or department stores are one of the most infected surfaces in any community. This calls for some caution. A bit later in the video, I'll discuss some methods for dealing with this, or you can use gloves, especially in winter.

Now, in your own homes, there are some surfaces that could be problematic, and the first one that often comes to mind might be your toilet seat. Well, there are a few areas that are much more infected than your toilet seat, and one would be your kitchen sink. Another though, especially if you're a big computer user like me, is your keyboard, which rarely gets cleaned (one key reason it's often so contaminated). There are some simple steps to take to clean it, which I'll show you shortly.

These simple process, using peroxide especially, can also be used to clean stains on your clothes. I happen to really enjoy a salad most every day, and I typically use something like balsamic vinegar. If you've ever used balsamic vinegar, then you know it's very dark in color and has a tendency to splash as you're eating it. These little droplets, especially on white fabric like the one I'm wearing, will create a really stubborn stain.

Through trial and error, and ruining shirts, I learned that peroxide can be used. I use a little 2x2 gauze pad, but you can use a piece of cloth, saturated with peroxide and a little soap. As long as you do it immediately after the clothing is stained, you can actually clean it very effectively.

The peroxide also works really well for blood stains, and as a physician, I've had my share of encounters with blood in my career and ruined a lot of shirts before I knew how to remedy stains. But peroxide, especially used when the stain is fresh, is just beyond phenomenal. It's essentially a light bleach and will get the stain out. In fact, it's good for most stains I've encountered.

So, use a little bit of peroxide and a little bit of soap and rub it into the stain with a 2x2 gauze pad or clean cloth. Phenomenal! This way, you can avoid a lot of toxic laundry stain removers, which are full of chemicals you'll want to stay away from if you can.
With that, let's have a little demo of using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning.

[showing bottle of basic store-bought hydrogen peroxide in brown bottle]

Now, this is the hydrogen peroxide I use, just a simple, inexpensive bottle; probably costs about a dollar or so. What I do is, take a 2x2 gauze pad, (which is handy for me, as I get them at work) and I just invert the bottle and saturate the gauze (you may use any clean cloth), then just wipe the keyboard. First, make sure your computer is off before you begin, in case the keys get pressed down a bit during cleaning. Alternately, just make sure you're in a program which will be unaffected by pressure on the keyboard. Clean all along the surface of the keyboard, and it'll do a wonderful job of really taking off all the dirt and infectious agents that tend to accumulate during the week. Don't forget to clean the mouse or TrackWell. (I happen to prefer TrackWells. I'm a big fan)

I have a tendency to eat while I'm working. So my keyboard gets pretty dirty, actually, and would be quite dirty if I didn't regularly clean it in this way.

Another tip is: To get crumbs out of the keyboard, just turn the keyboard over and tap it a few times. This will help remove other debris that gets caught in there.

So, if you do this regularly, you'll have a nice, clean keyboard, and impress those who see it!

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