Better Laundry Habits
Boil your underwear. In long-ago days, all sheets, towels, table cloths, and underwear were separated and boiled.
With the convenience of our electric washing machine, we tend to overlook the fact that underwear is always contaminated by fecal matter and urogenital secretions and excretions. Mixing these with socks and towels and dishcloths is all right if you are going to kill everything anyway. But if you don’t kill them, as in cold water washes, you are mixing the yeast, parasite eggs, bacterial spores, and fungus from underwear with all the other clothing you and your family wear. An enlightened system would be to add an antiseptic to the wash or rinse cycle. Lime water (calcium hydroxide) or iodine based antiseptics seem obviously simple methods to accomplish this. In the absence of this protection, use dryer heat to do your sterilizing. underwear should be dried until too hot to handle.
Bleach can kill a lot, but doesn’t kill Giardia spores and a lot of types of fungus. Don’t rely on bleaching. Besides, your skin absorbs it from clothing, it is quite toxic to you, and can cause mental effects.
Commercial detergents are polluted with PCBs and have cobalt added. Both of these are easily picked up through your skin. Use washing soda and borax in the wash cycle. They do not clean quite as well as modern detergents, but there is less static cling, eliminating the need to put more chemicals in your dryer. For spot removal use homemade bar soap.
Better Kitchen Habits
Once a day, sterilize the sponge or cloth you use to wipe up the table, counter tops and sink. This little piece of contaminated cloth is the most infectious thing in the house, besides the toilet. It’s more dangerous than the toilet because you do not suspect it. sometimes it has a slight odor at first, which may warn you, but most pathogens do not have an odor! As we wipe up droplets of milk, we give the milk bacteria, Salmonellas and Shigellas, a new home to multiply and thrive in. We add crumbs, picking up molds this way. We add dust, picking up parasite eggs and stages. They all feed on the milk and food residue.
As the counter and table and stove get wiped “clean” a film of contamination is left everywhere. A few varieties may die but most of them don’t. The general moisture in the kitchen is enough for them to survive. The cloth or sponge recolonizes the kitchen and dining room table several times a day.
No doubt, the last thing you do before leaving the kitchen is squeeze it dry with your hands. Now all the pathogens are on your hands!
Where do your fingers go? To your mouth to remove a hull or bit of something from your teeth. Or to eat a last bite of something. or to turn a page of the telephone directory. You have just eaten a culture sampling from your own kitchen sponge. In two hours they are already multiplying in the greatest culture system of all: your body! You have given yourself your next sore throat, or cold or headache. The worst possible habit is to wipe a child’s face and hands with the kitchen cloth. Or to have a handy towel hanging from the refrigerator handle.
To sterilize the sponge: drop it into a 50% solution of grain alcohol at the end of each day. Keep a wide mouth glass quart jar handy just for this. Keep the jar tightly closed and out of the reach of children. Dunk your sponge and plop it onto the sink. If you stand it on end in the sink it will partly dry overnight.
Another way to sterilize the sponge or cloth is to microwave it, after wetting it, for 3 minutes. Any shorter time simply warms and cultures the pathogens and multiplies them. Or boil the cloth like our grandparents did. Drying out the dish cloth helps kill many-but not all-pathogens. It takes three days of drying to kill all! Another strategy is to use a fresh cloth or sponge each day, putting the used one to dry until laundry day.
During the day, set the sponge on end to start drying and slow down culturing.
Don’t eat food directly off the counter top or table top.
You wouldn’t slice a tomato or egg directly on the counter top. It would pick up something: some little particle of dust or dirt. Treat bread the same way. Always on a new clean surface, such as a plate. The counter and table top have on them whatever is in the kitchen dust and on the wipe cloth. Dust is always falling! And the sponge is always culturing. Don’t eat the dust!
Keep the cutting board sterile like dishes. Wash it the same way and keep it in the cupboard.
Keep food containers closed. Milk or water glasses are picking up dust as soon as you set them out. Dust is everywhere. Every step on the carpet sends up a puff of dust. Vacuuming sends up a hurricane of dust and distributes bathroom dust to the kitchen and kitchen dust to the bedrooms. So if one person has brought in a new infection, the whole family is exposed to it in hours via the dust.
It is very helpful not to eat the new infectious pathogen. Breathing it is not so damaging. Our noses collect such pathogens and we blow them out again. Touching the infected person is not very damaging either; the pathogens can’t get through our skins and since we wash hands before eating we are not at great risk of infection this way. But eating the pathogen is 100% effective in infecting us. The new pathogen is in the dust. The newly contaminated dust drops into your ready and waiting glasses on the table and the open foods. of course, there is no defense if somebody should cough or sneeze at the table.
Teach children to cough and sneeze into a suitable collecting place like a tissue, not their hands. Pathogens live bountifully on hands. Hands not only provide moisture but often food from the last meal. Hands are second only to the dish cloth in contamination level. If you must cough or sneeze and a tissue is not within reach fast enough, use your clothing! That’s what clothing is for—to protect you. Cough and sneeze into your own clothing; this protects the cougher and sneezer, as well as everybody else. A sleeve is handy for children. The inside of your T-shirt for T-shirt wearers. The inside of coat for suited persons. The inside of the neck line for dresses. Of course, paper is best, but in emergency use cloth. Never, never your hands unless you are free to immediately dash into the washroom and clean the contamination off your hands.
Teach children this old rearranged verse:
If you cough or sneeze or sniff Grab a tissue, quick-quick-quick!
And if you’re sitting at the table Do it in your sleeve if able.