Be honest now, how often do you wipe down your handbag or steering wheel?
Text Sasha Gonzales Photography Vee Chin Art Direction Alice Chua
Your hands have microorganisms that get onto your steering wheel when you touch it. Associate Professor Lee Yuan Kun from the Department of Microbiology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, says that these microorganisms may include faecal bacteria, which can cause diarrhoea.
Clean up your act: Wipe off visible dirt and grease with household detergent. Then use a disinfectant or rubbing alcohol to kill germs. If you drive regularly, wipe down the steering wheel at least every couple of days.
The ultimate breeding ground for bacteria from your hands, faecal bacteria, perspiration, and germs from various surfaces. If food gets onto your phone, it will encourage the growth of even more bacteria, says Prof Lee. In large numbers, these bacteria can worsen skin breakouts and lead to rashes and even diarrhoea.
Clean up your act: Every couple of days, wipe the phone down using tissue paper and rubbing alcohol. The metal parts can be cleaned with a cotton bud that has been dampened with a little water.
Your handbag is a reservoir for germs, depending on how long you’ve had it and what your daily habits and activities are. Your bag also picks up dirt and germs when placed on the floor or on seats. Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic, says that the types of bacteria found in and on handbags range from faecal bacteria and bacteria that can cause skin infections to those which can cause diarrhoea.
Clean up your act: If it’s a bag you use every day, clean it or wipe it down at least once a week, depending on the material it’s made of. If the bag can be laundered, hand-wash it or put it into the washing machine. If it is made from a material like leather, wipe it down with a damp cloth and air-dry before using it again, or get it cleaned professionally by a handbag specialist.
These collect perspiration, says Prof Lee. They also collect skin grease, dead skin cells and earwax as well as bacteria from your hands (especially if you don’t wash them after using the loo). The germs can build up not just on the surface of the earphones but also within the nooks and crannies. If you don’t clean yours often enough, all that gunk can also cause the earbuds to stink. Gross!
Clean up your act: Prof Lee says you should wipe them down every day (if you use them daily) with a cotton pad and some rubbing alcohol.