Homes of the future may have added features that are focused on killing and avoiding the spread of viruses. Touchless faucets and soap dispensers that are common in public places may one day be the “norm” in new homes. Perhaps everyone’s home will have UV disinfecting lights to kill germs. Before any of that occurs there are many things that homeowners can do to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

One important factor is that moisture often creates the biggest breeding ground for all types of bacteria. Using fans in areas where moisture can be a problem can help prevent the accumulation and spread of bacteria. Check all ventilation systems regularly to ensure they are working properly.

In the bathroom it is best to place toothbrushes in a container or drawer away from areas where someone coughing or a toilet being flushed could expose the toothbrush to unwanted harmful bacteria.

Put the lid down on the toilet before flushing. According to Scientists at Leeds University when the air above toilets was tested after flushing it was found that germ, C. difficile, which leads to violent vomiting, can be spewed up to 10 inches above a toilet seat with every flush.

Use two separate cutting boards. Raw meats may contain dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella. Although bacteria is eliminated when the meat is cooked, the harmful bacteria can survive on the cutting board. It is important to use a separate cutting board for raw meats. Scrub the board vigorously with a scrubber and disinfecting soap. Boards with deep gashes where food can lodge should be discarded.

Disinfect that kitchen sponge. It may seem that since it was used with dish washing soap to do the dishes and wipe down counters it should be clean, but that is a disguise. Try one of these three suggestions. Either place a small amount of bleach in the dishwater, microwave the sponge for two minutes, or run it through the dishwasher. Once a sponge begins to have an unpleasant odor it is time to dispose of it.

Another suggestion is to purchase an air purifier. The market is flooded with air purifiers that claim to kill germs, even those that cause viruses. Online research can provide data for choosing the right one.

Daily use of bleach on all contact surfaces such as light switches, door knobs, handles, and remote controls can slow the spread of harmful bacteria.

— Marla Ballard’s Master of Disguise appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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