Don’t forget to clean these overlooked areas
We scrub, sanitise and disinfect almost everything that comes into contact with our children these days amid the pandemic, but we may be neglecting inconspicuous culprits of filth.
Here are 10 often overlooked areas that you need to pay attention to and thoroughly clean.
Car seats and strollers
Most parents reportedly wash car seats just a few times a year.
And with children being allowed to eat while strapped in, it is not surprising that you find food remnants crammed in its crevices, which become breeding grounds for bacteria.
Similarly, because of food remnants, stains, spills and vomit, baby prams also encourage the rapid growth of bacteria.
What to do: It is not enough to give the car seat exterior a wipe-down or to vacuum the fabrics. Food remnants, toys and hair clips often slip through the gaps into the interior. For a thorough cleaning, it is best to dismantle the seat and clean the parts individually.
For strollers, it is wise to keep a pack of antibacterial cleansing wipes on hand. Quickly clean as much as you can before you can attend to it properly at home.
We may wipe down the tray and seat but often don't clean the straps at all. Over time, they will become stained and greasy, and you may be exposing your child to dangerous bacteria.
A study of restaurant high chairs - which are not deep-cleaned regularly - found that the dirty children's seats harboured more germs than a public toilet seat.
What to do: Wipe down the tray and seat after each meal and do a deeper clean of the whole chair (including straps) at least once a month.
Backpacks travel to places - school buses, toilet cubicles, classrooms - and get tossed on the floors before they wind up home again after school, and it is likely germs have built up. For hygiene and precaution, avoid placing backpacks on kitchen tables or surfaces where you eat.
What to do: Add a small amount (one to two tablespoons) of gentle detergent as the washer fills with water. Wash the backpack in cold or lukewarm water, using the delicate or gentle cycle.
Pet toys and food bowls
Many of your pet's favourite objects are full of germs.
If your child loves playing fetch with the dog, he is highly susceptible to all the germs that can collect on the dog's toys, as well as his food and water bowls - which are also nasty sources of germs and are not washed as often as we would like.
All household members should wash their hands after playing with pets and handling their toys, especially before meals or food preparation.
What to do: Use a separate cloth or sponge that is used only for your dog's bowls. Clean them with dish soap and water. You may also be able to find pet-friendly cleaning solutions at the pet store specifically designed to clean dog toys.
Children's sporting mats, bags and equipment often get into contact with sweat, saliva and grease after a workout or game, and may also be tossed on the floors of dirty locker rooms and gyms.
Sweaty gym clothes that are forgotten in gym bags also become breeding grounds for both mould and fungus, and can harbour the virus that causes cold and flu bugs.
What to do: Make sure to wash and dry them in the sun often, especially sports gear prone to contact with grease, sweat and saliva.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly (www.womensweekly.com.sg).