Without using soap or water, hand sanitizing dispensers are easy methods of getting our hands clean, and they're conveniently located in schools, offices and public spaces. But is this liquid gel hazardous to our health?
Store-bought hand sanitizers can contain up to 62 per cent of ethyl alcohol intended to kill germs and bacteria on our hands.
David Friedman, a certified doctor of naturopathy, says some germs won't be affected by hand sanitizers and another key ingredient -- triclosan -- can be harmful to humans, according to Yahoo News.
But not all organizations would ban the use of sanitizers. Health Canada encourages use of the gel -- but never as a replacement for water and soap. So yes, this means if you just finished your business on the toilet, head to the sink and leave that sanitizer in your bag. Health Canada only recommends using a spray or liquid sanitizer when water and soap aren't available.
If you're looking for a green way to kill those 99.9 per cent of germs, you could make your own spray with household items easily found in grocery stores.
• 3 oz. filtered water
• 1 tsp. aloe vera gel
• 10 drops cinnamon essential oil
• 10 drops clove essential oil
• 10 drops rosemary essential oil
• 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 20 drops lemon oil
Instructions: Mix ingredients in a 4-ounce spray dispenser, and shake gently.
ALSO: Common places to find germs in your kitchen:
The only thing in your home that houses more germs than the kitchen drain is <a href="http://www.webmd.com/news/20070625/top-spots-for-bacteria-at-home" target="_hplink">your bathroom toilet</a>. And this is problematic since the kitchen drain is in close contact with many other kitchen items. A quick way to <a href="http://www.howtocleanstuff.net/how-to-clean-a-kitchen-drain/" target="_hplink">clean your kitchen drain</a> is to pour a little baking soda in it with warm water running.
You may think you're cleaning your plates and cups when in fact you could just be spreading bacteria all over them. A sponge or wash cloth can house <a href="http://www.webmd.com/news/20070625/top-spots-for-bacteria-at-home" target="_hplink">134,630 bacteria/square inch</a>, so you may want to keep it clean. You can either zap the sponge in the microwave for a minute, run it in the dishwasher, or make sure all the food scraps are cleaned off and allow to dry completely.
Kitchen Faucet Handle
When you need to wash your hands while making dinner, you have to use the faucet handle (with your dirty hands). The faucet handle essentially sees many hands before they've been washed, so don't forget to wipe it down.
A study written about on NBC.com found that "7 percent of <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29735190/ns/health-infectious_diseases/t/wipe-out-worst-germ-hot-spots/#.T75L9XlYvN0" target="_hplink">kitchen towels were contaminated with MRSA</a> (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the difficult-to-treat staph bacteria that can cause life-threatening skin infections." The best way to avoid germy kitchen towels is to wash them once to twice a week, and allow them to completely air dry.
When is the last time you wiped down your microwave buttons? For many of us, that answer would be close to never. But think about how many times dirty fingers are in contact those buttons. Next time you clean the inside of your microwave (which we sure hope you do), be sure to get the outside too.
Salt And Pepper Shaker
In a recent study conducted by the <a href="http://women.webmd.com/home-health-and-safety-9/places-germs-hide?page=2 " target="_hplink">University of Virginia</a>, "researchers asked 30 adults who were beginning to show signs of a cold, to name 10 places they'd touched in their homes over the previous 18 hours. The researchers then tested those areas for cold viruses. The tests found viruses on 41 percent of the surfaces tested, and every one of the salt and pepper shakers tested were positive for cold viruses." To solve this, just remember to wipe down your shakers when you wipe down your kitchen table.
Make sure you mop your kitchen floors regularly, particularly the spot in front of the kitchen sink. You know how dirty that sink and everything that has to do with it can get, and the floor space right next to it is certainly not exempt.
Naturally, the cutting board is full of grooves and gouges from all the cutting that has occurred on it; those are great places for germs to hide. Be sure to thoroughly clean your cutting board with soap and hot water after each use. And it's a good idea to reserve one cutting board for meat and another for fruits and veggies.
Kitchen counters get loaded with a bunch of stuff. We throw our keys on them, grocery bags, purses, mail. The list goes on and on. And all these items that we put on the counter are loaded with germs from everywhere else they've been. Be sure to wipe down the counter regularly, and do it with a clean sponge.
Since the kitchen sink is where everything that's dirty goes to get cleaned, it makes sense that it's one of the dirtiest (and germ-iest) spots in your kitchen. The best way to solve this is to wipe down your sink regularly; treat it like you would a dirty dish.
WATCH: How To Avoid Cross Contamination
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