10 Things You Touch Every Day And How To Disinfect Them

A lot of them are dirtier than a toilet seat.
ART Hannah Villafuerte

These days, it’s easy to see the importance of cleanliness and proper hygiene. But other than proper hand-washing and physical distancing, there are other ways you can make sure that you stay safe and healthy apart from loading up on your vitamins and supplements and eating your greens—you can take it to the next level and start making sure that the things you use on a daily basis are properly sanitized to prevent the spread of viruses.

Check out how you can clean and disinfect these 10 common items:



What you'll need: rubbing alcohol wipes, toothbrush, cotton bud

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You might not think about it a lot, but using your earphones frequently increases the bacterial growth in your ear. In fact, a study found that some earphones could develop yeast and some can even grow gross things like Bacillus, a bacteria that’s found in soil. To clean your earbuds, take an old toothbrush and brush into the earpiece. Make sure it’s facing downwards so the dirt and grime fall off instead of falling deeper into the ear bud. After, take a cotton bud, dampen it with rubbing alcohol, and pat it over the bud to pick up anything that was left behind. Then, take a rubbing alcohol wipe (or a wipe that’s been sprayed with 70% isopropyl alcohol) and really wipe those earphones down. Also, please don’t share your earphones with anyone else—it’s super unhygienic.



What you’ll need: lukewarm water, dishwashing liquid, lint-free towel

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that glasses are an extra layer of protection from debris, but in reality, they can be a source of eye-irritating bacteria if not properly cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning your spectacles is easy—just run it over warm water, add a drop of dishwashing liquid, and wipe dry with a lint-free towel. You may also dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe gently around the lenses and frames. Take note, though, that if you prefer to try the rubbing alcohol option, you might have to check with your eye doctor or the shop where you bought your glasses to make sure that your lenses aren’t treated with special coatings.



What you’ll need: vinegar, towel

You can’t avoid using a doorknob on a daily basis and neither can everyone else in your office building or your household—so it’s no surprise that doorknobs are packed with germs and bacteria. In fact, there’s so much bacteria that one swab will fill an entire petri dish with bacteria—14 different colonies each with over a million bacteria. The good news is that you don’t need a lot to disinfect every doorknob in your home. All you need is some vinegar and a towel. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so just dampen a towel and wipe your doorknobs. It’s a good thing that doorknobs aren’t porous, which means most viruses that can be transferred to a doorknob can only last for up to 24 hours. You might want to consider cleaning it on a daily basis.


Mobile Phone

What you’ll need: 70% isopropyl alcohol, wipes or microfiber cloth, cotton swab

Whether you’re stuck home or not, you’re probably always glued to your phone. Did you know that your phone is three times dirtier than a toilet seat? If you aren’t disinfecting your phone on a regular basis, it’s about time you start. To clean your phone, power it off, spray a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol onto a microfiber cloth, and wipe your entire phone clean. For a thorough scrub down, take a cotton swab, dampen it with a bit of alcohol, and gently dab it over the earpiece, charger ports, and speakers. To keep it clean, make sure you wash your hands regularly.



What you’ll need: chlorine bleach, water

Yup, germs can spread through laundry, so it’s important to disinfect your dirty clothes. In fact, an average person has about one-tenth of a gram of fecal matter in his or her underwear (we know, gross), and in case you didn’t know, a single gram of fecal matter contains millions of viruses. To disinfect, add ¾ cup of chlorine bleach to your bleach-safe laundry. If you’ve got colored pieces, oxygen bleach (or color-safe bleach) is also a good alternative to disinfect dirty clothes.



What you’ll need: disinfecting wipes, lint-free cloth, dishwashing liquid, compressed air

You might not think about it much, but your laptop’s keyboard is actually 20,000 dirtier than a toilet seat. Yup, go ahead and reach out for those disinfecting wipes and get to cleaning—but make sure your laptop’s off first. To clean your laptop, start by mixing a bit of dishwashing liquid into a bowl of warm water. Then, take your lint-free cloth, dip it into the mixture, and wipe your laptop’s lid and bottom panel. Rinse your cloth with clean water, then wipe the surface again. Then, get a dry cloth and wipe your laptop down a third time to avoid water streaks. To clean your keyboard, you’ll need a can of compressed air to remove crumbs and other grime stuck beneath the keys. Then, take your disinfecting wipes and dab over the keys.



What you’ll need: microfiber cloth

There’s a good chance you use your tablet everywhere you go, whether you’re lounging in the living room or, you know, dropping a deuce. So, you shouldn’t be surprised that your tablet’s screen has got a lot of nasties—in fact, it might even contain “hazardous” levels of bacteria that can make you sick. It’s easy to clean your tablet on a regular basis. Just take a micro-fiber cloth and gently wipe around until your tablet is free from fingerprints and other grime. You can also use a damp cloth for stubborn stains and marks—just make sure to wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth to avoid moisture seeping into the tablet.


To disinfect, Google has recommended soap or ordinary household cleaning wipes for their Android gadgets, and Apple's support page assures users they can use 70% isopropyl alcohol or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Another way to keep your tablet in pristine condition is by making sure your hands are clean before using it.

Remote Control


What you’ll need: cotton cloth, rubbing alcohol, cotton buds, toothpick, lint free cloth

When was the last time you ever thought about cleaning your remote control? If you haven’t thought about it yet, you most probably have never cleaned it. And here’s why you should: Remote controls are a “major germ hub” and one of the dirtiest things you have at home. It’s a good thing they’re easy to clean. Just remove the batteries, dampen a piece of cloth with rubbing alcohol, and wipe down the entire surface. Then, take a cotton bud, soak it in rubbing alcohol, and clean around the buttons. You can also use a toothpick to lift the grime that gets stuck in the crevices. Then, make sure to dry the remote control with a lint-free cloth before putting the batteries back in.



What you’ll need: rubbing alcohol, cloth or UV light or iron

We all know this: Cash is super filthy. They stay in circulation for five to 15 years which means thousands, if not, millions of people have touched those bills sitting in your wallet. In fact, researchers found hundreds of species of microorganisms living on paper bills. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl, research has also shown that some banknotes carry pathogens E.coli, Salmonella, and more—including COVID-19. To disinfect your bills, dampen a cotton cloth with rubbing alcohol, wipe each banknote down both sides and let it dry. Alternatively, you can place your bills in between clothes or fabric and put an iron over it for a few seconds to allow heat to kill the bacteria. If you have a UV light sterilizer, you can also run your bills under it to destroy the germs and other microbes in your cash.


Or, if that all sounds a bit much, you can just make sure to wash your hands properly every time you handle money!


What you’ll need: cotton buds, rubbing alcohol

If you want your cords to be clean and look good as new (especially white cords that tend to develop some grayness over time), you’d be surprised at how easy it is to make them look pristine again. Just grab a few cotton buds, soak them in rubbing alcohol, and use them to wipe down the cables. Rubbing alcohol is good for disinfecting and removing grease and dirt build-up while the cotton buds make it easy to target smaller, slimmer marks.


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Katherine Go 5 hours ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

Choosing between dreams and practicality is never easy. My CETs season just ended with the release of the UPCAT results. Anxious as I logged on the website, I started to think about what would happen if I didn't pass UP. Ever since I was six years old, I fixated on the idea that I will become an iska, serving the country and studying at my dream school, which is UP. I strived and studied hard for the UPCAT, sacrificing a lot of things like hang-outs and gala weekends for reviews.

Throughout my CETs journey, I started seeing myself studying only in UP, and while there were no results yet, my friends and I already started planning our lives around the fact that we're gonna study in UP. It was a big deal for me, my friends and my family that I get the chance to study in UP since it's so far from my hometown which is Benguet, and better yet, it's a very well known university.

January 2020 came and universities started releasing CETs results. I was expecting my DCAT and ACET results that month. I passed DCAT but brushed it off because even though I liked the school, I never really saw myself studying there. Same thoughts with Ateneo, since it never really crossed my mind that I might study in ADMU. In fact, Ateneo was never really a choice for me, I only took it just to have another choice in case I failed the UPCAT. I also applied for financial aid not because I was really planning on studying there, but more of "para lang sure na may college ako". I know it's a bad thing but they were just my back-up schools because my main goal was really UP.

One Friday afternoon, ACET results came out. I passed, managed to get a scholarship, and in that moment, my plans just started to crumble.

Seeing that I got a 100% tuition and fees discount, free dorm fees, and an additional book allowance got me into considering studying to Ateneo. Suddenly, I got torn between UP, my dream school, and Ateneo, which offers so much more.

As the months passed, and after talking to my parents, my plans and decisions got more jumbled and messy. I still wanted to go to UP even if there were no results yet but Ateneo offering so much would mean a lesser burden to my parents in terms of finances.

Even though my parents told me that they'll support me no matter where I choose to go, the practicality that Ateneo offers in terms of finances was not an easy thing to waive. Sometimes I would laugh at the fact that I'd spend less on a private school than on a state university. Talking to my friends helped somehow, but they also have various opinions about the two universities. I managed to tell myself to hold off the problem until UPCAT results get released, and so I did.

UP released the UPCAT results and seeing that I passed made me scream and cry, literally. At that moment, all I was thinking was that I passed my dream school and I'm officially a QC college student.

My parents were so proud of me even though they got scared because I screamed, but ultimately, they were happy for me. The next day, I sat down, stared at my UPCAT and ACET results, and told myself that I needed to decide. This was the hardest part. I tried deciding using the pros and cons method but it didn't really work. Talking to my parents also didn't help because they'd support me either way, so their judgement was not a factor at all. I also had the same course in both schools so that wasn't a big help. I was 99% close to letting go of my dream university and decide to go to Ateneo.

I weighed options and Ateneo was the cheaper and more practical option. I also started to see myself studying as a blue eagle, roaming around the campus etc. And financially, I didn't need to worry much except for food. At that point, I started to really like the idea of going to Ateneo more than studying in UP. But then, as the weeks went by, the Ateneo Plan started to lose my interest.

I realized that studying in Ateneo would be a great opportunity, but not something that will really make me happy. The finances and all would be so much better but I wouldn't be happy and content, and I felt that Ateneo couldn't give me everything that I wanted and needed. Then a light bulb lit up.

As I was imagining myself at UP, I ultimately felt that happiness and content that I didn't feel with Ateneo. I realized that, if I didn't study in UP, I know later in my life, I would regret it. I would regret not choosing my dream university because I didn't choose what would make me happy.

In short, I chose my dream over practicality. I know that I would be successful in both tracks, but I simply chose my dream because it is where I'm happier and more content. Besides, we can make our dreams practical but not all the time can the practical choice equate to our dreams. So to those having a hard time choosing between dreams and practicality, weigh it out and always remember to put yourself and your happiness first. And of course, choose the choice that you know you'll not regret later on.

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