A DIY Spray to Stay Germ-Free at the Gym (and Everywhere Else, Too)

With all that sweat and germs hanging out at the gym and yoga studio, your workout gear can get dirty, moldy, and smelly. So to fight sickness and ickiness on all your gym stuff, keep a small spray bottle of germ-fighting essential-oil-infused water in your gym or studio bag.

This simple spray recipe uses tea tree and lavender oils, which are a great eco-friendly way to keep your gym equipment germ-free. Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties to effectively fight germs, while the scent of lavender oil helps you relax and relieve tension ¡ª especially important after a workout.

To make this DIY germ-fighting spray, you’ll need a small, clean spray bottle that seals tightly along with pure tea tree and lavender essential oils. Fill the spray bottle with distilled or spring water, and add one or two drops of tea tree oil, plus another drop of lavender oil. Throw the bottle in your bag, and spray down your gym bag, shoes, and yoga mat when you’re done or whenever you’re feeling like your gym stuff could use some extra attention. Just be sure to wipe everything down and spray in a well-ventilated area away from anyone in case they are sensitive to the smell.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Leta Shy

A DIY Spray to Stay Germ-Free at the Gym (and Everywhere Else, Too)

With all that sweat and germs hanging out at the gym and yoga studio| your workout gear can get dirty| moldy| and smelly. So to fight sickness and ickiness on all your gym stuff| keep a small spray bottle of germ-fighting essential-oil-infused water in your gym or studio bag.

This simple spray recipe uses tea tree and lavender oils| which are a great eco-friendly way to keep your gym equipment germ-free. Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties to effectively fight germs| while the scent of lavender oil helps you relax and relieve tension ¡ª especially important after a workout.

To make this DIY germ-fighting spray| you’ll need a small| clean spray bottle that seals tightly along with pure tea tree and lavender essential oils. Fill the spray bottle with distilled or spring water| and add one or two drops of tea tree oil| plus another drop of lavender oil. Throw the bottle in your bag| and spray down your gym bag| shoes| and yoga mat when you’re done or whenever you’re feeling like your gym stuff could use some extra attention. Just be sure to wipe everything down and spray in a well-ventilated area away from anyone in case they are sensitive to the smell.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Leta Shy

What Science Has to Say About the 5-Second Rule

I like to imagine that germs on the floor hold their breath and count to five before hopping on any dropped food, but some scientists paint a different picture of what’s actually happening under the microscope.

One study found results that led scientists to adhere to a zero-second rule (or no-tolerance policy) where there is no safe window to consume food after it has fallen on the ground. These researchers found that salmonella and other bacteria can live up to four weeks on dry surfaces and can be transferred to food as soon as it hits the floor. That means that germs on the floor can be lurking for a month just waiting for food to drop.

However, a more recent study found that food picked up quickly is less likely to contain bacteria than food left on the floor for longer periods of time. In addition to the time lapsed, this study found that bacteria are more likely to transfer from laminate or tiled surfaces than from a carpeted floor. Researchers also found evidence that certain foods are less likely to collect bacteria in five seconds than others; dry foods like cookies and chips don’t settle or stick to surfaces the same way that cooked pasta and sticky candy do. So, given these findings, if you have a handful of crackers that hit the floor when you’re sitting on the couch, you’re safer eating those than a few noodles that touched your kitchen floor.

Anyone who has suffered from foodborne illness can tell you that contaminated food is no laughing matter, but being anxious about germs 24/7 is not a healthy habit we’re trying to promote. So, is the five-second rule OK to follow? The short answer is: sometimes. Follow it on a case-by-case basis depending on your environment and the food you’re eating. But if you’re wavering back and forth, do your body (and brain) a favor and just toss it.

Image Source: Corbis Images

What Science Has to Say About the 5-Second Rule

I like to imagine that germs on the floor hold their breath and count to five before hopping on any dropped food| but some scientists paint a different picture of what’s actually happening under the microscope.

One study found results that led scientists to adhere to a zero-second rule (or no-tolerance policy) where there is no safe window to consume food after it has fallen on the ground. These researchers found that salmonella and other bacteria can live up to four weeks on dry surfaces and can be transferred to food as soon as it hits the floor. That means that germs on the floor can be lurking for a month just waiting for food to drop.

However| a more recent study found that food picked up quickly is less likely to contain bacteria than food left on the floor for longer periods of time. In addition to the time lapsed| this study found that bacteria are more likely to transfer from laminate or tiled surfaces than from a carpeted floor. Researchers also found evidence that certain foods are less likely to collect bacteria in five seconds than others; dry foods like cookies and chips don’t settle or stick to surfaces the same way that cooked pasta and sticky candy do. So| given these findings| if you have a handful of crackers that hit the floor when you’re sitting on the couch| you’re safer eating those than a few noodles that touched your kitchen floor.

Anyone who has suffered from foodborne illness can tell you that contaminated food is no laughing matter| but being anxious about germs 24/7 is not a healthy habit we’re trying to promote. So| is the five-second rule OK to follow? The short answer is: sometimes. Follow it on a case-by-case basis depending on your environment and the food you’re eating. But if you’re wavering back and forth| do your body (and brain) a favor and just toss it.

Image Source: Corbis Images

The Kitchen Tool That Has More Germs Than Your Toilet Bowl

If you think your toilet is what requires the most scrubbing and disinfecting in your home, you might be surprised (and grossed out) to learn that there’s something germier lurking in your your kitchen: the everyday dish sponge.

After use, a kitchen sponge stays wet and moist, which is the ideal environment for bacteria to multiple like crazy. A University of Arizona study surveyed 1,000 kitchen sponges and dish cloths and found that nearly 10 percent had salmonella; in addition, the most E.coli and fecal-based bacteria was not found in the bathroom but instead in the kitchen on a sponge or dish cloth. Gross.

To keep your kitchen as safe and clean as possible, make a point to regularly disinfect your counters and sink, and don’t be frugal when it comes time to toss that sponge away ¡ª?a damp and stinky sponge is a sign of bacteria running amuck, so don’t wait until that happens to toss yours out! If you wash dishes daily, replace your sponge every two weeks to a month. To sanitize your sponge in between replacements, zap it in the microwave for one minute, or toss it in with your dish clothes in the washing machine on a hot cycle. When you take matters into your own clean hands, (99 percent of) those gnarly germs don’t stand a chance.

Image Source: Corbis Images

The Kitchen Tool That Has More Germs Than Your Toilet Bowl

If you think your toilet is what requires the most scrubbing and disinfecting in your home| you might be surprised (and grossed out) to learn that there’s something germier lurking in your your kitchen: the everyday dish sponge.

After use| a kitchen sponge stays wet and moist| which is the ideal environment for bacteria to multiple like crazy. A University of Arizona study surveyed 1|000 kitchen sponges and dish cloths and found that nearly 10 percent had salmonella; in addition| the most E.coli and fecal-based bacteria was not found in the bathroom but instead in the kitchen on a sponge or dish cloth. Gross.

To keep your kitchen as safe and clean as possible| make a point to regularly disinfect your counters and sink| and don’t be frugal when it comes time to toss that sponge away ¡ª?a damp and stinky sponge is a sign of bacteria running amuck| so don’t wait until that happens to toss yours out! If you wash dishes daily| replace your sponge every two weeks to a month. To sanitize your sponge in between replacements| zap it in the microwave for one minute| or toss it in with your dish clothes in the washing machine on a hot cycle. When you take matters into your own clean hands| (99 percent of) those gnarly germs don’t stand a chance.

Image Source: Corbis Images