The hectic pace of modern life, with its emphasis on speed and efficiency, sometimes creates paradoxical effects. Even though we have never used so many chemicals in our daily lives, the number of respiratory allergies and infections has increased significantly worldwide in recent decades.

It is essential to learn basic hygiene practices in order to protect yourself and avoid the spread of germs. However, whether in rich or developing countries, it’s not something that everyone knows about. There are some simple and natural rules that are still often omitted or neglected. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

I.

Poor or no hand washing

We are told from a young age that hand washing plays a key role in preventing the spread of germs. Almost 70% of microorganisms are transmitted by hands, which come into contact with a large number of everyday objects such as door handles, toilets, sinks etc. Almost half of all infectious diseases could be prevented by proper hand washing. This natural hygiene measure must be implemented correctly and as often as possible: soap, scrub, rinse, dry.
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II.

Lack of personal hygiene

This topic is unfortunately still relevant in the 21st century. While some people consider showering a chore, others - nearly 3 billion people - still do not have access to clean water2. Taking care of your hair, teeth and skin not only protects you from unwanted smells, but also from infections and limits the proliferation of bacterial germs.  Taking care of yourself is not only a source of well-being for your body and mind but also is generally good manners.
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III.

Overuse of sanitising gel

LDisinfectant gels have become part of our daily lives at home or in public places and are highly recommended to fight the transmission of viruses and bacteria. However, the use of these products is not without its downsides. Although hydro-alcoholic gel destroys microorganisms on the hands, it can also weaken the skin barrier and let in endocrine disruptors, which have a harmful effect on the body. Incorrect application of disinfectant solutions, e.g. on too large an area, can also lead to poisoning, especially in children.
IV.

Neglecting your home

Do you vacuum more than once a week? Do you disinfect your toilets regularly? Have you dusted thoroughly? Looking after your home is no longer on the list of daily priorities: there’s no time for that! Yet cleaning is one of the most important preventative measures to avoid the spread of germs. Our homes are better insulated, more heated and less ventilated,4 which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria and other dust mites. Their presence in bedding, soft toys, sofas, curtains, carpets and clothing often exceeds the sensitisation threshold5and is responsible for half of all allergic reactions.
V.

Haphazard use of chemicals

Chemicals offer guaranteed impeccable hygiene.

However, they are not without health consequences. Poisoning, allergies, respiratory discomfort and diseases are the risks caused by the harmful molecules contained in or released by household products. In medical and professional settings, the problem is especially significant when chemicals are used carelessly and in large quantities.

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VI.

Washing at low temperatures

Low-temperature washing not only preserves the quality of fibres, but also bacteria, according to a study by the renowned Institut Pasteur in Paris. To eliminate all bacteria, you would actually have to wash at 60°C for at least 30 minutes, as recommended by public health authorities.
The regular practice of these simple and natural hygiene measures has a definite impact on the prevention of infections and the quality of our living environments. It is imperative to protect ourselves as much as possible when using chemicals, which are known to be harmful to human health in the long term. More economical and ecological solutions exist. One of them is steam. Steam has been used for a long time in the medical field and is now a natural alternative for disinfecting textiles, fabrics, surfaces, furniture and objects in households.