9 gross everyday habits you have to stop doing

Not having a hand towel in the bathroom or kitchen

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This is especially bad when you have guests over, especially when they may not use soap to wash their hands and may be using your bath towels to dry off instead. 

In the kitchen, they may end up using that clean towel that you use to dry your dishes. Hanging up a hand towl for guests is an easy way to avoid these situations.

Not washing your makeup tools

Photo: The Straits Times

Using the same sponges and brushes repeatedly muddy the tones, and oil and moisturisers on your skin also make the fibres less fluffy, which results in streaky makeup application.

These may be cosmetic problems, but using soiled tools could also lead to breakouts from a buildup of bacteria, dust, and dirt. Learn a skin doctor's tips for cleaning your makeup and beauty accessories.

Kissing your pet

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Those who have furkids may be up in arms about this suggestion, but kissing your dog after he's been to the park sniffing dubious objects (and other dog's behinds), or sharing an ice cream treat with kitty who may have picked up parasites from her roams, is possibly not the best idea. 

Not using separate chopping boards

Photo: The Straits Times

You need one for raw meat and seafood and another for veggies and fruits. No, pouring hot water on your lone board probably won't sterilise it as well as you think.

To prevent bacterial cross-contamination from foods you cook with foods that are often eaten raw, lavel two separate boards and never mix them up. 

Putting bags on the floor

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Bags are another item that have frequently been listed as being dirtier than the toilet; and leaving your tote on the ground, where people have walked all over and has probably not been cleaned in ages, is not helping matters.

Further, placing your bag indiscrimately at home spreads germs around your private space. Though seemingly gimmicky, those bejewelled bag hooks that suspend your carryall on table edges aren't such a bad idea after all. 

Going to bed without taking a shower

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Cool nights might make you forget that you had stewed all day in your oil and sweat, but if that doesn't already make you feel icky, think about all those people who brushed against you or coughed or sneezed on you during your daily commute.

That should make you think twice about tossing used garments on your bed, too. 

Being glued to your phone

Photo: The Straits Times

Countless studies have shown that your mobile could be dirtier than a toilet seat, and if you think back to all those times you've left it on the coffee shop table, on the bathroom counter, or gone back to swiping on your screen after touching handles on the bus, it's really no wonder.

Clean your phone with antibacterial wipes at least once a day before you put that dirty screen to skin. 

Not changing your kitchen sponge

Photo: The Straits Times

Do you leave your sponge sitting at the bottom of the sink, or use it till it's grey and breaking off in pieces? Kitchen sinks harbour a lot of bacteria from the raw meat, seafood, and leftovers it comes in contact with, and these germs can get transferred to your sponge.

Further, if sponges aren't allowed to dry, say, in a basket that lets air circulate and water drain away, mildew can grow quickly too. Imagine all the plates and utensils you're smearing bacteria and mould on. Sponges are cheap, swap them out every two to three weeks, or whenver they look or smell funky. 

Touching toilet latches

Photo: The Straits Times

The locks on public bathrooms are disgusting. Not only do they get sprayed with fecal matter after each flush, people touch them after cleaning up and depressing the flush button. Using toilet paper to touch the handle might help, but what you really need is to wash your hands thoroughly after coming out.