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10 things that aren’t true about hygiene

There are a lot of things we think we know about those germs all around us, but only some of that stuff is true.

10 things that aren’t true about hygiene

We've got a handy crash course in hygiene fact and fiction for you.

Mental Floss made this entertaining video that somehow still manages to clear up misconceptions about staying clean and germ-free. Scroll down if you want to get right to it.

Misconception #1: The five-second rule (0:16)


Sadly, not true. The little buggers start climbing on your food right away. Sigh.

2. Soap kills germs. (0:48)

Soap doesn't actually kill anything. It just makes germs slide off your hands when you rinse them in clean water.

3. Viruses stay alive on hard surfaces a long time. (1:05)

Well, what's a long time? Depends on the germ. But even the cold virus can't get you after 24 hours.

4. Urine disinfects burns and stings. (1:27)

Ew. Plus, urine is *not* a disinfectant. It's not even sterile, contrary to what some people think.

5. The toilet seat is very germy. (1:46)

Well, it is a potty, but there are fewer germs on it than on your desk. There's also more on the flush handle. You won't catch diseases from a toilet, though, including STDs.

6. Everyone washes their hands. (2:19)


Er, 10% of people don't wash their hands after using a public restroom. What are they thinking?

7. Everyone washes their hands correctly. (2:50)

95% of us don't. Yipes. There's a tutorial in the video.

8. Hand dryers blow germs around. (3:35)

Nope.

9. Dirty people get lice. (4:09)

Again, nope. It just takes head-to-head contact with someone who has it.

10. Hand sanitizers cause bacterial resistance. (4:31)

Probably not. Sanitizer kills germs as long as it's at least 60% alcohol and doesn't contain triclosan or triclocarban.

Here's the video. There's a lot more amusing, helpful, and fact-y info in it. Enjoy.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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